Thursday, August 17, 2006

This Just In: Some Men Still Jerks

Over at the Jewish Journal's singles column, we learn--once again--that online dating can be emotionally perilous...even during the correspondence portion of the experience. After finding a profile that looked interesting, intrepid dater Diane Saltzberg zipped over an email, asking the potential mensch what he meant by wanting to hear from women who were "fit." I know...those of you who have been there and have a few extra pounds on you (and really, so many of us do) are saying, "Girlfriend, why'd you do that? We all know that men who put 'fit' in their profile mean that they want someone skinny! You shoulda just skipped him!" Well, we couldn't get to her in time, but the dude--who she dubbed "Mr. Sensitive" for reasons that will become clear and involve heavy sarcasm--responded in a way she'll never forget.

"Your profile is extremely well-written, as is your note. You are clearly very, very bright, as am I. That's why I can't understand why you'd be in such absolute denial of a clear reality. You didn't fill in your weight in your profile because you're not happy with it. If you were, it would be there and you wouldn't be writing all that senseless crap about Jane Mansfield, with whom you have absolutely nothing in common.

Look in the mirror, see the same thing anyone can see in your photos: You are soft, untoned, out-of-shape and, yes, fat. Then, either fix it or accept it, but don't try to make believe you're not. And certainly don't try to convince others you aren't because it makes you seem absolutely crazy. Now go do the right thing."

I felt like I had been hit in the stomach. His e-mail was breathtaking in its cruelty.

We've all asked this question before...who does such a thing? Who fancies himself so impervious to criticism, so above and beyond reproach, that he feels entitled to make someone else feel like crap, when a simple "Thanks for your interest, but I don't think we'd make a good match" might make a frustratingly generic, but merciful and menschy response? Or, as the writer puts it..." Why be gratuitously mean?"

Why indeed. It's the $64,000 question. She's willing to give JDate another chance--some of the rest of us have had it. But I would urge those of you who are out there and might be "inspired" to share your noble opinions, in the name of "tough love" or whatever in a similar mode to the above, please, opt for the generic, menschier response. Believe us, it makes you a better person.

The whole article is here, complete with her email address at the end--feel free to send her a note of support and commiseration...

23 comments:

Caryn said...

This reminds me of a theory I have about online dating -- and why I don't do it anymore.

When you meet someone online, people have very little social responsibility. What I mean is, since no person introduced you and you're not in a social setting, like a party or even a bar, there is little-to-no repercussions for being a huge jackass. This guy can write a nasty letter like this and completely get away with it. Guys don't say things like that to girls at parties because his friends are there; her friends are there; he has to look her in the eye. You can't be a jackass in that situation (or anyway, or far less likely to be).

I've gone out with guys who I met online and were completely nasty and mean to me. And what consequences did they face? None at all.

I wish guys like Mr. Sensitive and the guys I dated could be outed publicly, by name, for what they do. That DontDateHimGirl site, or whatever it's called, might be on to something.

Lyss said...

maybe he's insecure about the size of his Manhood?

I resent the 'weight' question on those forms. I'm not fat, not thin, but I don't own a scale. Weight is important to my doctor, not me, cares about. (For the record, it hovers around a certai weight, with a 5-7 pound range. At least that's what the doc tells me). What's important is trying to keep healthy and not hating every single part of my body whe I see myself in the mirror.

ptwelve said...

What Caryn says is true. This is part of the disinhibiting effect of e-mail. It's the nature of the beast that people are much more blunt and say/disclose/confess things they would never say in another medium.

And when you have a jerk - an anonymous jerk - writing e-mail, the jerkiness is only intensified.

I also maintain that online dating screens in a subset of substandard and socially inept guys. Not that all of them are, but they are much more likely to be than random guys.

Ro said...

I agree with above comments. There is no accountablity when it comes to online dating. I'm on a dating hiatus for the moment only because I can't tolerate the jerks I keep meeting online or otherwise.

True dater is a good spot to report emails and profiles like that dudes. I hope his is up there.

Chutzpah said...

WOW! After 4 years of Jdating and having a man's wife pick up the other line of their phone and telling him to hang up and then apologizing to me for her husband's "bad habit" of contacting single women from the internet, even I have never encountered such a nasty and cruel s.o.b. !

Chutzpah said...
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Chutzpah said...
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Jack's Shack said...

What a jerk.

VJ said...

Yep, nasty, cruel, heartless & rude. Today's internet male on the make. But these are the ones who are disposable. They make it simpler for the rest of us, by being so easily dismissed.

But weight is important to some people, as are a certain level of 'looks'. This can mean many things to many people. Some people have a decided preference for the 'non skinny types'. Me, I looked at Ally McBeal and constantly wanted to feed her. Such a sickly looking kid!

To me Ms. Saltzberg is an average looking woman, in seemingly fine shape for someone in their mid-upper 40's. Maybe this is not what you're looking for. If still you're looking for the kids down at the HS, or the 20 somethings in the bars, she's probably too 'mature' for you. This is a different audience. But careful now, if you PO enough of these lovely ladies on one end of the age spectrum, she can 'holler back' at the DontDateHimGirl and other sites and tell others of her experience. I imagine after the first taste of revenge in real time, this bloke will cool his jets a bit. But deep down inside, he'll still be a jerk. We just don't have to suffer this personally. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Samuel J. Scott said...

Just playing Devil's Advocate:

What if the roles were reversed and the issue was with a guy and his perceived shortness?

Caryn said...

To WWT: It would be equally as rude, in my opinion. There's a difference between having preferences and being a jerk.

Anonymous said...

He's entitled to feel the way he feels, but is was completely inappropriate for him to verbalize it the way he did. In fact, it was inappropriate for him to verbalize it at all. All he had to do was to express his regrets, and say no thank you (or not even reply at all, which seems to be the default behavior for internet dating anyway). For him to make it into a lecture really shows something about his character.

And VJ ... I wouldn't worry about DontDateHimGirl sites. They are not really worth very much. Try browsing through them. You'll find that as soon as someone discovers that they are linked into one of those sites, they delete their profiles. Easy enough to do and really causes one to question the value of those sites.

Blogger S.

Passionate Life said...

Boy do we have a lot of internet dating bashers here. Yes this guy is a jerk. Yes there are jerks online. But seriously, are guys in bars more sensitive? Please!

Its a fact of life, jerks exist. Blaming internet dating for the quality of human beings is a bit misguided. Take a walk past a construction site and you will see that jerks exist offline too. (No slight intended towards most construction workers or bar hoppers - just the jerks among them!)

Anonymous said...

Passionate Life ... I don't think we're bashing internet dating to the point of saying all people on internet dating sites are jerks. And you are certainly correct to say that jerks exist in any walk of life and any venue. However, I will state (and stand behind) that internet dating INVITES and encourages more of this type of behavior because of the anonymity that one has. You can't tell me that it would be typical to hear a guy in a bar go off using the same statements/words (or even close) as he uttered. Yet ... read through 100 internet dating ads and you will find some words that really show that there are some other "jerks" out there (both men and women, by the way). Demands, "don't email unless you ...", "please be at least 5'10" so you can pick me up and kiss me", "you must have slender fingers", "you should be able to drive a car with your knees". How much more would you like to hear? While these may not be to the same extreme as what this person said, I will stand by my assertion that internet dating ... while it sometimes works for SOME people ... encourages this type of behavior.

Blogger S.

MaksimSmelchak said...
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MaksimSmelchak said...

Hi,

I don't know if I'm the "average Internet male," but I would never say anything like that.

He did her a favor, in the end of ends...

She now knows definitively that he's a jerk and can move on to find someone better. I feel relatively sure tht after a few month's of his jerky comments and no female company that eventually 2 + 2 will add up for him.

It's all in the perpsective.

And I'm sure that there's someone out there for her... she sounds like she has a lot going for her. If I wasn't involved with someone, I'd be interested.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Chutzpah said...

Passionate,
When the construction workers stop shouting out to me, I'll know its time to pack it in. G-d Bless them. My profile got NO hits this week on Jdate and I can't get a pic where I have any less clothes on than the one that is already posted.
Now which block was it that yet another new shul is going up on in this shtetl?.....

robin said...

I once read a profile which stated, "2,4,6,8 are sizes I appreciate...10 and above will get no love". I wanted to tell the jerk off, but knew he'd just lash out and be even more nasty.
The problem is that plenty of women will see his profile, think he's attractive and STILL contact him. I've heard from average guys who admitted that they were jerks simply because they could be. Enough women are so desperate to make dates that these guys find no shortage of women. When we start demanding that our dates are kind human beings above all else, maybe these men will get the message.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Oy Robin, I'm appalled, but not suprised. You're right, the sad thing is the women who DO literally "fit" that profile, and are all, "hooray, I fit, and I'll contact him" instead of "it's appalling to view women as dress sizes unless you're Project Runway and are actually making them their dresses for the date, and therefore, he's not getting any love from me, either."

Unfortunately, I think the online dating arena is enough of a gladiator circuit that women get competitive over the available men, and there may not be any hope for banding together in sisterhood against the sucky male daters of the world.

Anonymous said...

People who say that men meeting women in person have more responsibility: Yes, that's true. But a jerk is a jerk is a jerk, and maybe it's better to be able to find out how superficial and obnoxious a guy really is (via the internet) than to meet him in person and have him make fun of you behind your back.

By the way, I have always been relatively slim, but when guys on dates with me complain about all the fat chicks they've met, and how glad they are that I'm not fat, it's an INSTANT turnoff. If they're a jerk about it, I do not want to see them anymore, and I make that clear. Because I could have a weight problem next week, because I have friends who are overweight, and because I don't want to be someone who is simply cruel - that is NOT what makes me fall in love!!!

What some guys don't get is that it is perfectly all right if you're just not attracted to fat women. What's not all right is treating anyone like shit, or making excuses for your own bad behavior, or making assumptions that they "don't take care of themselves" (often not true) or holding themselves above reproach when often they don't trip their nosehair or bother to comb their own hair or shave their backs.

Makenshi said...

Not only do I agree with everything "Mr. Sensitive" said, but I fail to see in what ways he could be considered a jerk. He certainly didn't insult her, his message showed no signs of any overbearing attempts at bothering her. Some might argue that, yes, his observations (backed by clear evidence) and the comment as a whole were unnecessary. True, he really didn't have to say anything at all. The simple "Thanks for your interest, but no." would work fine, too. But his observations and comments were just that, not insults! And her taking offence to them only proves his claims more!
The truth hurts, and he didn't sugarcoat it for her. So he's a jerk?
I think she should take his advice, ignore it, or send back a valid argument. Not sit and complain.

Anonymous said...

This could just have easily have happened with someone you went out with and then unloaded on you. At least you were spared the misery of having gotten to know this person and deceived into thinking he was a nice guy before he let the real jerk come out.

ex jdater said...

Do the right thing? hmm...

For all who wish the boorish man could be outed, please see the story of Darren Sherman, the world-infamous jdater who harrassed a woman by phone to refund the dinner he bought for her. In his messages, he threatens to call her employer, a lawyer, and insults her.
She uploaded these messages from her digital answering machine to a website, and they made the world tour, from blogs to the Washington Post to a BBC radio London program. Humorists made t-shirts with "You ate the food, you drank the wine, do the right thing." I heard Darren Sherman changed his name. But perhaps he is alive and well and on jdate.
I left jdate, because I met the man for me. He's not jewish. Every day with him is a blessing. That may be one solution.