Saturday, February 07, 2009

OK, Stupid, I Mean, Cupid (Part Two)

In Part One I ended the post by mentioning that I’d gone through all of the profile setup and personality evaluation at OK Cupid, and was ready to take a look at what the search for matches would find.
The results?
Well, my question is “What part of ‘I don’t like pets…at all’ and ‘I don’t want kids, whether they exist now or in some potential future’ do you not understand?”
I don’t care if the other person matches me perfectly in every other regard: someone who mentions her cats early and often in her profile is not an 89% match for me.
I know that seems silly and shallow and too picky or whatever, but the fact of the matter is that my strong opposition to owning/violent allergies to pets is going to be a major problem in any potential relationship with a pet owner. And not just from my perspective.
Look, I don’t like pets. I think they’re a waste of time and money. I can’t see any way in which they could add enough value to my life to make up for all that they would take away from it. I understand that this makes me some kind of weird iconoclast or heartless monster who has horrible slimy worms where his soul ought to be, because only some demon from the pit could not love those cute widdle fuzzy wuzzy darlings, and I’ve come to terms with that. I’m not telling you not to own pets if you want to, or not to love your pets, or not to think that they’re worth any amount of money, time, or effort. Pets make you happy. Huzzah, and go you. You want to be the crazy cat person with 100 cats, all named after the characters in Little Women, I’m not going to stop you, tell you that you shouldn’t, or even judge you in any meaningful way. Some people like the smell of potpourri or scented candles, some people like the smell of cat piss. Different strokes and blah blah blah.
I’ve ranted about pets here in the past – with a lot more venom than I really intended; it was meant to be funny but came off as vitriolic, spiteful, and just plain mean, and I sort of regret most of what I said – and it actually cost me a friendship (even if it was a virtual friendship that was already pretty tenuous and wasn’t really adding anything to either of our lives), so I’m not trying to repeat those points now, just trying to give some perspective on my view of why pets are such an obstacle to any potential relationship.
See, I know that people love their pets. I get that. I’ve personally loved pets that I’ve had in the past, but I kind of view it as a phase that I grew out of. The idea of a boy and his dog is a pervasive one in many societies, and not without cause. But I’m not a boy anymore, and I just don’t feel the need for the kind of companionship that a dog, or any kind of pet, can offer.
So people love their pets, and while it’s a feeling I don’t share, I can understand it, and I get how important it can be.
I used to own a 1989 Mazda MX 6. I loved that car. However, from the perspective of an objective observer it could easily be seen as having been far more trouble than it was worth. It had all kinds of mechanical and electrical problems, such as a tendency to get stuck in gear. The driver side window, once rolled down, couldn’t be rolled back up without cracking open the control panel and arcing an electrical spark across a wire. Somewhere along the line the passenger side door stopped opening. The moon roof constantly popped open. I sunk thousands of dollars into repairing the transmission multiple times, replacing the tires, and even replacing the gas tank. Huge pain in the ass, and clearly not worth the trouble.
But I still loved that car, and to this day I miss it.
So as I say, I understand loving something that may very well have more cons than pros.
Which leads back to the pet problem when it comes to relationships.
In order for me to be romantically involved with someone who owns a pet, there are a couple of ways it could go.
While I don’t have any personal interest in owning a pet, I could deal with the presence of one – I’d probably never love it, but I could tolerate it – if not for my severe allergies, which would mean that I would have to just suffer with the itchiness and congestion, as most over the counter allergy medications serve only to lessen the effects of exposure to pet dander, not eliminate them.
Or, alternatively, I could dump a bunch of time, bother, and money into seeing an allergist to receive treatment to, eventually, overcome the allergy. In theory, at least.
What I couldn’t do is ask the person in question to give up her pet, because, as I say, I do understand the perspective of someone who loves a pet. It would be unfair for me to ask that, and I would have difficulty accepting the offer (which I don’t imagine would be forthcoming; I don’t like my odds in a Jon vs. pet competition).
And it would be unfair of someone to ask me to suffer through the allergic reactions or the expense and investment of time involved in being treated for the allergies, which, for the most part aren’t an issue for me in my curren daily life.
I suppose you could argue that by eliminating/lessening the allergic reaction I’d be improving my life, but at present those allergies don’t have all that much of an impact on my life, so I can’t really see that as making an improvement to my life. Besides, the allergies aren’t the biggest problem – though they are a big problem – because the most insurmountable one is that even if they didn’t make me sneeze and itch, I still wouldn’t much care for animals, and my grudging, reluctant acceptance of their existence probably wouldn’t be good enough for someone who does love animals.
Maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe I could meet someone who I’m so crazy about that I could put up with the sneezing and the hives. Maybe I could meet someone so crazy about me that she’d happily find a new home for her beloved pet.
But that’s an awful lot of maybes, and it seems easier to me to just avoid the issue entirely.
Except that, you know, it’s apparently impossible to avoid because evidently every damn available woman in the world has a dog or a cat.
And then there’s the whole kid thing…
Anyway, while my musings on my experience with this latest online dating service – and the perils and pitfalls of dating for me in general – has gone on too long already, it occurs to me that there should be a Part Three, or at least something of an epilogue, so come back tomorrow for that.

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