Monday, November 24, 2008

I did it. Finally decided to register at some online dating site.
My reasons are mainly boredom and curiosity. To some extend professional interest. I saw the internet develop and it still fascinates me. Most social aspects of the net interest me. I keep an eye out on Anonymous, discuss the pros and cons of cyber sex... you name it.
I admit I have thought about joining a dating site before, many months ago. I found a website rating them, very convenient. I took a closer look at three: FriendScout24, iLove and For a first test I decided on This is only a first test, mainly for me to do a profile. Even though according to this analysis there are 66% men and many from my area, I don't expect any contact yet. Why? Because you can only send (and answer!) messages when you pay. And of course I don't intend to do that.

First problem: user name. As always all the good ones are already taken. And I hate to add numbers. Of course I won't use anything having to do with my real name, neither my internet alias - both of which would probably still be available. So I try around a bit, very close to giving up the whole idea again. Until I settle for one with the use of underscores. Well, better than numbers, I guess.
I do a quick search for guys in my area, age 18 to 30. As expected not much interesting. Three worth a click. But this is just a test anyway.

So now for the most interesting, difficult and feared part: my profile. First of all my place of living. How much distance to search around? I have no idea, so I take the default. Then I have to get up again and get the measure tape. I take my size on the wall, with wool socks. Haven't done that in a while. It's about 157 cm - damn I'm small. Then my general body size... How would I judge that? Had they asked for cloth sizes - but no. What is "corpulent"? It sounds like an extreme, so I don't choose that. It's certainly neither athletic nor slim. So what's left is "a bit more" and "average". I remember hearing about the average size of German women and think that probably that kinda fits me. Probably "a bit more" would have been more sincere. First page done.

Eyes and hair colour - easy. No tattoos, no piercings. I ignore the ones in my ears cause they need re-opening. Then: my best part? Oh god. I've been told I have a nice smile, but I don't see anything particularly special about it. I guess I like my eyes best. It's terribly cliché, but it's gonna be "eyes" then.
Interests. They're optional, so I ignore most of the free text fields. They have yoga as sports so I click on that; for the sake of having at least one in that section activated. What activities I'd like to share with a partner? Hell, how should I know? I've been a single for years. I just click on some spontaneously, like rock music and movies and such.

Sports: Couch Potato? But no, I started doing Aikido, so I choose "does sports rarely". They don't have my drinking habits, so I choose "drinks in company". That's not true. I sometimes drink alone. I work in IT. I earn less than 25.000 Euro a year (had to calculate that roughly). No kids, don't want. Live alone. Like cats, don't own any. Am of boringly European heritage, nothing more to say about that. I choose "atheist" as religion. I guess I am. My education... Now that makes me think again. The options are badly chosen. Why is there a difference between diploma and academic? I do have a diploma and very nearly had a Master of Science. Does that make me an academic? Or doesn't it because my diploma is from a "Fachhochschule" and officially worth less than a normal university diploma? I decide on "academic". As languages I choose German and English. Me being able to speak French would be simply lying. Even more so with Japanese.

Preferences about my date. "My Date". Sounds a bit exaggerated... Heritage - I don't care. Age? I was afraid of that question. Let's try to be sincere. 18 up to...30? I'm being generous and choose 35. Height? I have no idea, defaults will be alright, I guess. Eye colour - don't care. Everything can be beautiful. Hair colour. I feel inclined to say don't care, too. But grey? White? Bald? No. So I choose everything but those three. And yes, it's kinda important. I love long hair and bald is just too far from it. I go on with being shallow and choose everything except corpulent for the next option. I'm not too sure about athletic though. I hate guys with huge muscles, they make me nauseous. Ok, so to be on the safe side no athletic either.

Religion: I choose atheist, agnostic, no religion and buddhist. There are some I never heard of, but I'm too lazy to look them up. I give it the medium importance, too - I guess I wouldn't get along very well with religious people. So the next one is education. Again the options confuse me, so I simply choose everything except the lowest kind of school. Languages German and English, don't care about profession and income. Smoking? Again I'm feeling generous and choose everything except regular/heavy smoker. Same goes for alcohol. Even more generosity about the relationships and I click on "don't care" whether they're divorced. The thought frightens me a bit that people my age might already be divorced, but... oh well. Too frightening is the thought of him having kids, though. No. Then there's a small list of preferences the partner should have. Weird options: dancing, power, sarcasm, long hair, candle light, money... Again I don't care about most, I just give a yes to intellect and sarcasm and a no to power and money.

So far, so easy. But now: A headline to my profile? Not optional this time. I have no idea what to write. None whatsoever. So I decide to do some other things, surf the web, write this. It's late, I wasn't out the whole day. I don't feel like shopping, but I guess I need some food and stuff. But it won't let me safe and do it some other time. And the next thing is a description of me and what I'm looking for, with a minimum of 200 letters. That will probably take me hours, so I decide to go out and buy stuff now.

But back from doing the shopping I procrastinate some more. A lot more. The whole rest of the day actually. Watched a movie on TV, then a comedy show afterwards. And read an e-book until very late at night. I then decided to make it another test: what happened if I simply log off, or in this case close the browser, before completing it?

The whole next week I didn't log in again. I did get some emails however. Daily ones with "partner suggestions" and at least two asking me to finish my profile.
The next weekend I logged in again, determined to finish it this time. I'm old enough and it can't be too hard to write a few words to describe myself, right? And since I'm not really serious about it, it shouldn't matter at all what I write. But this is a test. I want to do it right.

So... 200 words about me and what I'm looking for. I just start writing. Or want to... Though being determined, it's harder to start than I thought. Second try works then. I can write 250 words in one go. It's less than it sounds. Then I try to turn off my inner censor and just go on writing. I manage to add a few more sentences. Which may describe me well, but not very favourably. I've never been very good at all this "advertising for yourself" stuff. After about 625 words I decide it's enough. I wrote something about feeling younger than I am and still estranged where I live and blah blah.

Now I need a caption, a headline for my profile. To help me think of something witty I take out "The Wit & Wisdom of Discworld" and look for a quote that might fit. Of course it doesn't help at all, since Pratchett rarely writes about romance and never about the internet. But it reminds me that I wanted to order something at amazon. I learned about advertisement - a catchy headline is important. I can't think about anything catchy about me though. Doing MySpace profiles is a lot easier. I take a look at mine and it gets me an idea: I quoted part of the song "Reaching Out" on there. As a whole, too depressive. I decide to take the title of the song and finally be done with it. Yes! Send it. But then: shock. Session timed out. I'm quick-witted enough to use the back-button of the browser and copy the text I had written. And I was right: after logging in again all I had written had disappeared. So I paste the text in again, add the caption and save it.

I get asked whether I want to be "Spotlight-member". Apparently for two weeks they might use your profile for their advertising or something. Hell no - don't want. So their customer service will now take up to 48 hours to check my profile.
Next thing I need: a picture. Of course I expected this and already decided on one. It's a bit older, April 2007, and shows me without glasses. But it's one of the best I have. Especially without revealing too much of me. Since it's not allowed to post a link, I have to save it to my PC and upload it again. Again they say they'll check my picture in the next 48 hours. Then they try to sell me a premium membership. At least now they point out that with a free membership you can neither send nor answer to messages.

Now I've completed my profile. But since I'm already logged in, I decide to try out their personality test. I like taking such tests.
First thing is to compare my right hand with pictures that are shown. Ok - the lenghth of the fingers on my right hand says something about my personiality? I'm left-handed, by the way. Following are questions about whether I'm the oldest/middle/youngest child, about relationships, about my friends (what friends?), about what I do Saturdays (haha), about what I think of myself. Mostly the usual stuff. And two games about visual illusions - the first one I finished perfectly within 11 seconds, the second one wasn't quite perfect.
The result: I'm a diplomat (30%). The other parts are: Pioneer - 27%, Entrepreneur (maybe they didn't translate that right into German) - 26% and Adventurer - 18% (no surprise there).
I wonder what the fingers of my right hand had to do with this.

Finally: Done.
Now there's only to wait what happens...

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