Sometimes I get a comment so intriguing or interesting that I want to address it in a full post. This is such a case. On the thread, Don’t Drink and Date, visitor Greyface had this comment:
Unless she’s reading the advice on your website as well, and hiding her normal way of doing things in hopes she can reveal the true ‘her’ after the man has fallen in love.
I don’t understand this dance of mutual deception, wherein you advise people to edit themselves in a profile so as to appear more attractive to prospective dates. That path only leads to false expectations. There are plenty of women out there who are comfortable with the ubergeek man. I happen to be one of them, and the man I met on OkCupid didn’t edit his profile to make himself more date friendly.
The inherent problem is that you’re telling men to change themselves for the women they’re trying to meet, without acknowledging that the woman who will reject a man for his interests is probably not the ideal mate for said man.
Are the men following your advice being true to themselves, or are they forgetting that they aren’t the cookie cutter man, and should be looking for a woman who respects, loves, and eagerly embraces their differences?
Here are my thoughts…
Don’t Change Yourself, Change Your Look
I have never promoted changing yourself to be more attractive to a potential date. I agree that it is a horrible way to start a relationship.
However, many perfectly good geek men are awful writers. While I do edit their profiles, it is to show their best side. I’ll never turn a guy who occasionally makes his own fried chicken into Emeril Lagasse. I simply use my skills as a writer to make your best side shine so you have an easier time finding dates.
Here’s another example of looking better thanks to someone else’s skills: Haircuts.
I can’t cut my own hair. In fact, I failed Cutting in Kindergarten. I know what I want my hair to look like, but if I had to do it, it would be awful and lopsided. (Or, more likely, I would just let it grow super-long to avoid cutting it!) Thus, I hire someone with hair-cutting skills and compensate them for their time and expertise. It’s my best side forward thanks to someone else’s expertise.
Do I look better? Yes. Am I promoting a lie because I look different than I would if I did everything myself? Nope. Is it all that simple? No, it’s not. It’s definitely not an apples to apples match – more like oranges to tangerines.
Online vs. Traditional Meetings: Let’s See Your Iceberg
Before internet dating, people met through shared activities. They worked together, went to church together, golfed together. If they didn’t meet directly, they met through shared friends or acquaintances.
Potential matches started out from square one, knowing very little about each other. For example, my parents met while working in the same hospital. My mother worked in purchasing, deciphering doctors’ handwriting and buying their supplies. My father was a draftsman working on a construction project in the building. He would come into her office to use the copy machine.
In traditional dating, you start with the tip of the iceberg. Because you’re interested in each other, you try to show the best side of your iceberg. As you date them, you begin to see more and more of that iceberg. If it’s not your kind of frozen floating mass, you move on to another one.
Let’s move up into the current scene.
If there were online dating profiles that contained exactly what my parents knew about each other when they first began interacting, how likely do you think it would be that they would have gotten together?
“I’m very quiet and you’ll have to talk to me first and make the first move, otherwise I stick to myself. I work as a draftsman designing upgrades to a hospital.“
“I work in purchasing at the hospital. Doctors have really bad handwriting – can you read this? I’m alone in my office and like visitors.“
If that was “all she wrote“, most of us would move on unless they felt a strong physical attraction to the person in the picture. Ladies can attest that we get lots of introduction emails that tell us how pretty/sexy/beautiful/cute we are. We can also attest that some of the greatest guys do not have chiseled good looks. How do we decide which of these suitors to communicate with? We read their profiles!
In online dating, you’re expected – nearly required! - to show a lot more of your iceberg than just the tip if you want to be in the running for the affections of the ladies. If you’re going to be competitive with the other icebergs in the sea, you want to show your best side. If you’re not sure how to express that in words, then you work with someone – me! – to help you do that.
Have my parents eventually discovered things about each other that they don’t like? For sure! In every relationship, there has to be some amount of compromise. Even the best of friends argue every so often. What is important is that they get along at other levels and can communicate and resolve their problems.
At that point, we move into the same playing field as traditional dating – the real world. You’re flying solo. As she gets to know you in real life, if she digs your ‘berg, you can have Happy Feet! If not, it’s time to shuffle back to square one.