I am, once again, filling out on-line dating profiles and am confronted, once again, with the uncomfortable uncertainties that accompany filling out said profiles.

To wit:

The About My Date section always makes me anxious. It's easy enough to fill out the About Me section; I know what level of education I have, whether I smoke, whether I want children, etc. I've a bit of trouble filling in the various text boxes about my interests and the like, but I get by.

Then I come to the part where I check the boxes to indicate what sort of person I'd like to be matched with. This includes categories like religion, ethnicity, profession, height, body type, and so on. The trouble is that, while I might have preferences one way or the other on such things, I generally end up talking myself into picking the "I'm cool with anything" option. I generally don't care about religion, so why should I exclude, say, a Scientologist from consideration? I come to the height box, which starts off with a lower boundary of 3 feet and an upper boundary of 9 foot 11. At first I adjust it to a minimum of 4'6"-6'6" range, but then I worry that this might make me look heightist. And where does that end? By the time I'm up to a maximum height of 9'6", I end up saying to myself, "Well, why exclude a 9'10" mate?" Smoking. Well, this is an easy one; I don't smoke, and I'd prefer someone who also doesn't smoke. But... what if they only smoke socially? That wouldn't be the end of the world. And maybe a more frequent smoker wouldn't be too bad. Soon I've checked the "Anything Goes" box and I'm off to rationalize my next maximally-inclusive choice.

I don't think I'm alone in this, because I've noticed a strong tendency towards false-positives in on-line matchmaking. My inbox is quickly filled with folks with whom I have a 90%+ match in tastes. Which is to say, because I made choices that include every possible group or variant, they match my desires in every category. And because they ticked every box, I match everything they're looking for by dint of being a member of the human race. This, I would submit, is not necessarily strong evidence of compatibility.

Or perhaps it is. Maybe the match mail should say something to the effect of, "Congratulations! You're both painfully self-conscious, politically correct liberals who are too paralyzed with fear at the prospect of giving offense to someone to express any preferences whatsoever! You're perfect for one another!"

And a side complaint: There ought to be some sort of reference to explain what the various euphemisms for overweight mean. Under "Body Type" the options are Slim, Athletic/Toned, Average, A Few Extra Pounds, Full-Figured, Curvy, Stocky, and Heavyset. It doesn't make a practical difference for me, since I'm checking all the boxes, but I'm curious how one differentiates between, for instance, Stocky and Heavyset.

I will also add that, while I attempted to waffle on the sex of my potential match ("Well, that's easy. I'm looking for women. Although... I suppose if the right man came along, I'd hate to rule that out...") the dating site in question requires a firm commitment to one sex or the other.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 7, 2006 12:06 AM.

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