I’m a geek. Us geeks aren’t exactly the types that have that alpha male presence and a different girl poured over their arm every weekend. And within the circles I move, I find it difficult to meet single, available females. So I decided to join an internet dating site.
Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the sordid details of my personal failures on the site. Well, in this post anyway :) But I would like to share two aspects of online dating. The first is a bit of an overview of what to expect when using a dating site (because I suspect many people have never used one before) and the second is related to the content of my personal “profile” on the dating site.
The site I have used is called DatingBuzz (www.datingbuzz.co.za) but various other large South African portal sites use rebranded versions of the same site. So, if you go to IOL Dating or Ananzi Dating or M-Web Dating, you are basically using the same site as DatingBuzz, it just uses different colours and a slightly different layout consistent with the mother brand.
When you join one of these dating sites, you are asked various questions about yourself: your age, your likes, your religion, your education, your sense of humour, etc. Then you are asked a similar set of questions about your ideal match: acceptable age, acceptable height, their qualifications, and so on. Those are pre-set questions and have pre-set multiple choice answers. You are also requested to complete a free-form block of copy about yourself and another free-form block of copy about your ideal match.
These questions and the free-form copy serve two purposes. Firstly, other users can browse your profile and see the answers you’ve provided to the various questions. This is great because you get to know a fair amount about a person before you’ve even met them, and for the less socially forward of us, this provides nice content to use to break the ice.
The second use of the answers is for automatically generating a list of “Ideal Match” candidates. The system compares the answers you supplied against the answers that every other person of the site provided and generates an “Ideal Match” candidate list, sorted in order of most compatible to least compatible. This automated list sort of works, but I have found - for me at least - it is better to actually do some leg work (ahem) and invest the time in reading people’s profiles.
Now if you’ve actually ever used a dating site before, you’ll know that almost everyone’s profile has pretty much the same boring content. Fair enough, not everyone is a writer. But I wanted to stand out a little and perhaps catch the eye of a slightly quirky girl. So I broke my free-format profile up into two parts: a pure piece of silly creative writing, followed by a more serious overview of who I am and what I like. I won’t bore you with the second part, but since this blog is focused on creative writing, I thought it may be nice to share the silly part.
My dating profile
I like fish. Especially big ones. I had a shark once. He kept chewing on the creepy crawly. Then he ate my gardener. So I had to give him away.
But he was the cutest little fellow. I used to take him down to the public pool on weekends and ride him like a pool noodle. We would see how many limbs we could remove before the lifeguard caught us and said we had to go home.
After the premature departure of my shark, I couldn't bring myself to get another fish. I measured a killer whale, but found he wouldn't be able to turn around in my Jacuzzi. So I got an ostrich instead. We had lots of fun together. He would stick his neck down my sink the whole time. Then one day he got stuck and I had to cut his head off.
Naa, just kidding. I didn't really cut it off. I unbolted the sink and now he wears it as bling. The other birds think he's really cool and the u-bend stops him from hitting his head on the roof of the canary cage when he's playing on his swing.