internet dating

i periodically go online for a week or two, thinking (usually mistakenly) that i will meet someone nice to date.  let me say that i HAVE met some wonderful friends in this way, but it is not really a system that seems to work well for me to meet men with whom i want to have a relationship.

i know that this is not the case for a whole bunch of people-- many, many people i know have met their sweetheart online.  i think there are a number of reasons that it works.  two of these are: luck (most of all); and time spent online searching through profiles and writing e-mails (taking anything seriously obviously increases the likelihood of success).

however-- as something of an anthropologist i study the process of online dating while i am engaged in it.  there are some interesting (and odd) things that people do (disclaimer here: i am a woman seeking a man-- i have looked at women's profiles, but only a dozen or so in order to learn how to write a profile, i have not looked at the profiles of women seeking women, or of men seeking men-- so this is only a small sample of what is going on out there).  here's the deal:

most men seeking women post photos of themselves with some kind of vehicle.  black men tend to post photos of themselves in front of a truck or suv, white men post photos of themselves next to some kind of car and less often in front of a truck.  there also tend to be lots of pictures of men on motorcycles-- racing bikes, hogs-- there is a range.  then there are photos of men actually racing motorcycles, and many photos of the motorcycles themselves (without the men).  most men also post photos of themselves standing in front of their bathroom mirror, taken with their cell phone (clearly visible in the photo).  a fairly large number of these are shirtless.  some of these include the guy attempting to hold his guitar as if he is playing it, but with one hand while taking the photo with his other hand (yup-- it looks awkward).  which brings us to the guitar photos-- a very large number of men show photos of themselves playing the guitar-- in their basement, in their bathroom, in their kitchen-- rarely on a stage or in any public setting.   then there are the men posed with an unidentified woman-- which looks very much like it could be their girlfriend, wife, etc-- and then those photos with parts of a woman standing next to them but cut out of the photo.  a fairly large number of men in new england have apparently climbed (or driven, or ridden  their motorcycles) to the top of mount washington-- because there are a lot of photos in which the man is posed in front of that sign at the top of the mountain.  photos at red sox games (the green monster clearly visible), patriots games-- photos with absolutely no sign of a smile or welcoming gesture.  and, i should note, there are a good sampling of men who post photos of themselves cooking, a la julia child, seemingly elaborate meals.

i am really not poking fun at men-- i am sure that women seeking men are doing the same version of all this (as are, probably, everyone else).  i have been told that an inordinate number of women seeking men post photos of themselves in some yoga pose or other, for example.  but i am wondering what we are thinking we are portraying when we post these photos.  what are we trying to say about ourselves and our lives and the reasons we think that these particular photos are going to make us attractive to the opposite sex.

it is all a mystery.

-mary moore.


Dwight Cathcart said...

Lovely, amusing. A guitar suggests sensitivity, a motorcycle suggests power and sex. But then some people don't get these messages. Alice Ann once asked me about motorcycles. "What is it with motorcycles?" she asked. I don't get the bathroom scene. Should we ask C?

shopgirl said...

the other thing that many, many men pose with for their photos-- fish. hmm.

my assumption is that no one is really thinking about what they are posting-- that these are the photos they happen to have-- and that there really isn't much meaning behind them.

but it is funny that men (and, i assume) women are all doing the same thing!

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