Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Pros And Jons

First of all, happy birthday to my nephew Todd, who turns 9 today.
Given that he’s only 9, I sent him considerably less money (the big bucks are reserved for “milestone” birthdays), and that he’s such a good kid – almost inhumanly it sometimes seems – it’s unlikely that his response upon opening the card was anything like Jourdan’s.
Because I’m making more money than I did at AOL and, having paid off my car – I got the title in the mail a couple weeks ago, so now I officially own a piece of crap – I’ve had a significant decrease in the amount of money I’m paying out every month, I have considerably more disposable income than I’ve ever had in my life.
So, with that in mind, I’ve been considering cautiously climbing into the online dating pool. In the past I’ve dipped my foot in to test the water, but given that in order to actually contact any prospects you have to pay a rather hefty monthly fee, I’ve avoided fully taking the plunge before now.
The obvious first question is “Which one?”
I haven’t answered that question yet, though I can say which one it won’t be: eHarmony.
Why not eHarmony? Well, first of all, their commercials annoy the hell out of me.
“Oh, look at us; we’re so perfectly-matched and happy!”
Fuck your happiness and perfect compatibility.
Secondly, on two occasions, eHarmony’s personality matching system has scientifically proven that I’m not compatible with anyone anywhere.
Thus I’d prefer a less exact system.
Regardless of which service I do choose, it’s likely that I’ll have to create some sort of profile, which leads to the second question of “What am I going to say about myself?”
My natural inclination is to just be as straightforward and honest as possible. After all, what’s the point of creating false expectations? Claiming to be a billionaire philanthropist might initially get me some play – assuming that there’s anyone in the world who would believe that a billionaire philanthropist would need to use an online dating service – but it’s not an act that I’d be able to keep up for long.
And even though if there’s anything that can be learned from romantic comedies it’s that at the core of every successful romance there is a significant act of dishonesty, which is rife with comedic and dramatic possibilities, (“By the way, I only asked you out as part of a bet,” “Oh, I’m not actually a guest at this hotel; I’m a maid,” “Oh, I was only pretending to be a priest so that I could get close to you before you got married,” etc.), I’m of the opinion that while honesty may not always be the best policy, it’s usually the most tenable.
So, by way of attempting to create an outline for my profile, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at the pros and cons of dating me, or what I like to call The Pros and Jons.

Pro: I’m pretty secure financially.
As mentioned, I have a pretty high-paying job. I’m a homeowner. I have very good credit. I have marketable skills that will likely lead only to an increase in my earning power over the next decade or so.

Jon: I like to spend more than I like to save.
Clearly I have a weakness for shiny electronic gadgets.

Pro: I’m pretty smart and I’m also funny.
Pretty much speaks for itself.

Jon: I’m also geeky and my sense of humor can be offensive.
I’m all about the snark and sarcasm, which is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, but not so much if you’re not, and I read comic books, like science fiction and fantasy movies/books, and spend most of my time at the computer engaged in nerdly pursuits. I can – and have done so – talk for hours about topics such as “Who would win in a fight: Superman or Thor?” (The answer, by the way, is Superman, despite what Dave Campbell says on the subject.), or about some obscure historical/literary/comic book piece of trivia. There’s a good chance that, if not matched up with someone of similar proclivities, there would be a lot of conversations that would go like this:

Me: [insert random comment on some arcane topic, probably related to comic books]
Potential Mate: What?
Me: Never mind…

Pro: I genuinely like and respect women as human beings.
I see no conflict between being sexually attracted to women and treating them with the respect they deserve as people. I view it as an ideal circumstance to be paired up with someone whom I actually like as a person.

Jon: I genuinely like and respect women as human beings.
I don’t want to make any sort of blanket statements about women here, but my own observation has been that there are a significant number of women who, for whatever reason, do not view this as a good thing. Not in a potential mate, at least. For a Platonic guy friend? Sure. For a boyfriend? Not so much. Again, this is just my own experience.

Pro: I’m thoughtful and considerate and something of a closet romantic.
I have a degree in English, and if I could be said to have had a particular focus it was on the British Romantic Period. Now, this isn’t “romantic” in the Harlequin romance novels sense, but there is a sort of…depth of feeling that is characteristic to this period which appealed to my sensibilities. I’m not a big flowery demonstrative gesture kind of guy, but more the “still waters run deep” type, preferring to make small – but significant – gestures of affection. I actually like buying gifts or leaving sweet little notes and performing other random acts of romance. Beyond that, I’m not the type to forget birthdays or anniversaries, and in a relationship I’m likely to give my own wants and needs secondary consideration.

Jon: Being thoughtful and considerate all the time can rob romantic gestures of their power.
If your boyfriend never has anything sweet to say, and can barely remember your last name, let alone your birthday, it will increase the significance of even the smallest gesture exponentially. Call it “The Prodigal Son Effect.” If your boyfriend always remembers your birthday and is constantly telling you that you’re wonderful it can eventually lose all meaning.

Pro: I’m a good listener.

Jon: That being said, I’m not always the most brilliant conversationalist.

Pro: I’m not a drinker.
No drunken, late night booty/bail me out calls, no alcohol-induced faux pas at family gatherings, etc.

Jon: I used to be a drinker.
That I don’t drink now is a symptom of the fact that I used to drink. That I can’t drink even in moderation shrinks the pool of women that I could potentially appeal to even further. Sure, not everyone drinks, but my inability to do so is definitely a social handicap; it’s just a question of how severe of a handicap it is.

Pro: I’m not Elephant Man levels of grotesque.

Jon: But physically I’m nothing to write home about either.
How much this matters is, of course, debatable, but there’s no getting around the fact that it does matter.

Pro: I’m self-reliant.
I’ve demonstrated the ability to manage my own life pretty well without having to rely on someone else. I’m a decent cook, I can handle my own finances, and am clearly not helpless and needy by any means.

Jon: I’m a recluse.
My self-reliance relates directly to the fact that I spend the majority of my time alone and am not, by nature, a social creature. Of course, the more time I spend alone, the more time I want to spend alone, as being alone becomes the rut into which I settle. In fairness to me, though, part of the reason that I don’t go out and engage in more social activities is not that I’m totally opposed to doing so, it’s that I don’t have anyone to engage in social activities with. The world isn’t really designed with single people in mind. If I had a partner, it’s possible – and fairly likely, I think – that I would get out more. Sure, that I don’t get out more now is no doubt part of the reason that I don’t have a partner, but, again, the opportunities for socializing that are available to a non-drinking, non-religious, non-civic-minded single person are limited.

Pro/Jon: (Depending on your perspective) As mentioned above, I’m not religious.

MAJOR Jon: I don’t want children and I don’t like pets. At all.
I have no interest in being a father, or even a father figure. I think that pets are a complete waste of time, effort, and money, and am severely allergic to pet dander and don’t view taking allergy medication as the correct solution to this problem.
The potential dating pool really shrinks down thanks to this one.

Jon: I have trust issues.
I don’t think that women are any more inclined to be unfaithful or dishonest than men, but I don’t think they’re any less inclined either. Statistics may not support me on this, but it’s not an intellectual belief, it’s a visceral one. I don’t think my trust issues would lead me to be insanely jealous or suspicious or anything like that, but I do think that they would tend to make me somewhat withdrawn and unwilling to fully invest my heart in a relationship.

Jon: I don’t view myself in the most positive light.
I know that I’m a pretty decent guy, and don’t see myself as being somehow unworthy of love, but I am very conscious of my faults and limitations, particularly regarding my appeal – or lack thereof – as a potential mate. I have a lot of very good qualities in terms of being boyfriend material, but I often liken myself to being comparable to an options package without the car. What good are chrome rims if you don’t actually have a tire? Those positive qualities that I have are things that women would like a guy to have, but they’re not requirements, and I think that I probably fall short in the requirements department. Whether or not that’s actually true is irrelevant; it’s my perception and therefore my reality.

Jon: I’m not able to come up with a whole lot of Pros.

Okay, so that rather depressing part of the process is out of the way. There are a lot more Jons I could come up with, and, if I really thought about it, probably a few more Pros, but I think that pretty well covers the basics.
Now the question becomes how to spin it all into something that would somehow make me seem appealing. I suppose that if nothing else it would appeal to someone who’s looking for brutal – maybe even cruel – honesty.
Anyway, he asks, knowing what little in way of a response he’ll get, what do you think ? What would you say if you were writing my profile? What, in your view, would be the Pros and Jons of dating me?


Merlin T Wizard said...

I say drop all the Jons in that post and your profile is already written. Bing bang boom!

Seriously, though, I think you've got a lot to offer, more than you think of yourself. Then again, you already mentioned that in one of your Jons.

The only Jon I think that will really impact your pool is the no kids/pets one. There's really two there. I think you'll find plenty of women that don't want a pet. Fewer that don't want children eventually. There's plenty of those out there too, though. I know a couple right off the top of my head, and I don't know that many people.

lbugsh2 said...

I think you have a lot to offer. Only the no kids thing will hurt you. Remember there are good honest people out there. I think you will also find a lot more that would give up drinking themselves to be with you.