Afternoon Inquisition

Sunday AI: Stately MILF seeks boy toy?

Now that I’m single again, my friends keep asking me when I’ll start dating again.  I don’t actually know what to tell them.

On the one hand, I would like to be out and about more. On the other hand….I just moved across the country to a new state, and I don’t know anyone other than the folks in my office.  As a bookish introverted nerd, that pretty much means I need to participate in online dating.  But what to put on my profile?

I hesitate to describe myself as a MILF, since I haven’t had kids, and some would argue about the ILF part.  I don’t know if I can properly be called a Cougar since I have so far failed to capture and consume any prey.  (And why is there no similarly derogatory term for men who date younger women?)

“Highly eccentric, overly-educated zaftig entomologist” seems rather a non-starter.   I  want any ad I write to end up on the Best of Craigslist list, like this one:

Zombie hunting SWF seeking kick ass partner

“SWF seeks SWM who enjoys farming, zoo keeping and serious preparation for zombie invasion for friendship, LTR and possible marriage. Must be willing to wear a kilt and own his own broadsword.

The website OKCupid has a whole blog devoted to data-mining profiles on their website.   It produces hilarious charts like this one, which suggests that vegetarians are more likely to enjoy “eating meat,” if you will.*

Quite a few of their data analyses rely on looking at how the perceived “attractiveness” of a partner influences how often their profile is viewed online, and how often they receive contacts.  According to their calculations I should be young, tall, rich, and thin for the best chance of success in online dating.

Oops.

How would you describe yourself online?  Want to write a personal ad for me? How do you deal with the “god” issue in dating?

*Caveat: OkCupid’s data analyses are mostly correlational, so very weak evidence at best. But it is fun to look at.

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bug_girl

Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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44 Comments

  1. I just realized the above might sound like I’m trying to troll or insult you. That’s just what I’d write for myself as a form of terrible self-deprecating humor.

    I hope it didn’t come off that way. If so, I truly apologize. :(

  2. There may be some single folks in local skeptic/science groups in your area? We have a few scientists in our skeptic group, and they are sort of like rock stars, but cool down-to-earth rock stars.

  3. Weird, as I was reading this, how much i do love logic, clear thinking, and all, a girl working all day with bugs.. some how it’s a set back in dating. How stupid that may be by the way.

    So, what are you wearing? :-)

  4. I never know what to put on those things. My self-esteem is so horrible that I can never think of anything good to say about myself, and I feel like anything good that I do say about myself is a lie. That’s not to say that I don’t have any good qualities, but if I do, I don’t know what the hell they are.
    .
    [anecdote]
    I once posted a profile on eHarmony during one of their promos. After a bit of research, I found that eHarmony had a good reputation for matching people based on compatibility, common interests, all that stuff that good, lasting relationships are built on.
    When I answered the questionnaire, the site told me that it could not help me because “the answers [I] gave indicate that [I] would not be compatible with anyone.” WTF?
    It turns out that this happens to roughly 5% of the people that submit a profile. Rather than approve it and be disappointed later, their policy is to just simply nip you in the bud right then and there. But that didn’t make it any less crushing to my already poor self-image.
    [/anecdote]

    1. The “compatability match” at eHarmony is bunk, and I say this as somebody who met my wife on eHarmony. There are a number of things one should keep in mind about them.

      First, even though they are not a religious dating site, they do tend toward a traditional Christian view of relationships. If your stated views rub against this too much or you have multiple divorces, you may be rejected.

      Second, they use a personality test to match people. If your answers to the personality test don’t seem to match up (and some people legitimately don’t without any deception) they won’t know what to do with you and will reject you.

      It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Over a million people have been rejected by eHarmony. I seem to remember TV ads for Chemistry.com that made fun of eHarmony on that basis.

      1. On top of all that, I don’t necessarily agree that someone just like me is the best match anyway. There are some areas where it’s good to match, but it doesn’t always work out so great if you pair up two talkative people, or two listeners.

  5. I just wanted to point out that there are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t shouldn’t trust the OKCupid data. First, and I’m sure you already know this, the data is skewed because it’s from members only.

    Second, the “Odds Someone Enjoys Giving Oral Sex” data is obviously wrong. Vegetarians don’t eat anything with a face!

    Sorry.

  6. I dated a woman whom OKCupid had assessed as a 94% match for me. I’m sure they were correct, but putting two snarky, cynical, histrionic people together doesn’t necessarily produce a witty rom-com.

  7. I met my wife on eHarmony. I don’t think it is any better than any other site; it is just the one that happened to work for me. I found that the best way to attract smart interesting people is to show a lot of your personality in your writing as opposed to just listing your laudible traits.
    .
    The most important thing to do is build a happy single life for yourself. I didn’t get married for the first time until age 41. I was pretty damn happy single, and I was well beyond assuming that I would ever be married. Finding someone I wanted to marry was a lucky bonus to great life.
    .
    Make your life the same, and either the same will happen to you or it won’t. Either way, you set yourself up for success.

  8. The most important thing is to be authentic, that is to be honest about what you want. Many people play games and want someone to guess what they want or want something different than what they say they want.

    Relationships and understanding other people are hard enough when both people are trying really hard. If one of them is sabotaging it, there is no way it will work.

    The three most important things are:

    Honesty

    Honesty

    Honesty

    Most people can’t be honest with themselves. Skeptics have an advantage in being honest and with other skeptics helping to keep them honest.

    So where are you located. I am in the greater Boston area and single. ;)

  9. If you’re new in town, you could start by just joining activities that aren’t necessarily focused on dating. If you meet someone there, then you already have at least one interest in common. If you don’t meet anyone, then at least you’re doing an activity that you enjoy.

    You can often find a lot of great groups on Craigslist or meetup.com, especially if you live in a populated area. The only caveat is that if you join a book club, try to find one that is explicitly co-ed, because a lot of them end up being women only. But even if you only meet other women at first, those women probably know some men, and they can even pre-screen them for you. I have a D&D friend who is constantly trying to set me up with men, and I’m not even looking right now!

  10. It’ll probably be different for you as a female, but as a male I found no matter what I put in my profile, I got the same responces.

    Hi, I am beautiful Russian woman looking for dear man with whom to found profound relationship.

  11. Maybe I’m just sheltered, but I never saw “Cougar” as derogatory. In every context I’ve seen it used, it was a term of empowerment, perhaps even pride. At the very worst, it was an indifferent categorization. Anyone care to enlighten me?

    1. I never saw that term as derogatory either, although I do think some people question why the entire “older woman:younger man” thing has to be seen in a predatory light. It seems to imply that it’s just older women wanting to have a fling, even though some people do form genuine relationships.

      And, yes, I think that creepy old guy is the male version, which I think is much more derogatory.

    2. I know a couple of women who would find the term derogatory if applied to them, but they don’t date younger men so the point is moot. Mostly it is used in the endearing/empowering range. Terms for men who date younger women are always derogatory. On the flip side, young men and young women who date older people are almost universally seen in a negative light, even when perceived as victims. Brainless tools, or ruled by gonads, depending on gender. The negativity is all bigotry (maybe motivated by jealousy at times?) as far as I am concerned. What adults do together is their own business. (A few years ago, Statscan released figures which show that, at least in Canada, there is no statistically significant difference in the success rates of marriages between people with more than 15 years age difference vs. less than 5 years difference.)

  12. If you’re a nerd, say you’re a nerd – that way, you’ll get nerd-liking repondants. Just say it in an interesting way. It would certainly be attractive to me. (But I’m wrong continent and probably too old for you.)

  13. I’ve done some amount online dating, and from the women-folks I’ve talked to as a result, I can tell you the following: You don’t want it to sound too alluring. As a lady on such a site, you don’t want so much to attract dudes (that should happen automatically as a result of putting down “female” as your gender). What you want to achieve is to make sure you don’t attract all the dudes you don’t want any contact with.
    So absolutely make sure that your stance on the “god” issue is very clear, for example. You shouldn’t write “entomologist” mainly because it’s a bit specialized and creeps could potentially use that to ascertain more specifically who you are. But “natural scientist” should be good.
    Also, if you write you’re anything other than a boobalicious 20-year old with long blond hair and up for anything, you’ll likely get a small amount of guys slagging you off for not being that.
    I’ve been shocked by what sorts of approaches they’ve gotten from guys online. Apparently, lots of dudes believe “You’d look better with my cock in your mouth!” is a brilliant icebreaker on online forums.

  14. I found my husband on OKCupid, and still do my dating on there. First up: dating can suck! For sure. But, be honest about yourself. Weeding out the losers sooner rather than later is good. Even if it means you don’t get messaged that often (I don’t!).

    Have a sense of humour about it. And give others a chance, even if you don’t think they match up to what you want. You might meet someone awesome who was unexpected (especially if you want to meet friends too). Unless your gut says no. Listen to your gut!

    There, that’s Maggie Guide To Internet Dating in a nutshell.

  15. I’ll give you the same suggestion I have someone else recently (and I’ve been married for over 12 years, so it’s not like I have first hand experience, but it seems sound).

    If you look for a relationship on a dating site, there are inevitably many expectations and a great deal of tension which could get in the way of actually finding someone you are compatible with.

    What you really need to so is meet new people in a neutral environment where you can allow interest to build naturally.

    I suggest heading over to meetup.com, and choosing some meetup groups in your local area who have topics interesting to you. You might meet someone there who would be a dating prospect, or you might meet new friends who can introduce you to a dating prospect.

    Either way, you will be less lonely because you are meeting new and interesting people and you avoid the whole awkwardness that online dating seems to cause where inevitably you don’t like them or they don’t like you nine times out of ten.

  16. The dating site I’m on lets me use 1500 characters to describe myself, and 1500 to describe my activities and interests, on top of all the stuff I can choose from pick lists and the matching questionaire, so I don’t think I’ll repeat it here. It’s a mix of positives, harmless negatives and silly humour, just like me. :)

    I try to search for women who’re not religious, or for whom religion is unimportant, or at least are really hot.

  17. OK, since some commercial sites have been named already, let me mention http://www.sciconnect.com/, which I think would be worth a try for an entomologist. Not only is the site wonderfully specific and run by ppl who understand their target demographic, the pictures on the home page are cute enough to be worth a click. It’s too bad it’s too small to be really effective. Still

    Seriously though, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate! When I went to dating sites that did NOT cater to “sciency” people, I had to deal with a lot of extraneous stuff that made the experience excruciating, including conversations that start-out well, but suddenly veer into the bushes of woo; usually just after some term like “sagittarius” or “aura” or “rapture” appeared. I got so much feldercarb (20 points if you get the reference!) that it was a real chore to look through it, and inspired a phobic response to the keyboard. “Circling the Wagons” by having a site, or a (self-)screening process, that caters to a particular community, is perfectly reasonable. It makes me uncomfortable to divulge my stats and even the most indirect communication channel on a site like the usual ones; the desperate, the inappropriate, the mendacious and tufthunters are sooo depressing. Maybe someone has since invented a good way that a profile-owner can set-up a screen for who can see their profile.

    1. The nice thing about OKCupid is that they have about a billion questions on a wide variety of topics. So you can generally find out if the person you’re interested in is pro-eugenics, or smokes, or thinks women are obligated to shave, etc. It’s quite handy.

  18. The thing I find most fascinating about this post is that the actual questions that I asked:
    –How would you describe yourself online?
    –Want to write a personal ad for me?
    –How do you deal with the “god” issue in dating?

    Are really not what most folks are responding to. It’s mostly advice for me about dating (and debate about cougars and creepy old men).

    Lesson learned–when I draw a blank on sunday afternoon, the idea I pull out of my ass should not relate to the size of my ass ;p

    1. Fair enough, Bug (or do you prefer Ms. Girl?).

      How would I describe myself online? I tend towards almost pathological honesty, so I would, and have, described myself as having a good but somewhat tilted sense of humor, fairly intelligent, and as I get older, I’m losing hair and gaining weight at approximately the same rate. I’m also militantly anti-smoking since tobacco killed my mother. And I always state right out front that I’m an atheist. On-line, anyway. I don’t bring up my atheism IRL unless asked, but then I’m unapologetic about it. The responses I get range from amusing to bone-chilling.

      Do I want to write a personal ad for you? Well, honestly, no, since I don’t really “know” you beyond what I read on-line. But I’d be happy to proof-read any that YOU might write up.

      How do I deal with the god issue while dating? Well, I haven’t had a date in…let’s see…24 years, so it’s not really an issue, but I never hid my atheism. The second to last girl I dated was also an atheist, and I recently ran across her on FaceBook. I was somewhat disappointed to discover that she’s now a card-carrying Bible-thumper. I’m dying to ask her WTF happened, but she’s married now with 3 kids, so I don’t want to rock any boats.

      How was that? Better?

  19. You want to know what drives me absolutely NUTS on dating sites?

    People who don’t provide any information. Basic things like “types of music you like” or “three movies you might have enjoyed in the past.” I understand. You like a lot of different things. You listen to a hugely eclectic mix of music, and you watch a lot of movies. Name three you liked. Yes, it’s not perfect indicator of compatibility, but telling nothing is simply ANNOYING.

    For the God issue… I tend to keep it in mind while looking. I’ve got a number of friends who are quite religious… a couple going for the ministry, and one gaming group primarily met through the Baptist Student Ministry at UH… but I couldn’t date someone for whom it was a major concern. I spend too much time comparing JCI religions to terrorists.

  20. “–How would you describe yourself online?”
    .
    Well, that’s a toughy. I’d certainly mention atheism right up front. I’d probably try to fit in some kind of reference to my somewhat activist left-wing political outlook. I’d try to keep minimal, but still honest, on the physical description ’cause I’ve not got much of anything to toot my horn about in that regard. I’ve never used or even been to an online dating site, so I don’t really know what kind of info is expected/required.
    .
    “–Want to write a personal ad for me?”
    .
    Yikes! No. You’d probably end up shooting me after I labelled “myself” (you) as a distaff black panther! :) .
    .
    “–How do you deal with the “god” issue in dating?”
    .
    You know, I don’t think that’s ever been a problem for me. I suppose that’s in part because I live in Canada, and god issues arise far less here than they do in the states. I suspect it’s also because for most of my dating life I was in an occupation that pretty much gave most people the idea that god didn’t exactly play a very large role in the proceedings.

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