Relinquish the EgoPosted: July 9, 2011
Relinquish the ego, bury the stigma, and embrace the humility before you build your online dating profile.
I decided that JDate would be the appropriate site for Granny. Although she is far from a practicing Jew, she is Jew-ish and has spent most of her romantic life with Jews, loves pastrami on rye, and making up words that sound like Yiddish but in fact are not. I thought it best to keep her in a good comfort zone.
We made her profile together over the phone. As soon as it became a reality she began to lose her shit and recant her promise to give it a go. She insisted it was too embarrassing and suggested making a fake personality for her profile. When I told her that made no sense because she would be incapable of maintaining her fake personality throughout a whole date she revealed to me that she was the most deceptive person I’ve ever met, “I lie to you all the time and you don’t know it,” she said. I then questioned if she was even really my granny or just a devious imposter.
After an agonizing hour of encouragement she began to get into it. Body type? I suggested we put down petite, she preferred adding shapely or voluptuous. The ultimate deceiver insisted we significantly decrease her age. For 75, she’s a hot commodity, but still I thought it would be best to stick with the truth. “They’re all doin’ it, trust me kid,” she insisted. “And I betcha they all put down that they listen to jazz. They think it makes ‘em sound young and hip. Like, look at me, I listen to the horn!” Again, I didn’t exactly agree but I went with it.
She is barely 5’1, but like me she wants a taller man. “He better be at least 5’8, I don’t want any fashrimpadickas like your mother’s dating.” (Fashrimpadicka is one of Granny’s fake Yiddish words that she uses to describe short creepy men.)
I asked if we should put down “worldly” for one of the qualities she looks for in a man.
“Wealthy? Definitely.” she said.
“No, no, ‘worldly’.” I corrected.
She laughed, “I like wealthy. Yes, definitely put down wealthy. Worldly isn’t bad either though.”
Her “About Me” and “What I’m looking For” sections are quite vague. She was hesitant to reveal too much. “Less is more, less is more,” she insisted.
Then it was my turn. I chose OKCupid, it’s the site my sister met her boyfriend on and was recommended to me by a few friends that were willing admit to online dating. My first struggle came with choosing a username. It’s almost impossible not to come off cheesy in a screen name. I’m ashamed to admit that I even googled ideas. DolphinLover62, Bonerz4U, NYCbabez13, and gr8nbed were some names I came across.
Then there was the picture. “Nothing slutty, but something appealing, ya know, friendly,” Granny suggested. As soon as the picture uploaded I began to feel the same hesitations that Granny went through. Suddenly my face was out there, on the Internet for all exes, acquaintances, friends, and strangers to see.
I felt like it was a public surrender to the spontaneity of romance. I met my last boyfriend on the street outside my apartment in New York City. Our relationship was impulsive, passionate, and the furthest thing from building an OKCupid profile.
“Let’s fill the rest of my info out later,” I suggested. I hung up and went to the gym. The weight machines were packed with men between 25-38. Shit, I thought. Someone in here might recognize me! I hung my head low on the elliptical while I tried to sweat away some of my anxieties.
After showering I logged back on to the site to find 27 new messages from possible suitors. I still hadn’t uploaded any info so the messages I got were based on my “friendly” picture and the fact that I accidentally checked the box that I was into “casual sex”.
Some messages I received from men that ranged from Staten Island guidos to World of War Craft enthusiasts:
“What’s the last good movie you saw? I would love to go see Cars 2 with you.”
“I’m an Asian doctor. Interested?”
“Yo buttaface, I got girlz hotter than u.”
“Beautiful hair. Are those natural curls?”
“hi sweety u wanna have sexy time?”
“Hi, I am a 42 year old Spanish man, 5’9 tall, 180 lbs with a fit body, black hair, brown eyes and looking for a friendship for a casual affair.”
Along with many other messages, ranging from flattering to creepy to downright offensive, I was feeling intimidated but decided that adding more info might help with the process of elimination. Alone, I sat at my computer, sweating and moaning out loud from pangs of embarrassment.
I called Granny. She bullied me the same way I did to her and I whined the same way she did to me. We argued over what information in my life is important to reveal. I work in a nightclub and I also run a non-profit; two conflicting worlds that are hard, and in my opinion, unnecessary to articulate on OKCupid.
“Don’t put anything about ya nightlife gig, they’ll get the wrong idea,” she insisted and then continued to preach to me for the millionth time about why I should stop working as a bottle server. “You know you’re never gonna meet a nice man that’s comfortable with you shaking your tush in a little dress to sell alcohol to snot-faced millionaires.”
“You should put down that you’re charitable, you’re a philanthropist, you’re well traveled. Put, ‘I hope I’m fun, I think I am.’”
I decided to go with her “less is more” motto.
When it came to what I’m looking for I asked her how old was too old for me. “I don’t know? Double your age I guess,” she suggested.
“What! That’s obscene,” I said, “You would freak out if I brought home a 48 year old.”
She agreed. “Okay, okay. Only double your age if you’re just fooling around. If you’re getting serious no one over ten years older than you.” Still slightly shocking, but fair enough.
Oy, the whole process was exhausting. I just received a message from someone telling me my profile sucks. I think we both might need to take a few days to step back and let the humiliation wear off and the excitement of such a large pool of pursuers sink in.