I think I need help with this one friends:
A friend of mine told me he contacted a woman on some dating website. She was attractive and only interested in white men so he jumped at the chance. Unfortunately though, before she agreed to meet him, she asked if he’d send her a picture of his teeth. He asked his friends for advice. What to do?
Many of our friends on Facebook chimed in, telling him the girl s0unded like a prudent “keeper” and that he ought to pony up his fangs ASAP. I, as is usually the case, disagreed with everyone and suggested he forget the girl entirely. “You don’t need superficial relationships in your life.”
The responses to my innocent opinion were quick and savage. I don’t have a woman, so apparently, according to the general wisdom, I ought not have any say in the discussion. Don’t listen to that Scott Terry guy, he’s not married!
Ok. They’ve got me there, but consider a bit of hard-earned philosophy:
I’m convinced we can’t know a person from their online presence alone – at least, we can’t get an idea of what someone is really like that way. There’s something about face to face meetings the internet will never be able to replicate; something about body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and the like. Subtle aspects of a person’s identity are communicated and observed by those in the room and such things can’t be easily transmitted through mail. Usually we’re not even aware we notice them or that we present them to others.
Dating websites then, at lest in my limited experience, abstract people from their “face to face” or “real life” context and present them in neat little gnostic packages for leisurely perusal. It’s like a superstore for mates. And the girl my buddy is tangled up with sounds like she’s shopping for her perfect little Ken doll.
How can she be of a serious mind? How can she possibly be a good helpmate for him? She’s interested in an abstracted notion of a man and couldn’t care less about the man behind the profile. Even if it’s an honorable website, one where people genuinely want relationships instead of quick modernist trysts, it’s still a process of abstraction and a denial of basic humanity.
What say you, readers?
Should my friend show the girl his teeth?
I’ve anticipated a few questions:
1. Why are you only picking on the poor girl here?
Well, I’m giving my friend the benefit of the doubt because he’s my friend. I assume he has only the best of intentions and wouldn’t want to inadvertently abstract the poor girl from her life context.
2. Limited experience with dating websites? Come now Shotgun…be honest!
Back in my Navy days, we had to stand 12 hour security watches. If we lucked out and got assigned the duty-desk, we’d have access to a computer all night. To keep from falling asleep (and yes, because I was a little curious), I went to e-harmony’s website and spent the thirty minutes or so answering all their personality profile questions. I hit enter and the logarithm churned and crank, took a long time, and finally gave me a message saying something like: “…we’re sorry, according to our analysis, you’re one of the rare individuals who will never find a good match on e-harmony.”
…imagine my feelings at that point.
Now, I’ve since re-taken the test if only to see if I could replicate the results. They must have tweaked their analytics or either I’ve matured in how I answered the questions, but whatever the case, I passed with flying colors. I never went beyond that step though or looked through their database to see who all my “matches” were.
I don’t need some team of lab-coat-wearing pagans to tell me if I’m allowed to love a woman or not.