My internet dating profile is more bouncy than a girl-scout with a yoyo on a trampoline!
This is how it works:
- I start emailing with a potential hottie, so I ‘hide’ my profile to focus attention on said hottie
- Said hottie says they’ll write tonight, I don’t receive an email, my profile goes back up
- Said hottie writes that he sent an email and demonstrates both irritation and cutie-ness
- I reply and my profile gets hidden again
- Add to that the previous relationship uncertainty: dumped, not dumped. Relationship over. Which went with profile posting-removing
And you’ve got the full girl-scout with a yoyo on a trampoline picture*!
(*not literally a picture, apologies to the people sent here by search engines looking for pictures of girl scouts on trampolines. This site might help. It has more ‘raunchy’ dating and a great video of the world YoYo champion 2005: http://www.m90.org/view_image.php?image_id=8230)
Why do I bother bouncing the profile? Why not leave the profile totally posted until I’m ‘in’ a relationship? Good question, you guys are on the ball. Here’s a long explanation why.
To me it looks like there are two main potential strategies for establishing the beginning of a fulfilling-have-fun-with-boy-man relationship using the service I’ve subscribed to:
1) Maximising statistical probability
If I keep email threads going with all the hotties I can find I’m bound to have a hit with one of them. This ignores that HOW we engage in relationships significantly impacts their quality. The service charges on a time-based model (per month), not per-person-contacted. A capitalistic, mechanistical, individualistic science oriented value set would suggest that maximising probablity is both a pragmatic and profitable approach to securing the start of a fulfilling relationship
2) Maximising mutual engagement
If I know what I want and explore that within any exchange with one hottie I can work out whether this hottie really ‘works well’ with me. Mutuality. This ignores that ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’, the abundance of choice… ..so prevalent in wealthy societies like the US… …even people can experience being treated as a replaceable commodity.
What do people do?
Based on personal experience I’m guessing that within this dating service the majority of users are applying a statistical approach. ‘Daters’ can expect their hotties to be using a statistical approach, keeping a profile visible until absolutely sure of a decision which had to be negotiated, or ‘given’ as part of the relationship development process. Nothing wrong with that. Culturally ‘acceptable’. Agreed. Agreed?
What does Wendy do?
I’m opting for mutual engagement on a ‘serial’ basis. Potentially more Expensive, time consuming and open to being misunderstood because its not the Norm. Urgh.
Is fulfillment really a statistical concept?
I don’t think so!
I believe that, unlike the statistical approach, a mutual engagement approach affords the basis for clear, open, honest communications. For example, if I was using a statistical approach would I discuss any single hottie with the others that I was writting to? This might reduce my chances of quickly establishing an intimate relationship with them. I believe that omission of pertinent, known, chance-reducing, information can be sufficiently misleading to be experienced as dishonest or at minimum unduely induce paranoia (promote the need for therapy?).
As an extreme fictional example, Married man omits to tell his wife he’s having an affair. He hasn’t lied. She may get paranoid, why is he working late so often? I can’t keep questioning him about where he is etc. The key thing here is pertinent information, stuff where knowledge is being withheld BECAUSE it will have an impact on a specific relationship. I wonder how ‘open’ the dating service users feel able to be if they are employing a high numbers approach?
If the hottie using the statistical approach is honest and decides to provide this information the recipient is given a clear indicator that they are not (yet?) special. As an egotist this is not a message I like to receive too often! As someone who aspires to being a caring person this is not a message I want to feel obliged to give to people who have flatteringly shown an interest in me. To illustrate, here’s a fictional, potential open honest conversation between two statistical approach users based on actual convesations I had with service users:
Left-hander:I am having some fun email threads with 5 people through this dating service at the moment, what about you?
Right-hander: Just the 20, I normally have about 34 going, I’m a fast thinker and typer
Left-hander: Oh, how do I rate in the 20, is it worth my considering this relationship as anything other than friendship?
Right hander: Can’t tell at the moment, well over half of the 20 will just drop-out over the next week, and I’m only really sure I’m interested in 4. The others are just entertainment value. You’re one of the 4. Lets start with friends and just see how it goes, I dont want to rush into anything. How do you feel about your 5 people?
Left hander: well, foot-fetishist is fun but wont go out on hikes for fear of blisters. Hand-fetishist is a bit too tactile but really tickles my sense of humour. Obviously, you’re gorgeous but I’m not confident we have potential because you dont seem really interested in me, the other two I haven’t met yet so its early days
Right hander: sounds fun, why all the fetishists? etc…
There is also a perceived time-based anxiety for all statistical approach users. People can easily believe that if they don’t establish intimacy quickly then the other person will easily find someone else, particularly if they are attractive. This creates a perceived need to establish intimacy quickly to legitimately reduce competition by asking for the new-partners profile to be removed.
From a finance perspective the mutual engagement method sets the expectation of not finding a right person ‘quickly’ together with longer subscription to the service (service profit). I’ve actually had people write asking me to reply quickly before their subscription runs-out. These people were honest, but hey babe, I’m worth more than the subscription!
I suspect that a statistical approach promotes ‘insecurity’, lack of perceived self-value, and lots of social interactional experiences that are highly negative (paranoia, deception). Consequently, it aligns with a profit principle through the supply of ongoing services (dating, counselling). For these reasons I believe using a statistical approach would be a morally irresponsible act from anyone who see’s this dating services affordances as I see them.
In maximising mutual engagement, I can say honestly, i’m only mailing with you. The hottie can indepedently verify this by checking my profile availability (not there). He can feel re-assured. I can be fully open and comfortably convey all relationship pertinent information. Trust grows quickly. This suits my conscience and sense of self as a responsible society member. It also promotes trust, comfort, confidence and happiness. It has the Wendy-pleasing by-product of scaring-off people that might not feel easy with open, honest and fairly focussed Wendy-communications. Hooray!
However, I can still be paranoid because the person I’m mailing is likely to be using a statistical approach. Their choice. I can respect the logic that promotes this strategy and self-treat myself for any paranoid outbursts, or blog them.
The challenge is how to maintian mutual engagement approach when the social and business system heavily promotes a statistical model? Here’s my plan:
- Errr… …be stubborn based on principle
- Suggest to the service providers that they seriously consider revamping their charging model to a per ‘start-contact’ basis. This would encourage a mutual-engagement model over a statistical model and could be constructed to be profitable using the specifics of the pricing model