Online Dating – Clothing Optional

Online dating is fraught with hazards and humor (mostly hazards). I’ve written about it before. For instance, my previous post about the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist, the ones where guys post—shall we say “intimate”—photos of themselves for all to see. And they’re trying to be serious! (Well, as serious one can be on Craigslist).

Today I’d like to address the “fancier,” the “nicer,” and the more “reputable” online dating sites. I’ll admit it, I check out these sites. Not for the normal reasons, though. Even though I’m on my own these days, I’m not looking too hard to change that. These online ads are sometimes just so funny and so sad at the same time. I’m not bashing online dating in general. I can easily get on board with that. I’m more talking about some of the profiles that are out there…in public…with no shame at all. It’s both hilarious and depressing.

During my periodic excursions into the wild world of online dating, I’ve noticed that many of the photo albums on these more upscale sites aren’t very different from what I’ve seen on Craigslist. They’re just more PG than MA. Whenever I see a “provocative” picture of a guy in some state of undress on these sites, the same question pops in my head. That question, of course, is WTF? Then, the second question: If you (the guy) are trying to find a significant other on one of these dating sites—or God help all involved, Craigslist—is posting a sexually suggestive picture really the right way to go?

is THAT what I think it is!?

Is THAT what I think it is!?

Maybe these guys have nothing left to lose. I’ve noticed that most of the men posting these embarrassingly lewd pictures are usually somewhat older in age. They write that they are looking for romance, an open-mind, and a companion to embark on a long-term relationship with – but no drama! As if no one out there has a backstory. Yet they follow that up with a sexually suggestive photo. Do they think that’s really going to intrigue someone who is looking for the same thing (by same thing, I mean a loving, committed, long-term relationship)? I would think that posting lurid photos would give entirely the wrong impression. But hey, that’s just me.

The latest trend I’ve noticed is that the guy’s main profile photo is one of him shirtless. He’s maybe at the beach, at the pool, on his Harley (although personally, topless motorcycle riding seems a little dangerous, don’t you think?), reclining on a deck chair, or leaning suggestively against a fence in the yard (I know, I know, but they’re out there!).  All well and good, but these guys are getting on in the years and it’s not like they’re keeping it together like Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, or Denzel Washington. Nor have they somehow defied the calendar and still have the body of a 25-year-old Calvin Klein underwear model. Oh no. They’re in their 50’s or 60’s, and have all the signs that they’ve lived a decadent life that somehow hasn’t involved a lot of time at the gym. And that’s putting it nicely. Some of ‘em have got a sort of werewolf hybrid deal going on. Lots of hair. Lots and lots of hair. I’m sorry. But it’s true. Do these men actually think a photo of them bare-chested as their main profile picture, mind you, is actually going to attract a woman? This is how they chose to introduce themselves? No build up. No “hi how do you do?” Just, BAM, chest hair in your face.

No, no, I MUST have him!

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maaaaaaybe they want to make sure that the sight of their bare-chestedness isn’t going to turn the woman off. I suppose that could be a possibility, right? I mean, there has to be some logic at play here. It’s not as if these guys would show up to a first date at a nice restaurant or coffee shop without a shirt on. Then again, maybe some would! Who the hell knows these days? The dating scene seems to be much, much different than it once was.

I understand trying to prove you are who you say you are, or rather, how you must make yourself stand out in this crazy new cyber-dating world. But can’t regular pictures do the same job? Believe me, I’m not a prude (ackk! I just choked on my drink on that one). I like to see skin as much as the next person, but posting these sorts of pictures on sites that are geared towards forming long-term relationships and finding the love of your life? Um…not so much. It’s not Tinder, folks.

What’s even sadder is that the women don’t really have it much better. If you don’t offer up a swimsuit photo somewhere in your cache of selfies, many men probably just move on to the next profile. Because knowing, or rather seeing, every intimate detail before you even go on the first date is apparently a must these days, whether you want to or not.

Me, Myself, and I

On a recent trip to a store that was half pharmacy, half general store, and half weird knick-knack closet that deserved its own episode of hoarders but an episode that is geared to a much more upscale audience (and yes, I realize I obviously can’t do math in my head), I stumbled across a good amount of meaningless, albeit amusing items. Quite honestly, it’s my new favorite place to hang out. I couldn’t afford anything there, but hey, I loved it nonetheless.

After spending quite a bit of time in the card aisle laughing all by myself like a loon, Sarah having abandoned me for her own exploration of this quirky piece of Heaven, one gift-y sort of item in particular caught my eye.  At first I only saw it as a gag gift, but it soon dawned on me that in this day and age it could be seen as a heartfelt present.  It was a photo album for selfies. Selfies! Let that sink in for a minute. Oh and we’re not talking some plain, unobtrusive, perhaps even elegantly designed album.  Oh no.  It was bright red, leather-bound, and the cover has a mirror.  A freakin’ mirror, people! And inside are empty pages reserved for pictures of most people’s favorite subject…themselves. You can make a scrapbook of nothing but self-portraits. You laughing hard. You on vacation. You with a hot new haircut. You making a sexy face.

I thought this was a pretty funny little book. But we’re living in 2016. Selfies are a way of life now. The thought hit me that, oh my god, if you gave this book to a certain class of people (and you know who you are), instead of seeing the sarcastic intent they might get a little teary-eyed at the thoughtfulness.

I can already tell many of you reading this are thinking “Who would take this gift seriously!?” but gag gift or not, at $25.95 it’s a pretty pricey joke. For a hardcore selfie enthusiast this is a solid purchase, a way to preserve their uncontainable beauty even more. And people must buy it. If not, it’d be in the $2 bargain bin.  If this place had a $2 bargain bin. Which it didn’t. A $10 bargain bin maybe.

The truly funny thing is, those people who would take the book seriously, and trust me, I know a few…I can see them taking pictures of the pictures they place inside their nifty little selfie book and posting THOSE online with a comment “Just look at me…hanging out and adding a new pic to my selfie book. Isn’t it perfect?! I said, look at me! Just look!”

 

selfie book

yep, that’s a mirror.

 

selfie book_lol

because I’m just so funny!

 

selfie book_no filter

au naturel.  yeah, right.

 

selfie book_on vacay

who are we kidding? this one would be photo-shopped because since when do I have money to go on vacation??

Mature Professional Man

What can I say about the world of dating? Times they are a-changing. Whilst perusing the often hysterically funny Craigslist advertisements one day, an ad featuring the headline ‘Mature Professional Man’ grabbed my attention. I clicked on the ad, you know, just curious, hoping not to find my husband using this online name. I suppose I expected a well-dressed middle-aged man in a suit, perhaps with golf clubs in hand, ready to take his date to a ritzy country club. Perhaps a rugged hiker with a twinkle in his eye kneeling down next to his golden retriever puppy or, god forbid, a photo of him standing next to the business he started from the ground up.

Click — it is a picture of his penis. Not sure what it says about me, but I was instantly taken back to a Seinfeld episode with Elaine declaring: “He. Took. It. Out.”

Mature? Professional? Well, maybe he’s a professional (although a professional what I don’t know), but he’s certainly not mature. What made it even worse (or funnier depending on your viewpoint) is it was a serious ad. There was no “Ah-ha, gotcha!” moment. This man was genuinely earnest in his quest for a suitable mate. And all the while you’re reading about his more mundane and appropriate attributes, you’re faced with an up close view of his penis. I mean, I suppose he thought it was important.

I guess that old book from years ago entitled “Everything Men Know About Women” featuring entirely blank pages is spot on: Men do not know what women want. It’s definitely not a close up shot of your bait and tackle. I thought this was something that could go without saying but I guess in this day and age a woman has to specifically mention things like this. Do men really believe that all of us women are sex-crazed nymphomaniacs obsessed with viewing grainy, blurry pictures of men’s packages?

woman screaming

just so we’re clear, here is the typical reaction you get

To my knowledge, there has never been a romance novel written where a woman saw a picture of a man’s penis and instantly fell in love and knew that was the man she just had to marry. Sorry guys, but most women seeking a romantic encounter and perhaps even a long-term relationship with someone they meet online, a photograph of his penis is not the first thing they want to see. A picture of his bank account maybe…. You failed, MPM.

So Mature Professional Man, let me make this easy for you (it’s okay to take notes):  1) Women want men who treat them well. This should be a no-brainer but after MPM messed everything up I can’t make any assumptions about what guys understand. 2) Women want chivalrous and smart men. 3) Maybe most important for those of you wondering why your online dating career hasn’t taken off yet; Any woman worth dating is not going to send you a message because you have a nice penis. But then again, what Mature Professional Man worth dating puts an ad like this on Craigslist?

Call me old-fashioned. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong (wouldn’t be the first time). Perhaps one day we will live in a society where women choose their lifelong companions based on penis shapes and dimensions. It may become trendy for women to carry specialized tape measures with them. When they meet a nice man they can use it to say, “Sorry, but before we go any farther I’m going to need to measure you.” and reaches into his zipper without anyone on the street paying any mind at all. Just another girl-meets-boy encounter. These tape measures could be carried on the hip in a fashion-accessorized, blinged-out holster and have voice notifications and alert ringtones made by Nokia or Samsung.

Surely this is not the most outrageous prediction one could make about the future of society. There have been worse prophesies. And worse inventions. Watch, I just gave someone an excellent idea and years from now I’ll be kicking myself for not patenting the damn thing.

Many so-called reality TV shows have already started down this road. Shows such as Millionaire Matchmaker, The Cougar, Momma’s Boys, Temptation Island, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette illustrate how real-life romance isn’t cutting it anymore. Romance, it seems, has been unseated and replaced by more base and dubious motives, most of which are far removed from the traditional concept of love. Society is clamoring for more drama, more sex, more prizes, more to win, and more to lose if it doesn’t work out. Romance is turning into a competition not an act of love. While these TV shows might be moderately amusing, they portray a perverted view of “reality” as far removed from real reality as Barbara Walter’s ego is.

Okay, I’ve got a fantastic, sure-fire hot property, and I’m pitching it to the network honchos first thing Monday morning: Get ready for the newest, hottest, dating drama coming this fall! Get heated up and tune in for (wait for it) … Penis Wars! — Ladies, get your fashion-accessorized tape measures ready, because there’s sure to be some amazing things to measure here on Penis Wars! Sound absurd?

Well, who could have predicted that Naked and Afraid would ever see the light of day? Wait a second … Did you say ‘naked’? As in naked nudity? Oh, right. Nudity sells itself. It was Hogan’s Heroes and F-Troop I was thinking of that would have been hard sells to the network brass.

Listen up, guys — and you especially, MPM — if you take away nothing else from this entry you will still have been served well by heeding this one piece of advice: Stop posting pictures of your penis! Present yourself with a little bit of class. Dust off what remains of the etiquette your mothers taught you and flaunt for us (just to be totally clear, not your penises). We want to see that indomitable, innate charm rise to the surface. There’s no woman out there that will look at your profile and turn her head in disgust because you showed her your chivalrous behavior. Show your junk and you run that risk more times that you would like to think. So, just be a gentleman. I know you can do it. Oh, a nice shirt and tie doesn’t hurt either!