Monday, June 1, 2009

17 online dating profile cliches that women should avoid

I’ve spent plenty of time on dating websites. So, as a public service, I’m going to tell you what I’ve noticed a lot of women saying in their profiles that is probably not a good idea.

Disclaimer: I specify that these are cliches for "women" to avoid only because they’re the ones whose profiles I've looked at. I'm not saying men don't make the same mistakes; I'm simply not qualified to judge their profiles.

1. "Attractive, interesting, intelligent, active, fun, funny, sweet, simple," and other such generic adjectives to describe yourself or who you’re looking for. One or two of these might be OK, but a whole string of these adjectives is not really describing yourself. You’re just describing how everyone wants to be perceived. The worst adjectives are "loyal," "spontaneous," "open-minded," and "laid-back." Does anyone ever use those words to describe themselves or others aside from on dating sites? "Oh, she’s really spontaneous!" No one talks like that in real life.

girl peering out of Bloody Mary2. “I love music, travel, sports, the outdoors, movies, shopping, drinking, going out." Again, there’s nothing wrong with any one of these on its own. Any one of those could be great with some more detail. But a list like this is so generic as to be almost meaningless.

3. Three seemingly off-beat things that everyone claims to be interested in: "road trips," "dive bars," and "sarcasm." These could be perfectly fine details to mention -- except for the fact that everyone mentions them. As a result, it becomes hard to believe that everyone is so enamored of these things; they just sound good in a dating profile. It’s like the cook who garnishes every meal with a sprig of parsley out of habit. You don't especially want people to eat the parsley -- you’re just putting it there because it's a foolproof way to make the dish look nice. If you’re going to mention "dive bars" or "road trips," it’d be a good idea to be more specific: which bar or destination have you particularly enjoyed recently, and why? As far as "sarcasm," it’s probably better just to use it rather than mention it.

4. "Sometimes I like to go out, and sometimes I like to stay in." Is there anyone who couldn’t say this? Sure, it might not be true of hermits or agoraphobics. But it's true of just about everyone else. Another cliche that should be banned for the same reason: "Comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans or an evening gown." I understand what this line is meant to convey, but it's been overused to the point of meaninglessness.

5. "Friends and family are very important to me." That describes just about everyone. That's the point of friends and family. Even if you write this sentence with the most heartfelt emotion, it doesn't say anything about you.

6. "Love to laugh / love to have fun." The definition of the word "fun" is that it’s something people enjoy. And it’s hard to imagine someone who finds it unpleasant to laugh.

7. "I can’t believe I’m doing this! / My friend told me about this site, so I thought I’d try it out," etc. The fact that you're posting a personal ad is the one thing that can't possibly distinguish yourself from anyone else on there. You don't need to make excuses for why you're on a dating site. You probably have the same reason everyone else has: because it makes dating more convenient. Skip the apologies and move on to what makes you different from other people.

8. "My friends say . . ." No, we want to know what you have to say. If you're not sure whether your friends are right, then it’s not worth including in your ad. The "friends" line just makes you seem evasive, as if you want to be free to put potentially misleading information that you can never be called on because hey, that wasn’t you saying it -- it was just your friends!

9. "Looking for someone who can put together a complete sentence / someone who uses correct grammar and punctuation." There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it’s clearly a preference of every woman in the world (aside from those who themselves can’t put together a complete sentence).

10. "Looking for someone at least 6 feet tall." Do you really want to limit yourself to 15% of the male population? Are you sure you’d reject someone who’s 5'11" -- even if he’s intelligent, attractive, interesting, and successful? Also, consider how you’d react to a man’s profile that said he’s not interested in women over a specific body-mass index or under a specific bra size. If your reaction would be, "Ugh, how shallow!" . . . then think twice about specifying height.

11. "Looking for Prince Charming / my knight in shining armor / someone who slays dragons." How did we get to the Middle Ages all of a sudden? You might as well just say: “I’m living in a fantasy world.” And a pretty cliched fantasy world at that.

12. "I’m tired of drama / games." Two strikes against this one: (1) it’s plagiarized from a million other profiles, and (2) it's code for "I still have lingering feelings of resentment about past relationships." Keep your relationship baggage out of your profile.

13. "I hate liars." Really? How odd -- I love them!

14. "It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about, as long as you’re passionate about something." This might be a mildly impressive insight . . . if it didn't appear in about half the dating profiles out there. Also, would you like me to set you up with a passionate white supremacist?

15. "I like all kinds of music." I doubt that you're typing these words while an atonal composition by Schoenberg is playing in the background. The truth is that you like some kinds of music, but not others. Everyone does. "I like all kinds of music" is a red flag that you're afraid to share anything about yourself.

16. "Looking for a partner in crime." This is adorable . . . the first time you read it. And maybe the second or third time. Once you've read it 100 times, not so much.

17. "I work hard and play hard." Same problem as "partner in crime." You’re clearly not working hard at coming up with your own words to describe yourself.

Look back over your profile and see what happens if you delete all the cliches I've listed. If your response is: "Hey, I can't do that, or there'd hardly be any profile left" . . . then that suggests you haven't really expressed yourself, which is all the more reason to overhaul your profile.

So please, tell me about the album you've been listening to every day, or something interesting about the last place you traveled to. But don’t just tell me you like music and travel. Be specific, and -- if you’ll forgive the cliche -- be yourself.


(Photo by Ian Broyles.)

Short URL for this post: tinyurl.com/17datingcliches

103 comments:

jojo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Althouse Cohen said...

Uh oh ... I should have known that blogging about online dating would bring the spammers out of the woodwork.

Meade said...

"Does anyone ever use those words to describe themselves or others aside from on dating sites?"

I once had a labrador retriever who I can honestly describe as loyal, spontaneous, and laid back. I suppose he was also open-minded... for someone with the IQ of a three year-old child.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I met a woman through a personals ad once -- the results can be seen via your "So That's What the Kids Are Doing" post. One of the reasons I answered her ad was that she was intelligent. One of the ways I knew was that the word didn't appear in the ad.

LemmusLemmus said...

"I like all kinds of music." = "I don't care much about music."

Once they land a boyfriend, these people turn into the famous "I listen to what my boyfriend listens to" women.

It's strange, really. Many people say they don't care about sculpture or ballet, but not liking music seems almost as big a taboo as not having humour. Which is almost as big a taboo as molesting children.

By the way, do you really think it's a good idea to advise people not to use stereotypical stuff in their descriptions? Those seem like pretty good criteria when trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Jac : The worst adjectives are "loyal," "spontaneous," "open-minded," and "laid-back."

I always thought "open-minded" meant the person was willing to do kinky stuff, so maybe that one should stay.

"Looking for someone at least 6 feet tall." Do you really want to limit yourself to 15% of the male population? Are you sure you’d reject someone who’s 5'11"—even if he’s intelligent, attractive, interesting, and successful?

I know women who will literally refuse someone if they aren't taller than a certain height. If women (or men) are like that, about ANYTHING, they should say it in the ad. Maybe some people will think them shallow, but others will thank them for saving them the time and expense of a date.

Also, consider how you’d react to a man’s profile that said he’s not interested in women over a specific body-mass index or under a specific bra size. If your reaction would be, "Ugh, how shallow!" ... then think twice about specifying height.

General advice: Don't worry about looking shallow (you're writing for men). Know what you want and say it, just keep the list short; it's good practice for a relationship. And use a few current photos; men are visual.

samaBlog said...

#10 gets me, especially when it's posted by women who are under 5'2". Or rather, it used to get me, when I was single...

Scott said...

The cliche from the dog owner of "must love dogs" is quite common too. What if I like dogs, but don't like women who resort to movie titles to express their interests?

Anonymous said...

This one might be regional - "I can go fishing in the morning and the opera at night" - really? that doesn't seem like such a good day to me.

Jeff the Baptist said...

10. "Looking for someone at least 6 feet tall."I know of fair number of fairly tall women with traditional aesthetic tastes. Which means they aren't interested in dating shorter men. Be thankful they're honest about it up front.

Anonymous said...

From your last response:'Don't worry about looking shallow (you're writing for men).'

Gosh, I am sick of reading stuff like this; it's as bad as every darn commercial portraying men as stupid.

I'm a guy (AND NOT GAY, nttiawwt) and I can say that most men are not shallow. It may take a little effort to get a guy to open up but damn! my friendships with guys are not based on sports and big boobs -(not that there's anything wrong with sports and big boobs in proper prospective? but on what what's going with them as people.

Besides, women have no predetermined claim to depth of character.

How do I know there are lots of shallow women out there?

I've dated them...

samaBlog said...

Jeff, most men don't want to date women teller than they are either. Dating sites contain fields whereby you can enter your own height, and narrow your own search by height. When a woman is 5'2" and says she'll only date men over 6' tall, she is being vain. It really is like a guy posting his requirements for a woman's cup size.

Anonymous said...

You forgot "Looking for Romeo"

Uh, last I checked Romeo didn't fare too well.

And 'Classy' people don't use the word "classy."

Anonymous said...

"Are you sure you’d reject someone who’s 5'11""

Can women really eyeball something to within 1 inch?

Anonymous said...

Semi-related to #9, as an example of something you should do: One of my biggest turn-offs is when a woman is lazy with her spelling and punctuation. I don't ask for perfection, but not bothering (or being unable) to write at a high school level is a huge clue that we're not going to get along.

But beyond that, yeah, taking the time to write something interesting is always nice, but as Jason said in the comments, men are visual. Shallow as it is - and provided you've got something to work with - a couple recent pictures are going to do a lot more than any number of interesting tidbits about yourself. Men are generally going to be attracted to a pretty face first, and then later start worrying about your hobbies and how many pets you have.

Max said...

I don't think that women are as accustomed as men are to 'selling' themselves for dates. So they really just don't know what to say, and don't feel much need to seem interesting or even very intelligent.

When I'd first started using online dating sites, I assumed that most of the womens' profiles were bogus - that they were created by the service to make it appear that there were more female members than there actually were. This was due to the fact that the profile information was so highly redundant.

JAC I'll bet you that you're going to cease online dating soon enough. It's a futile procedure for anyone who's even moderately intellectual a/o a bit out of the mainstream. And the quality of the women you'll meet is poor. At least that was my experience.

Scott said...

I'm a short guy (5' 4") and have no problem dating a woman who is taller than I am.
I realize that a woman who specifies a height preference is no different from a woman who specifies a certain race or age requirement.

Anonymous said...

One more that should be added...

18. "Please show me all men aren't pigs/losers/etc." Umm, no, thanks, I prefer women who might actually like men.

Anonymous said...

John Althouse Cohen,

You might wish to check out, next time you're in a bookstore, "Quirkology" by Richard Wiseman, a rather carefree psychologist who did a little study on personal ads, focusing on what actually works and what doesn't.

Just from memory:

Your ad should be 2/3 about you and 1/3 about the other person. More than that about you and you look self-centered; less and you look like you've got something to hide.

Also, women would do well to get men to write their ads for them. Men were much better at writing ads for either sex; women tended to (my words/interpretation, not Wiseman's) stereotype the males, who spotted even a hint of that attitude from a million miles away and stayed clear.

There's more, tho it's only a relatively brief section w/in the book, but worth a gander if the topic interests you.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I met on-line. She's 5'11"; I'm 5"10. At first, I would only search for matches under 5'10". Then, I broadened my scope and found my future wife' profile. Of course, on her profile, she said that she was only looking for six-footers. I guess that's understandable for someone who is 5'11". But I took a chance anyway, and so did she; and it work out pretty good.

She has also said that one reason she responded to me was because my profile was grammatical and free of typos.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, I spent more time proofreading my profile than my above comment.

David said...

I once went out with a woman who told me, on our first date, that I was the shortest man she had ever gone out with. (No, not that kind of short.) She was always attracted to tall guys--her dad had been 6'6" and her first husband 6'5" (I am Joe Average--5'10". She's also 5'10".))

I asked her if I could be the shortest guy to go out with her twice. She said ok. We've been married four years now and happy with the entire arrangement.

There is always hope for the shorties.

Anonymous said...

I once saw a woman on JDATE who said she was looking for men over 6 feet tall. I sent her a note saying she was on the wrong site, she should go to www.iwantagoy.com. (For the unitiated Jewish men over 6 feet are rather rare.) She wrote back, and told me that since men tend to exaggerate their height by two inches, she was really only restricting herself to men 5'10" or over, and she was 5'9".

Greg Toombs said...

"Looking for someone at least 6 feet tall."

I'm extra-inspired by the opportunity to become a fashionable accoutrement that goes well with her collection of high-heels.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I'm extra-inspired by the opportunity to become a fashionable accoutrement that goes well with her collection of high-heels.

This reminds me of a profile I saw that said something along the lines of, "Looking for someone taller than me. I'm 5'8", so you should be at least 5'10", or 6' if I'm wearing high heels." Apparently, if she hits it off with a 5'10" guy, she's willing to date him, but she'll also need to keep a spare 6' guy around for formal occasions?

Louis said...

Good job on this list, it should be required reading before publishing an online profile. Next assignment, "Why did you pick that picture, are you trying to scare them away?"

holdfast said...

"It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about, as long as you’re passionate about something."

Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin were all pretty passionate guys, at least about something(s).

Anonymous said...

There are also some things I could say about the photos women post. First, don't say you are slender when your photo clearly shows you are not. Second, please, no photos of you in creepy poses with your adult son.

Anonymous said...

It drives me nuts when they say they like quiet nights at home. Isn't that what they have now? Why ruin it.

Anonymous said...

It drives me nuts when they say they like quiet nights at home. Isn't that what they have now? Why ruin it.lol, I don't care who you are that was funny.

Anonymous said...

"Love long walks on the beach". Yeah, how about a long walk on a short pier?

Pluto's Dad said...

I like the ones that post old photos when they were thinner and cuter. Then the first time you meet them you don't even recognize them.

What are people like that thinking? That their winning personality will overcome the fact that they were dishonest about their appearance?

Sorry if you lie straight off the bat you're not gettnig a second chance

march said...

it is interesting to answer questions about self, such as beliefs, philosophies or lifestyle, and scaled from never to always, which moves beyond a cliché toward being more individual. with many questions answered by contributors you can better gauge whether or not a person is within a sphere of possibility for a friendship, based on common principles, although, there will always be people who answer the same of every question, not distinguishing themselves from the others. and i agree, listing a max. of three traits, better positions a person to find compatibility.

Anonymous said...

One more cliche common in Internet dating is to complain about the clichedness of everybody else's profile. Look! I'm unique, because I can spot the bland copycatedness in everyone else's efforts! To quote someone (I forget who) this is intriguing the first five times you read it.

If you start with the novel (in these postmodern days) premise that people are actually smarter about their own decisions than J. Random Rationalist Critic can be from the outside, you find yourself assuming women have good reasons to be bland, generic, and, yes, not reveal so much of themselves in Internet dating ads. Asking yourself why that might be might be an interesting route to actual insight (although not as much cheap blogging fun).

Anonymous said...

So post a link to your profile so we can see a good one?

Summer Anne said...

I'll agree that specifying that you will absolutely only date men who are 6" tall is a mistake, but I have to disagree with the guy who said that it's like specifying a specific race or age preference. In fact, I think all three of those things are completely different:

1. Specifying a racial preference indicates that you're racist. Period.

2. Specifying a height preference isn't something that I would do. I agree with the guy who particularly takes issue with women who are 5'2 or generally shorter than most men and who only want to date extremely tall men. That seems weird and picky to me, HOWEVER! I have discussed this issue with some particularly tall and large-framed women that I am friends with and I have started to see where they are coming from as far as not wanting to date men who are a lot smaller than they are. It's unfortunate and perhaps something that they should 'work on' but the truth is that a lot of bigger women have a lot of trouble feeling attractive and sexy when they are a lot bigger than their date. Is this a weakness on their part? Perhaps. But as someone else pointed out, maybe it's better that they are upfront about it. I don't think it's equatable with being completely shallow. I can see a short man feeling the same way and not wanting to date an extremely tall woman because it would make him feel emasculated. I would describe it as an unfortunate result of society's expectations, but I wouldn't call the guys or girls who feel that way assholes.

3. I don't think specifying an age range is weird at all. The idea that age 'shouldn't' matter is total bullshit. It matters a lot to most people and for completely practical reasons. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with people who genuinely don't care, I'm just saying that there really isn't anything that weird about wanting to date someone around your own age. I've dated people who are a few years younger than me and I've dated people who are a few years older, but does not wanting to date a 50 year old man (or an 18 year old man, for that matter) as a woman in her late 20s really make me equatable with someone who will only date white people? I don't see it.

Emily said...

I am a woman who was on match.com for about a year and met someone about three months ago. Since I've looked at a ton of men's profiles, here's what I think:

I did do #1 (generic adjectives) though I think I used three of them. I think it's fine (but not to go overboard) especially if you're confident. No one wants to date you if you're unattractive, mean, high-maintenance, etc. And no one wants to date you if you can't describe anything about your personality.

I agree with #2. Those activities are so annoying to list in one sentence.

I agree with #3 and like #2, shouldn't be just listed as something you like. Needs to be more descriptive.

#4 lots of guys do this too, I especially remember seeing "I like when girls are in jeans and a t-shirt but can also dress up"

#5 I don't think there's anything wrong with this.

#6 Yeah not descriptive, should elaborate.

#7 DEF think that's annoying. No one's going to want to date you if you're embarrassed to be on the site---so don't sign up for it, eh?

#8 I'm impartial. I think it's another way of describing yourself, but better if you replace "My friends say" with "I" because it makes you seem more confident.

#9 I have checked out women's profiles and men's profiles, and haven't seen this sentence TOO much BUT from my personal experience, if there are a couple of typos/grammar mistakes/etc. not a big deal. But I don't think it should be on anyone's profile. If someone can't articulate him/herself well, then don't talk to her/him. The more qualifications you list on your profile the less likely you'll get a response.

#10 HAHAHA. Ok I didn't specify a height, just that I like guys taller than me (I'm 5'6"). And I didn't say it was REQUIRED to be tall. But you'd be surprised how many 5'5" guys are online!

#11. Ugh I agree because this sickens me. If you want a Prince Charming, you'd have a big castle and lots of money and you're whole point in life would be to give birth to a son. (BTW there are a few times when guys would specify that they wanted to treat a girl like a "princess"---FYI just as gross).

#12 Tired of drama/games? So is everyone! Just frickin' deal with it.

#13 See #12--ditto.

#14 Again, I think that's bullshit.

#15. Yeah I'm not a fan of it. My favorite is "I like everything but country." Who doesn't like music?

#16 Lots of guys post this; could care either way.

#17 Impartial; see #16-ditto.

I agree with the writer but some of them are stupid, and many of these apply to dudes, FYI.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Specifying a racial preference indicates that you're racist. Period.

So, a black person can't have any preference for dating another black person?

Anonymous said...

holdfast said...

"It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about, as long as you’re passionate about something."

Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin were all pretty passionate guys, at least about something(s).
--------------
Well, and those three guys were very attractive to lots of women: power is an aphrodisiac.

Outlander said...

Permit me to do an impromptu informal survey... How many of you have actually tried online dating, and how successful were you?

I (20-something professional guy) had three awful experiences and swore off online dating. The vast majority of the women I managed to get a date with fell into one of these three categoies:

(i) Women who misrepresented themselves in their profiles or e-mails. The most common offender was the use of misleading photos (my favorite being one woman who was 50lb heavier than her pic suggested), but I had a few lie about their employment, and one about her marital status.

(ii) Women who were very shy or socially inappropriate. Most commonly, these women just sat silently and could not carry a conversation, even for 10 minutes. A few were socially inappropriate (very awkward body movements or mannerisms, failures to follow basic social customs, etc.)

(iii) Women who were disrespectful of my time. I had several women cancel/reschedule dates on me multiple times, usually within 12 hours of the date. Some would do this after making me agree to dates at highly irregular times (Sunday morning breakfast at 8:00 am was my personal favorite) to "accommodate" their schedules.

And before I get dumped on... A few disclaimers. (1) I'm sure men do this stuff, too. (2) I'm obviously not that great a catch or else I'd already be married, but I'm not overweight or physically unattractive. (3) I was very careful to always be courteous and accommodating to these women and to NOT misrepresent myself on my profile or elsewhere.

halojones-fan said...

Also: I'd rather see "I don't read many books" than see that the last book you read was The Kite Runner, Blink By Malcolm Gladwell, Harry Potter, or Twilight.

Shallow Hal said...

It's not the attraction to taller men that's strange, it's the explicit 6' requirement.

Unless you were raised by carnies, there's little chance that you can guess someone's height to that precision. My guess is that it's a status proxy.

Also online dating demolishes the accusation that men are more 'shallow' than women when choosing mates. Where men may have one or two criteria that could be regarded as shallow, women have dozens.

Their entire assessment of men is shallow. It has almost nothing to do with a man as a person and everything to do with their actual or reflected status.

The most amusing profiles are the ones where some women goes on and on about how she wants a sincere, deep, and meaningful romance - but then lists out a set of requirements that are entirely superficial.

John Althouse Cohen said...

So post a link to your profile so we can see a good one?

I don't think my girlfriend would be too happy about that.

DF said...

@ halojones-fan-

I can't believe you forgot "Eat, Pray, Love". I online date (searching for women) and see this book mentioned all the time. Seriously, women should just find a random book and read it just to stand out!

sauer38h said...

How about the line about having kissed a lot of frogs, hoping for a prince? Eeeeuwwww. Why this is supposed to be an attractive concept is beyond me.

But cheer up, all - this online stuff works, after a fashion. I've met some nice girls, plenty smart and presentable. Totally out of their minds, but nice girls nevertheless.

jl said...

@anonymous who suggested "Quirkology" thanks...

@DF - I mention that I read the WSJ, NY Times, The Economist, The Atlantic and political and technical blogs...

Apparently that makes me a bit highbrow for the average guy on these sites.

John Althouse Cohen said...

How about the line about having kissed a lot of frogs, hoping for a prince?

Yes! I should have put that under #11.

Summer Anne said...

John,

So, a black person can't have any preference for dating another black person?

They CAN, obviously, but do I think it's a form of racism? Sure. I'd equate it with a rich kid saying he only wants to date women who have a trust fund.

Look, being naturally inclined towards people with a similar background to yours might be a human impulse, but specifically ruling out people who don't seems to indicate a prejudice. In other words, I don't think a black person who has only dated black people -- probably because their social circle is fairly segregated, as are a lot of people's -- is prejudiced. But I think that a black person who would say on their online profile that they would never date a non-black person is. You disagree?

Anonymous said...

But you'd be surprised how many 5'5" guys are online!

No, I wouldn't! :)

Summer Anne said...

Incidentally, I'm not referring to simple preferences. I know a couple white men who are particularly attracted to asian women. Do I find it a little unnerving? I'll admit that I do. But if I think about it logically I'll usually come to the conclusion that it's not much different from preferring blondes, curvy women, boys with glasses, or whatever. The problem I have is when you completely rule out everyone who doesn't fit that mold. That seems bigoted.

John Althouse Cohen said...

OK, now that you've clarified it, I completely agree with you. Yes, a black person who has a flat rule of only dating other blacks is racist. But, as you said, if they're just general, flexible preferences that are admittedly superficial, like preferring blondes, I don't see the problem. Indeed, preferring blondes is a racial preference, since anyone who prefers blondes also necessarily prefers whites. (Ditto for preferring black hair or short people or tall people -- all these characteristics correlate to race.)

Meade said...

I don't like seeing the term racism being defined down.

Preferences for and prejudices toward racial characteristics can be more or less ugly, but I think the word "racism" should denote a belief that members of certain identifiable racial groups are clearly inferior to members of other racial groups and therefore do not deserve equal human rights. Racism is an ideological belief and a racist is a true believer in that ideology.

An excellent example of racism can be found in Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia" (Chapter 14).

John Althouse Cohen said...

Well, it's so malleable that I sometimes wonder if it even matters what the criteria are for tarring something as "racist." I don't think there's one perfect definition. If I had to define it, I wouldn't say that only an "ideology" can be racist. But for the purposes of this discussion, I don't think that's what really matters. What matters is: Is there anything wrong with having an absolute rule against dating people of a certain race? When I say it's "racist," I really just mean, "There's something wrong with it."

Cerebrate said...

1. Specifying a racial preference indicates that you're racist. Period.Oh, horsefeathers.

For doubtless fascinating psychological readings, my libido happens to be hardwired to prefer extremely pale people. Extremely pale. As in, 95% of Caucasians will never be desirable to me short of high-grade skin-bleaching pale. If I specify that preference, am I being racist against white-but-not-really people too, or am I just not wasting the damn time of everyone I'm incapable of being sexually attracted to by pretending otherwise?

Cerebrate said...

And even if we were to admit that that's racist (and presumably sizeism and agism don't matter), presumably we must also admit that expressing a preference to date only women (if you happen to be attracted to women) is for the same reason sexism, period.

And then there's sexual orientation...

kentuckyliz said...

Well I got to a certain age, where most or all of the men were divorced. And you quickly figure out why.

Fall in love and get married when you're young. It doesn't get any easier. Don't put it off.

My bro met his wife from the newspaper personal ads. Pre-internet, pre-photo. She placed a short ad. She had him at "like classical music and football." Although I tease her about faking an interest in football long enough to snag a man. Hey, it's a strategy. We're teaching her daughter that now.

Summer Anne said...

Cerebrate,

Equating only being attracted to "extremely pale white people" with only being attracted to women seems like a bit of a stretch. The former is, in my opinion, one of two things: racial bias or extreme fetishism. The latter is an unavoidable part of your physiology. As far as admitting it, I agree that if you have such a bias, it would be better to let potential partners know in advance. But I'm not going to tell you that I think that narrowing your range of potential partners based on such a specific and shallow precondition is something I would deem as non-prejudiced.

As far as "sizeism" goes, it's pretty well-documented that a lot of people do in fact have a problem with it, so I'm not sure why you're assuming it doesn't matter. Wanting to date someone who's healthy and active makes sense to me, specifying a waist to hip ratio or an exact weight is creepy and, yes, probably equatable to specifying a race.

I've already explained how I feel about "ageism". I've always hated that term when it is applied to stuff like this. It's totally unrelated to issues like size and race. There are plenty of things that change about people when they become older and there is no reason why someone shouldn't rule out partners who are the age of their parents, or vice-versa. Even if you're talking about someone older who wants to date someone much younger, I can see the reasoning and impulse behind that much clearer than I can see a (non-discriminatory) basis for ruling out a specific race.

Summer Anne said...

To elaborate on why ageism is different to me:

When you say you would "never" want to date someone outside of a certain race (or size, or height), I believe one of two things (or both) is going on. Either you genuinely can't imagine yourself ever being sexually or romantically attracted to someone outside of your ideal. IMO, this kind of fetishism belies subconscious prejudice. OR you are consciously prejudiced and you think that black people / big people / short people are less worthy / stupider / suck more.

But let's say you're my age (26) and you say you don't want to date someone over 50. One of those same things could be your motivation, in which case, yeah, you're prejudiced against old people. But your motivation could be any number of other things. Maybe you're a man and you want to have children with your partner. Perhaps you would feel outmatched in life experience and that is too much of an interpersonal difference (no, I don't think that different races will inherently or even often have the same level of interpersonal differences that people 25 years apart in age do) to overcome. Or you don't want your partner to likely die 30 years before you do. Or you're afraid (with valid reason) that your partner will be less able to 'perform' sexually than you are, especially as more time passes.

I'm not saying I think people should have an age requirement. I have what I'd call an age preference, but if an incredibly attractive, interesting, and kind man outside of my "standard age range" had come along when I was single, I would have given it a shot. But I just think there are reasons people who wouldn't consider it have that don't fall under any kind of prejudice.

Anonymous said...

It's truly remarkable how many of these comments are about which preferences and attitudes are acceptable and which ones aren't.

No wonder people don't feel safe to reveal anything true or real about themselves in their profiles -- except, of course, the ones who really are nothing but mindless, politically correct conformists...

Yet more proof that political correctness is a relentless destroyer of everything that is genuinely human -- starting with honesty and freedom.

Jamie said...

We know a couple who work for Lockheed-Martin, both engineers. The husband is also the facility's designated "95% male," and the wife the "50% female"; they get called on all the time to sit in chairs, reach for instrument panels, etc., etc. I see John's advice as geared toward the woman who doesn't want to be perceived as the "50% female," but who isn't interested in the "95% male": she wants to come across as the fascinating person she is (and aren't a lot of people genuinely fascinating, at least once you get to know them?) and to attract a man who is just as fascinating, but not over the line into weird.

For those women who want the 50% male (and I've known a few women with this preference), bring on the cliches: they'll work on the right people. For those who want the 5%/95%-or-more-extreme male (ditto), John's advice is probably unnecessary: those women are probably already writing about how they celebrated their confirmation with a nipple piercing and how the guy they're interested in has a purple-tipped French manicure and plays water polo nude. Or something.

Yehudit said...

I must be the only woman in the world who PREFERS short guys. I'm 5'0" - I don't want to crane my neck all the time & - without getting too graphic - sex is more enjoyable with someone not way out of proportion to me.

One would think I would be deluged with responses to my ads but no. I think short guys want to date taller women to prove they can do it. meanwhile the tall guys rave about "petite" women. I wouldn't rule out tall guys per se, but ... feeling like a child when walking or talking with someone just isn't sexy.

Anonymous said...

preferring not to date someone outside your own race is NOT racism. that's a bunch of straight up crap.

people are allowed to have their own preferences, period.

aside from physical attributes someone finds attractive, dating someone from another race usually means dating someone with a completely different CULTURE or LIFE VALUES.

some may find that exciting, and some may find that distressing. some may not care about that at all and simply want to date who they want to date.

and that has nothing to do with racism.

the word 'racism' has been misused to the point where the profound injustice the word describes has been lost.

shame on all who carelessly throw the word around.

Alistair Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Great blog post! As a 43 y o woman, married, I cracked up reading this. I have read those stupid postings with girlfriends and yes, they are as cliched as they seem. I think most people just aren't honest enough to tell the truth about who they are and what they want, mostly out of fear that others will judge them harshly. Truly a shame.

Alistair Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Althouse Cohen said...

Crap, ignore the second half of that last comment of mine, or mentally rewrite it with justified ageism in the relevant spot.

FYI, you're free to edit the comment yourself. All you have to do is copy and paste the part you like into a new comment, post the comment, then delete the old comment.

Alistair Young said...

Equating only being attracted to "extremely pale white people"I phrased that the way I did for a reason. While white people are more or less implied by the normal ranges of human skin tones, albinos of all races and ethnys could have also applied.

with only being attracted to women seems like a bit of a stretch. The former is, in my opinion, one of two things: racial bias or extreme fetishism. The latter is an unavoidable part of your physiology.Hey, if we're going to go down this road, then I must point out that researchers from Kinsey onwards have pointed out that very few people indeed are pure obligate heterosexuals or pure obligate homosexuals (the 'extreme fetishists' of this scenario).

Ergo, unless you're willing to indulge people's personal preferences - no different from any other preferences, here, for skin tone or hair color or the end at which they start eating a boiled egg, here - or cultural biases one way or the other, it's time to start telling people to get over their homophobia/heterophobia and take one for the team. Or, rather, not for the team.

As for your reasons for why an age preference is different...

...well, really, this is the boilerplate problem that always comes up in these scenarios/discussions. I can think of reasons for why my preference isn't a prejudice, therefore it's fine. But I can't - because (a) I'm not them and (b) my imagination won't stretch to it - think of reasons why their preference isn't a prejudice, and I am predisposed to think of it as one. Therefore it can't be anything else.

(This is, of course, itself a prejudice.)

Alistair Young said...

FYI, you're free to edit the comment yourself. All you have to do is copy and paste the part you like into a new comment, post the comment, then delete the old comment.Thanks. Missed the deletion button the first few times around, somehow.

Scott said...

My comment about age concerns widening your age range and saying that you're open to dating someone 15 or 20 years older or younger, not limiting your range.
If you say that you'll date someone of a specific race, so what? Are we to the point of enacting some anti-discrimination measures for social interaction now too?

Alistair Young said...

Are we to the point of enacting some anti-discrimination measures for social interaction now too?
Freedom of association's such a quaint old-fashioned notion, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

1 if they say 'no games' and that kind of thing, it means that they are criticizing and bitching and they haven't even met you yet.

2 if they say they love life and want to 'experience all it has to offer' it means that they are all about ME, ME, AND MORE ME! as in MEET MY NEEDS!

Summer Anne said...

Yet more proof that political correctness is a relentless destroyer of everything that is genuinely human -- starting with honesty and freedom.Look, I'm not evoking the law here. I'm not suggesting that people who state a racial preference be burned at the stake. I'm simply saying that I don't see how someone can claim that they don't have a racial bias (yes, I am defining 'racism' as having a bias against certain races -- whether you agree with that definition or not is really just semantics and not worth a separate argument) and then exclude all races but their own (or any specific race) from their pool of potential partners. As I've already stated, having a preference that you are drawn to naturally doesn't bother me, making a rule out of it -- "I would never, ever date a black person" -- is racist. I'm not trying to take away your freedoms, I'm just having an opinion about them.

aside from physical attributes someone finds attractive, dating someone from another race usually means dating someone with a completely different CULTURE or LIFE VALUES.

Bullshit. I've dated plenty of people from races other than my own and none of them had "completely different" cultures or "life values." Do you really think all non-white people have values that are the opposite of your own? You do realize that many people of different races are born in the USA and that schools are no longer segregated, right? You seem to be equating race directly with class or religion, which is, well, racist. Sorry, but it seems contradictory for you to state that people of different races have completely different values than your own and then take me to task for using the term racism.

If you say that you'll date someone of a specific race, so what? Are we to the point of enacting some anti-discrimination measures for social interaction now too?No, we're not. That's not what we're discussing. I'm talking about whether or not having a rule that you will only date within your race indicates a prejudice against other races. I believe it does. Do you actually disagree, or are you just saying that having a prejudice against certain races is okay? Those are two separate arguments.

--

As I mentioned before, I am not saying that having a preference is wrong. Since someone implied that my opinion is an assault on "honesty": more than half of my serious relationships (including my current one) have been with hispanic men because I usually find them particularly attractive. I don't have any guilt about that, but I would also never consider stating a racial requirement on an online dating profile.

Most people have a "type." What I am taking issue with -- or identifying as 'racist' (remember, with racism defined as having a racial prejudice) -- is having a firm rule against ever dating anyone of another race.

Doesn't anyone see the difference between a guy who is generally attracted to blonde women, and a guy who would never, ever date a brunette no matter how otherwise attractive or interesting they were? The former is a pretty normal, generic dude; while the latter seems like an oddity with a real prejudice. Shouldn't the same standard apply to having steadfast rules about race?

Summer Anne said...

While I'm thinking about it... if someone does in fact have a racial prejudice that precludes them from considering a date with anyone from another race, I do agree that they should mention it on their profile. In addition to not wasting the time of interesting people of your undesired races, you will also be warning people of your own race or 'chosen' race who would prefer not to date someone with such a strong bias.

Scott said...

I equate a woman who says she won't date a man who is shorter than her with a woman who says she won't date a guy of a certain race (or races) or age. None of those choices makes sense to me, but they are her choices to make.

The discriminating characteristic cannot be changed, a mature man can't grow taller, get younger or change his skin color.

I don't think that the woman should be lauded for her choice, but it is her choice to make.

If you share common interests and enjoy each other's company, then it shouldn't matter what color your skin is, what your ages are or who's taller.

Anonymous said...

Hey- cliche's are boring- but I really don't want to put my autobiography on the web. Frankly if you put anything really funny or edgy on your profile it would probably be misunderstood as "mean".

My current GF was online- her profile was a long list of all the sad commons that guys make- it was hilarious. I thought she would tear me one when I contacted her- but 4 months in- things are good.

Of course I'm 6'2"- so maybe she's just dating me for the height.

gabagool said...

Do women REALLY have faces?

Jenny said...

"open-minded" is DEFINITELY code for kinky/bisexual practices.

saneperson said...

As someone who met a woman over the Internet, married, and divorced, many many thoughts come to mind.

1. I disagree completely with all these comments about it being racist or otherwise prejudiced to specify physical attributes of the person you're looking for. I never specified a race that I was looking for and I don't think I'd care. But then, in fact I've never dated someone of a different race -- whether because things just never came together or because she wasn't interested in me. I've occassionally wondered: If I did, would I find that in fact there are important cultural differences that would present a problem? I think I'd have more in common with, for example, a black girl who grew up in a suburb like me and who has a technical job like me, than I would with a fellow white girl who grew up in a remote rural town and who works in a coal. But ... who knows, I haven't tried it.

Surely there's a big difference between saying, "I want to marry someone who is like myself in this and this and this way because I think that's necessary for us to truly share our lives together," and saying "I hate everyone different from me and think they should all be killed." There's a vast difference between saying "Personally I prefer Coke to Pepsi" and saying "Pepsi should be banned".

When you say it's okay to "prefer" a person of a certain race or height or hair color or whatever, but to make it an absolute rule is prejudice ... (a) What's the difference? In real racism, if I said "I think all Ruritanians are stupid and lazy" that would surely be racist. If instead I said, "I think most Ruritanians are stupid and lazy, but I suppose there might be a few exceptions", would that really be better? (b) How equivocating do you want somebody to be? Like, I'd prefer a woman younger than myself. Would I absolutely rule out an older woman? Of course not. But what could I write in a personal ad? Once you say you have a preference, anyone reading it knows that if they don't meet that preference, either you're making allowances, or some other trait outweighed it. I would think almost any preference someone stated in a personal ad would, in real life, be "negotiable" if the other person was highly desirable to them for some other reason.

saneperson said...

Hey, I'll laugh at cliches, too. But in fairness, how creative do you expect someone to be? It's all well and good to make fun of someone for being the ten millionth woman to say "I like romantic evenings." But lots of women do, in fact, want a man who will spend romantic evenings with them, and how many different ways are there to say that? There's a point at which any more creative would simply make it unclear what you're asking for.

saneperson said...

Oops, in my earlier post, when I said "fellow white girl", I meant, "a girl who is also white like myself", not that I am a girl looking for another girl. That just came out wrong.

projecthappy said...

This post is pretty hilarious because it is all entirely true. I've looked through match and plentyoffish and haven't found a single interesting profile. How many of these people really travel and hike? An honest profile would just list all their favorite TV shows and call it complete.

The messages I've received are pretty pitiful also. Things like just 'hi' or 'I like your pics'. Only one girl actually initiated a conversation by asking a question. I feel like maybe girls aren't used to the idea of initiating contact, but I'm sure guys are just as bad.

Anonymous said...

How about the "average" or "athletic" body type? And all her pictures basically head shots, you meet for a date and she looks like John Candy in drag.

Anonymous said...

RE:aside from physical attributes someone finds attractive, dating someone from another race usually means dating someone with a completely different CULTURE or LIFE VALUES.

Bullshit. I've dated plenty of people from races other than my own and none of them had "completely different" cultures or "life values." Do you really think all non-white people have values that are the opposite of your own? You do realize that many people of different races are born in the USA and that schools are no longer segregated, right? You seem to be equating race directly with class or religion, which is, well, racist. Sorry, but it seems contradictory for you to state that people of different races have completely different values than your own and then take me to task for using the term racism.

No, THAT'S bullshit. I, too, have dated, lived with, entertained etc.. people from many different cultures & races. My large and extended family might now be described as the UN Part 2. And people are still nearly as separated by their cultures and life values as ever they once were by force. To get together in any meaningful way means to embrace, adopt, compromise, tolerate or otherwise live with profound differences.

Not everyone wants to travel that difficult road.

You're a fool if you deny that truth.

Dewave said...

The idea that wanting to date someone of your race, or indeed, any specific race, is a heinously racist act, is utterly absurd.

This thread has gone a long way to convincing me the term 'racism' is dead, as it has been expanded beyond all reason to encompass essentially anything that makes anyone the least bit uncomfortable.

Racism has a pretty strict definition, pertaining to believing one race is better than another or that one's race makes you inferior, or that ones race determines one character or intelligence, etc

But this is not at all what is going on in preferences about races in dating sites. The person is expressing a preference.

He is saying nothing whatsoever about the value of one race over another, just that he personally, perfers A. Maybe his best friend pefers B and that's fine. Or his sister marries a C and he's fine with that.

Expressing a preference for blondes or brunettes doesn't mean you see all people with the 'wrong' haircolor as subhuman or worth less. It's just the way your personal preferences lie.

Essentially it seems some of you are trying to do away with personal preferences at all, saying that everyone must find everyone else equally attractive, with no room for individual choice.

Saying "I enjoy this, I do not enjoy that, even though others may" isn't morally questionable or wrong in the slightest.

Even if it was a hard and fast no-exceptions rule, which I would doubt very much it was, it wouldn't be enough to claim the person was racist.

That would be like saying someone open only to women was sexist. It's just rather silly.

Meade said...

Would it be racist of me to write, in an ad: Any member of a race believing itself to be superior to others need not apply?

Meade said...

Or is that always going to put a certain group at the bottom of the [acceptance] rate so they're never ever going to [get a date?]

Summer Anne said...

Surely there's a big difference between saying, "I want to marry someone who is like myself in this and this and this way because I think that's necessary for us to truly share our lives together," and saying "I hate everyone different from me and think they should all be killed."

There is a vast difference between those things. But the question I'm asking isn't whether or not specifying a racial requirement on your personal ad is the same as being a member of the KKK. I just want to know if it belies a racial prejudice, and I'm positing an opinion that it does. Why would someone think that race would be one of the factors that would dictate whether they could be happy spending their life with someone unless they were racist? I have yet to hear a practical, believable reason why someone would exclude certain races other than stereotypes they have regarding that race or this weird idea that it's perfectly normal and not reflective of a prejudice for someone to feel that they could never ever be sexually attracted to a member of another race. If you're a white heterosexual male and you don't find Halle Berry attractive, there's something wrong with your perception of beauty -- and it's probably prejudice!

That last bit was a joke.

Kind of.

Summer Anne said...

When you say it's okay to "prefer" a person of a certain race or height or hair color or whatever, but to make it an absolute rule is prejudice ... (a) What's the difference? In real racism, if I said "I think all Ruritanians are stupid and lazy" that would surely be racist. If instead I said, "I think most Ruritanians are stupid and lazy, but I suppose there might be a few exceptions", would that really be better?

Saying that you tend to be attracted to people who have a, b, and c is different from saying that you will only ever date people who have a, b, and c. The first category indicates that, like everyone else on the planet, there are things you tend to like more than others. The latter indicates that you have a real problem with people that don't have those qualities -- you consider them "undateable," no matter how many other good qualities they possess. That's the difference.


How equivocating do you want somebody to be? Like, I'd prefer a woman younger than myself. Would I absolutely rule out an older woman? Of course not. But what could I write in a personal ad? Once you say you have a preference, anyone reading it knows that if they don't meet that preference, either you're making allowances, or some other trait outweighed it. I would think almost any preference someone stated in a personal ad would, in real life, be "negotiable" if the other person was highly desirable to them for some other reason.

To me, if your preference is negotiable, I don't understand why you would state it as a rule in a personals ad. I don't see why you need to make it an issue at all unless the idea of dating someone outside of your race is really unfathomable to you, and being contacted by attractive, interested women of other races would be a waste of your time and theirs. And, like explained above, I don't see why you would feel that way unless you a. had something against them or b. could never imagine finding them attractive, either of which I'm calling racism.

Summer Anne said...

No, THAT'S bullshit. I, too, have dated, lived with, entertained etc.. people from many different cultures & races. My large and extended family might now be described as the UN Part 2. And people are still nearly as separated by their cultures and life values as ever they once were by force. To get together in any meaningful way means to embrace, adopt, compromise, tolerate or otherwise live with profound differences.

What? The 2nd UN? Why are you talking about people of different races like they're all from different countries? I'm honestly confused. I could not disagree more that two people of different races are automatically "profoundly different" when it comes to their "culture" or "life values." The biggest cultural difference between me and my hispanic boyfriend is that he likes soccer more than I do and his family celebrates Christmas after midnight on Christmas eve. I can't think of any real difference in our values that stems from race. He grew up in Houston, Texas and I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both of us were minorities in our elementary schools. Both of us had dads that worked and moms that didn't. Both of us had older brothers. Both of us liked baseball when we were little. He was a cub scout, I was a brownie. He visited his extended family in Guatemala and I visited mine in Tennessee. I really, honestly don't see how our racial difference has much bearing on our relationship at all other than that older people of a certain type look at us funny and older people of a certain other type think we're "cute."

I'm not saying that there aren't sometimes profound cultural and values differences between people of different races. Just like there are sometimes profound cultural and values differences between people of the same race.

I just very strongly disagree that race and 'culture and values' can always be correlated, and I think that's an outdated viewpoint. Maybe if everyone shared this idea that it's perfectly normal and acceptable to never want to date outside your own race this would be a truer notion, but that hasn't been the case in a long time.

Summer Anne said...

The idea that wanting to date someone of your race, or indeed, any specific race, is a heinously racist act, is utterly absurd.

I didn't use the word heinous. I defined racism as I was using it in this discussion as meaning 'indicative of a bias against certain races'. You can disagree with that definition if you want but that's really not the point.

Expressing a preference for blondes or brunettes doesn't mean you see all people with the 'wrong' haircolor as subhuman or worth less. It's just the way your personal preferences lie.

Really? If you were a single heterosexual, attractive, interesting brunette woman and you were interested in a single heterosexual man and he told you that the sole reason he wasn't interested in you was because of the color of your hair, you wouldn't feel slighted in the least? You wouldn't feel like he was saying that blonde women were better than you? You wouldn't call him an asshole later when talking about him? Really?

Essentially it seems some of you are trying to do away with personal preferences at all, saying that everyone must find everyone else equally attractive, with no room for individual choice.

That is not even close to what I am saying. Obviously you're going to find some individuals more attractive than others, for any number of reasons. Nothing wrong with that. I have a problem with people pretending that their preferences are arbitrary and just handed down to them from la-la land. You have preferences for a reason, particularly one so strong that you would feel the need to identify it in a personals ad -- like preferring non-smokers because you find cigarette smoke incredibly unsexy and it makes you cough, or preferring someone religious because you couldn't relate to an atheist and you want to raise your children with God. And I have yet to hear a single reasonable, normal, non-prejudiced reason why someone would only want to date people of a specific race.

Even if it was a hard and fast no-exceptions rule, which I would doubt very much it was, it wouldn't be enough to claim the person was racist.

Why would you doubt that it was? If someone goes to the trouble to state in their profile "I am only interested in white people," they don't really mean it? Why?

Okay. I feel like this discussion has reached a point where mostly I'm just repeating myself and you guys are repeating differently worded versions of the same argument.

One thing I do want to make clear is that I'm not identifying anyone who has a rule excluding certain races from their dating pool as a "heinous" bigot who should be shunned from society.

I think everyone has certain racial biases and expresses them in various ways. I just think that this is a prime example of that, and maybe something that people should think about the real reasons behind.

museumofoldjokes said...

You have spammers in your woodwork? Now that is an omnivorous metaphor

Anonymous said...

it's disingenuous to ignore racial and cultural differences.

the world is not homogenous, and the mixing of races or cultures is fraught with difficulty and with compromises people may not wish to make.

i never said it can't or shouldn't be done.

people have the right to prefer whom they prefer without someone automatically accusing them of 'racism'.

NOTE: whites are the least racist or prejudiced group of people around. and they have NEVER been any more racist or prejudiced than any other group.

i'm really sick of charges of 'racism' being leveled in response to every change of wind direction.

i stand by my earlier statement: RACISM IS A WORD THAT DESCRIBES A DEEP AND PROFOUND INJUSTICE and it's hardly appropriate to compare personal preferences in dating or marriage partners to 'racism'.

Summer Anne said...

Anonymous,

the world is not homogenous, and the mixing of races or cultures is fraught with difficulty and with compromises people may not wish to make.

The "mixing" of races is not inherently "fraught with difficulty" any more and if you really think it is, we're never going to agree. I'm about as white as white gets -- of Scottish and German descent, born in a small town in Arkansas to parents who grew up in segregated southern towns -- and three of my four 'serious' relationships have been with hispanic men and never -- never -- has race been any kind of issue in my relationship. At all.

NOTE: whites are the least racist or prejudiced group of people around. and they have NEVER been any more racist or prejudiced than any other group

This has to be one of the most willfully ignorant statements I've ever heard issued by someone who previously seemed reasonable and rational. We could have a real discussion of so-called "reverse racism" and I'm sure I would piss a lot of people off because I don't give the concept a lot of merit in any contextl, but claiming that white people have never been the primary oppressors of other races in America is equatable denying that the holocaust happened.

Alistair Young said...

claiming that white people have never been the primary oppressors of other races in America is equatable denying that the holocaust happened.

The problem with the popular narrative along those lines is that any attempt to make one race the bad guys involves carefully limiting the picture and cherry-picking places and times to avoid inconvenient bits.

White guys owned black slaves in the American South, for example. Which were sold to them by other black guys in Africa, who were happy enough to do it. Meanwhile, white guys in the British Royal Navy made an end of the slave trade. Black and white people worked together in the Civil Rights movement. This is a much more complex tangle than said popular narrative allows for, and I'm confining myself to a narrow chunk of space and time.

If you actually look at history from a really broad perspective, what you will find is that up until very recently, people of every race and ethny have enslaved, murdered, pillaged, and looted people of every other race and ethny, pretty much every time they thought they could get away with it.

I defy anyone to look at the broad sweep history and come up with any conclusion other than "Humans, in general, are utter bastards. Slowly improving."

(I would add, of course, that it also depends on whether you factor in ability to follow through. Personally, I don't think morality depends on competence, and thus decline to apologize just because my ancestors sucked less at being bastards than some other guys who would have done exactly the same thing if they'd invented the Maxim gun first.)

Alistair Young said...

claiming that white people have never been the primary oppressors of other races in America

Just to be extra clear, your claim of what he claimed isn't his claim. He said:

and they have NEVER been any more racist or prejudiced than any other group

Whites may have been more effective oppressors (by virtue of demographics and, well, leverage), but that doesn't necessarily imply that they were more racist. It could equally well simply mean that equivalently racist members of other races didn't have the numbers or leverage to translate the same amount of racism into action as effectively.

Janis said...

I realloy enjoyed reading this blog up to a point. All of the cliches mentioned apply to the profiles I read about men as well. If I have to read how one more guy wants a women who will jump on the back of his Harley and ride through the countryside... Well you know the rest.

The part where I found it uncomfortable was the debate on racism. Racism stems from hate.

Whereas having a preference for a tall man, a petite woman, red hair, full lips, long nails, or a passion for baseball is just a preference providing a little (or maybe a lot) of insight into the person's attractions.

Having a rule against not dating someone who does not have one of the stated preferences leaves the seeker with fewer choices, fewer dates, and ultimately dealing with the consequences of their decision. It is more a reflection on the condition of their heart than anything else. I do not consider it racism.

I had several stated preferences in my profile only to reflect what I know attracted me to someone - in the past. But I would welcome a date with any man once and ask my heart to be open to whatever came of it. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it was a big waste of time (for two people now) not just me.

Being 5'11" I CAN eyeball a man who is 6 feet in height, and I too feel more feminine around a man who is considerably taller than that. It isn't wrong, am I don't hate people who don't posses the preference I mentioned. For me, the benefit of online dating is to support effective use of our time. In order to make the application more effective requires we provide information so people can make better choices.

Is there anyone else who would like to return to discussing the positives and negatives of online dating profiles?

That's Smarmy said...

NOTE: whites are the least racist or prejudiced group of people around. and they have NEVER been any more racist or prejudiced than any other group.

Ethnocentrism, anthropomorphized? I never thought we'd meet. But since we have, I'd like to say that this little jibe of yours really (really) cracked me up.

Read some bloody history, why don't you.

sinkhustla said...
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Jeff said...

hy do you need to specify the type of person you prefer? It's fairly easy to ignore requests to exchange messages on these sites, right?

Narrowing your focus in your description is only going to drive away people who you might like that otherwise would have contacted you. Isn't the point of the dating site profile, in a sense, to market yourself to other people?

I don't think it hurts to specify the types of things that you might like in another person, but to require certain things just limits your chances of finding someone you'll really like for all their other traits.

Anonymous said...

Women these days use so many specific's on their profiles that they think it's attractive but actually it's such a turn off and makes women look so unattractive.

Like the #10 stating their specific height requirement and being so dead set on that requirement. Saying you will only go for men that are 6 feet tall and not budging. You see this on so many profiles it's like it said why limit yourself to the 15% of male population. No wonder so many women are single because they set way way way to many specifics that it actually turns men off and make you look like your just too much work.

The other one on the list #11 "Looking for Prince Charming / my knight in shining armor" you also see on a lot of profiles and is just like what it said your living in a fantasy world in other words La La land. It's just not reality and I think women get this perception from television and their magazines.

Like women want their men to be open to possibilities and men want their women to be as open this list and women's profiles just shows how many women are so closed minded and shallow!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Janis's comment in your commment you put in "In order to make the application more effective requires we provide information so people can make better choices."

Whoa Whoa Whoa wait are you using the word application as in like were appling for a job. Dating is to be fun not a JOB!! Application is a bad bad choice word and will turn anyone off. We have jobs and finding people to date/have serious relationships, marriage etc is not a job but the use of application makes dating sound so dreadful!!! Applications is for applying for jobs not applying for a date. Men and Women don't "apply" for dates we chat, get to know one another and go out. The word application should never EVER should be used in any way shape or form for dating, online dating etc..

Thai Girl said...

Having a standout personal add will likely give online daters avalanche of responses and I agree if an online dater want his or her dating a success he or she must avoid using cliche or worn out descriptions. Thanks for sharing this helpful tips.

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