Thursday, February 02, 2006

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

So after another round of semi-successful dating, I was giving some thought to updating my profile description, which is a sort of mix of "inspired," "ridiculous" and "resigned."

The thing is, I've noticed women SAY they want certain things in a guy, and fresh off being called "cute and funny" at a party last weekend - by someone I doubt I'll ever date - I was pondering just what I could say to make my profile more interesting.

The fundamental flaw in the strategy is, of course, it's not that I don't have much luck GETTING the dates. I get a fair amount for a not-drop-dead-gorgeous guy. It's getting past, say, the second date.

So maybe it's just me.

That said, I found myself pondering what women SAY they want. (It's not that I don't believe them. It's that I don't really understand women. So they could be lying.)

Women say they want (in no particular order):

1. Someone honest
2. Someone smart
3. Someone who will make them laugh
and frequently,
4. Someone who likes the outdoors

So three out of four ain't bad. I'm honest, to a fault. I'm smart, probably too smart for my own good. And I'm funny as hell, or at least I think so. The outdoors, the wildlife can have.

But the thing is, near as I can tell, either all women want the same thing - which I know from dating several isn't true - or they're almost all lying.

Because face it, I wrote a profile on the damn site. I lied. Well, I didn't lie. I tried to put myself in the best light possible, and downplay my flaws, plus be diplomatic and generally avoid saying unpleasant things. I'm no salesman, but I figure that's a bad way to attract women, being a complete jackass. I could be wrong.

If I were really to tell the truth, would women want that kind of honesty? I don't think so. They say they want honesty, but I really do wonder.

The joke I always read is about Match's unfortunate request to list your "body type." This one was written by a guy, interpreting how women answer (Match's phraseology first). Note I DIDN'T WRITE THIS, I'm merely citing/paraphrasing it:

1. Athletic and Toned = Thin enough
2. Slender = Acceptable
3. About Average = A little chunky
4. A Few Extra Pounds = Fat
5. Curvy = Hey, round is a shape
6. Full-figured = Holy @"#&ing #$&#!

So back to the honesty part. I put "About Average." My doctor says I have A Few Extra Pounds, but be honest: Have you seen most guys these days? I'm not skinny, and I've got a bit of a beer gut. But I'm built broad and I carry it well. And I've actually been told that by women, so that's an outside opinion. I can see my wee-wee, and I can see my feet. That's better than most. I used to put "Athletic" on another site, because I am. But "toned" I'm definitely not. I don't have THOSE kind of six-pack abs. I have the kind your average ex-jock yelling from the cheap seats has. Abs COVERED BY six packs.

(Aside, Asian women, I've noticed, have a very different opinion of what constitutes a few extra pounds than white women. So round down.)

Now that I've explained that I'm stretching the truth, but no further than I'm stretching my boxer waistband, I ask again. Do women really want the truth? And does it really matter?

After all, if you think I'm ugly - and I've always figured I'm a "you've gotta like the type" kind of guy, maybe a 6-6.5, a 7 if you like the type - do you really care if I've got some love handles? No, you think I've got a lousy haircut, worse complexion and the makings of a second chin. But I put a recent picture up. With the same lousy haircut and bad complexion, etc. It's a good picture, not one of those bullshit too-close-out-of-focus-I'm-not-showing-my-body kind of deals. Look at my pictures on Match, you'll be able to spot me in a bar. We Asians all look alike, but not THAT much.

You want the truth? I'm fairly inept around women. I get nervous, I talk too much, I'll look at their chest if they show a lot of cleavage, I never know what to say, and I do a lousy job of hiding my feelings, good or bad. But that's not going to get me dates. Is it fair to hide that little bit of truth? Because some women have, in the past, found me quite charming. And I've got plenty of friends and co-workers who think I'm witty as hell. But really, who'd go on a date with a guy whose profile says "hey, I'd love to date you, just don't expect Mr. Smooth." One girl I went out with laughed like hell when I told her the way we were sitting at the movies, I wasn't going to be able to show her my move. Singular. (I did get to show it, with decent success. I still didn't get a second date. This is why I don't understand women.)

Other truths too ugly to tell: The site asks you for your ideal match. So I said I'd rather have someone I could talk with than someone who's all looks and no personality. (I mean, I said it a little smoother than that. Not much...) That's the truth. It's not that I have a low standard in beauty, it's that I find many different kinds of women attractive. I find that there are certain types, everyone knows they're hot, but I find many women attractive who aren't hot in the traditional sense. But fair's fair. If I think you're ugly as sin, I'm not sending you an e-mail because I don't want to date you. Really, I expect the same from others so I don't see anything wrong with this.

But I have one real turn-off. I find there's a line of overweight that ceases to be curvy and cuddly and starts becoming fat and unpleasant to look at. There. That's truth. How many of you are starting to prepare your nasty comment already? Look, as I've already stated on the record, I'm not exactly skin-and-bones. I'm a 5-9, 200+ pound guy. I don't think it's unfair that I don't want to sleep with a woman who's bigger than I am. And frankly, I found this out the hard way. No pun intended. I went out with someone, who shall remain nameless, and when we finally got nekkid, well, I wish she'd kept her clothes on. Sorry. It's true. I wonder if anyone's ever felt the same way about me. Maybe. I can live with that.

But who the hell says that? That's the kind of truth, much like the way Jack Nicholson guards Gitmo, that some people can't handle. Where's the line between tact and decency and honesty. If I opt for a Policy of Truth a la Depeche Mode, and say "no fat chicks" on my profile... well, that makes me an asshole, doesn't it? But does it make me more of an asshole to reject the overweight women who've contacted me and/or I've gone out on a date with (people lie, and pictures flatter, let's face it) and make up some other reason why I don't want to see them again?

I don't know. I already don't understand women. Maybe I don't understand life. I had this conversation with a girl I met on Match when I said I don't see why people don't hit the "reject" button on a communication - it's easy, it's free, and it's honest. If I don't want to date you from seeing your profile, I'll hit the little button that says "thanks but no thanks" because I figure it's only fair that you know one way or another. You contacted me, clearly you're interested.

But almost no one ever responds to my little communiques. Match keeps a list of the people you've contacted (they call them "Connections," but they don't have to be two-way, so it's a little presumptuous/ridiculous. I just delete people when I see that they've been online more recently than I sent my Wink (the little communique) or e-mail or whatever - and haven't replied.

But I reply to everyone who Winks/e-mails/etc. The girl I was talking with said it's because women are non-confrontational and don't want to just reject someone out of concern for their feelings. But if that's true, it's better that I ignore a women I don't find appealing, out of risk of hurting her feelings, rather than simply stating, hey, you're not my type?

To me, that's kind of messed up. Oh, I forgot... Women also want (5.) Someone who doesn't play games.

The only games I play are tennis, Strat hockey, D&D and stuff made by EA Sports.

But the whole Match dance-of-death is a game, isn't it? I just want to find a girl, talk to her a little, go on a date and see if we like each other and are hot for each other, and take it from there. This other bullshit I just don't get.

I guess I'm fairly good at relationships (not so good at the end, but good at the meaty part) and just not very good at "dating." Every good relationship I've had I've kind of stumbled into.

Speaking of which, that's another bit of honesty that women really don't want.

I was in love once. That shows I'm capable of deep feelings, romance, commitment and other stuff women SAY they want.

But it's also something that's over, and that I may never recover from. Well, not that I'll never recover from, but that I've never been the same after. I guess I'm scarred. (Not a typo. I'm scared, too, but not right now.) Does someone dating me want to know that truth? Do they want to know that the stranger they're about to me is brimming with hope at the possibility of finding love, and at the same time broken somewhere inside and just hoping to find someone who can help him heal?

No. That's fucking psycho and scary. But I'm not psycho and scary, at least no more than I ever was. Honest.

Someone told me once you can't love someone else if you don't love yourself. I don't think that's true. I was in love, and I don't know that I loved myself. I didn't really have to: I loved HER. But I guess when she was gone, that didn't leave much left. But I've gotten older. I don't know if I love myself (not a euphemism) but I think I at least like myself. Most of the time.

Women say they want (6.) Loyalty. I'd fight to the death for someone I love. That sounds good in theory. Not so good in practice, like when you have to deal with certain Complete And Utter Shit almost-future-father-in-laws. Is that really what women want? Someone who'd actually kill for them?

(Hey, I'm not THAT psycho. I wouldn't kill just random people on the street. But I am old-fashioned, and believe me, if my Complete and Utter Shit almost-future-father-in-law actually LIVED in the 19th century instead of just thinking that way, I'd have 10-paces-turn-and-Aaron-Burr'd his ass, no question. I don't care what he thought of me. He insulted my mother so badly she wouldn't repeat what he said - saintly woman - and deliberately hurt the girl I loved, just because she loved me. That's not something to forgive or forget. Hell, the acting governor of New Jersey threatened to smack a DJ who insulted his wife - I'm not completely crazy. But in hindsight, when you've had to be physically restrained from a guy - TWICE - he's probably not going to be too thrilled to walk his little girl down the aisle to you. No matter how glad he might be to hand her off to Someone Else's Problem World.)

Maybe there's something wrong with me. But I'm on medication. I've been to therapy. (Again, not things I list in my profile.) It can't be that bad.

But I just can't figure out how to get through this Match-bullshit-salesmanship thing without feeling guilty, like I'm misrepresenting myself. To know me is to love me. Really. And I'll tell you anything you want to know.

But in the end, I suspect, it just comes down to looks. So why can't women say (7.) Someone's who's freakin' hot? Hey, I'm accepting of who I am. I don't write to the people whose date isn't Asian (you can eliminate people on the basis of race and/or religion, among other things - and I really don't have a problem with that). I also don't list "full-figured" under my list of Stuff I'm Looking For. Fair's fair.

So in the end, I left my profile alone. The girls who write back say it's different. Evidently, "different" is good. And I'm as honest as I can be without being a turn-off. I admit my flaws. Some of them. Or at least masked as quirks.

Beause, face it, I don't want to wake up one morning next to my wife of a dozen years and find out she thought I was Person A and I'm really Person B. DM says you'll regret that Policy of Truth. But I think I'd regret a Policy of Lies more.

Links: - hey, it gets me dates
What Women Want: Mel Gibson
• There'd be a link to some site about truth here, but they're just too scary

The thing I feel guiltiest about is feeling unloved. My parents love me with all their hearts. And I feel guilty that this is not enough. I don't understand why it's not. It's not their fault. That makes it mine, and that's why I feel guilty.

You want loving parents? My parents helped buy my ill-fated engagement ring. They paid for most of it, really.

And years later, after they'd sold the ring in NYC at a serious loss, they told me they knew we were never getting married. But I believed it, and they were willing to support that belief right up until it crumbled.

Bonus link: Why diamonds suck: note No. 3 about the resale value or lack thereof

(Something else you won't find in my profile: When I'm scared and depressed, as I am now after writing this post, I want to curl up under the covers and pretend I'm a tiny little munkee without a care in the world except whether I should spend my date swinging from my prehensile tail or just sit on my multicolored little butt and eat bananas. But no. I think I'll just play video games for a while.)