Replies Often

When a man contacts me on OKCupid I often reply. I am, therefore, ranked as someone who “Replies Often.” I would put my percentages at about 98%. Those other 2%-ers don’t hear from me either because I’m distracted or busy or…just can’t think of anything nice (or smartass) to say. In other words, I can almost always think of something to say.

Which, you might think, is a good thing. It is, in fact, a bad thing. A VERY bad thing. It means I respond to men I don’t find appealing. Men who probably copied-and-pasted the same overture to me and about 100 other women. Men who are 25 years my senior. Or junior. And men who live in Alaska. Worst of all are the men who are encouraged by my reply, even if I say, as politely as possible, that I’m not interested.

Such a cyber-courtship unfolded today. After a number of “No, thank you”s, G. persevered. This time I was less polite. He wrote “Let’s talk” and gave me his number. I envisioned this exact two word directive sent off to dozens of unread profiles and replied, more curtly than in the past: “Not interested, sorry.” And then got roundly chastised. I (stupidly) backpedaled and suggested that if he was that interested, he was welcome to come visit me at work. Which he did. And he was as unappealing in person as he had been online. But he eyed me salaciously and told me, “You look goooood.” Uh, yeah, thanks. I think.

Let me tell you, gentlemen, that though women are almost always flattered to be flattered, basing your “interest” in us on looks alone reduces us to a slab of meat in a deli display. This particular gentleman made no references to my profile when he emailed me or when he showed up in person. He did, however, make reference to my photos. I felt like an ice cream sundae. Which, I will admit, would’ve been awesome if the ogling had been working both ways. But it wasn’t.

I had asked him, after his chastisement, “And you are interested in me, why? Our match percentages are pretty low. Do we have anything in common?” His reply gave no indication of what he saw in me. And aside from appearing to be pleased with how I looked in person, he didn’t share any of his reasons for choosing me when he sat across the bar from me, either. So when he leered, “Now that we’ve done the look-see thing, how about a real date?” I painfully, politely declined.

Now, you don’t need me to tell you that rejection is more easily taken through the ether. It is what makes online dating so appealing. Everyone gets to do the rejecting from the comfort of their own home. In person, ouch. So I wasn’t surprised that he left abruptly, before I had a chance to say goodbye. And I was even less surprised when he immediately sent me a flurry of rude emails, culminating with “You are not as hot as I had hoped.” Ah, good thing. How sad if he’d been rejected by someone really hot!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Abby, you callous cunt. The guy came all the way to your bar and you shut him down! Well, I tried, repeatedly, to dissuade him. Would it have been better if he’d spent $50 on dinner? I guess the next time I’m not interested, I’d best not respond. Soon I will be branded with the fearsome “Replies Selectively.” So if you don’t hear from me, you’ll know why!

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7 responses to “Replies Often

  1. You look gooood 🙂
    Hope you find a good man someday. I enjoyed reading this post, it made me smile.

  2. I answer women’s ads and don’t get responses very often. I just figure no response is my response. I’ve read some discussion about how people need to be kind and respectful and say something nice make the other person feel better. But do I really need to to hear what a nice guy I am but we’re just not right for each other? I know it’s bullshit, the real reason is I’m too short, fat, bald, broke, ugly, dumb, unaccomplished, or in some way undesirable or unattractive to that person so WTF? I would honestly prefer no response. I think most men will get it and move on to the next one.

    • Ya know, the one thing that would REALLY change the game would be a site where there are NO photos. NO physical description, no way to know what the person looks like. You’d have to go on how they write (if they do), what they say, how people write their emails to prospective dates… Sure, I’d love to meet a guy who I can look UP at but my ex-husband is shorter than me. So clearly height isn’t all THAT important to me. Having no photos at all would alleviate the problem of people posting old photos (I emailed a guy yesterday whose main photo is from 1988) as well as really awful ones (self portraits shot in the bathroom mirror). But if you think no response is better than a “No thank you,” I’ll take your advice (and my own) and become that “Replies Selectively” woman!

  3. There is a new thing on OCK “blind date”. Can’t see the person, or maybe you would prefer to be blind when you meet them. Not sure.

    I found that not responding doesn’t get the hopes up of someone who sees a reply and thinks yay! What am I to say – not interested, lose the mustache? Let someone reply who is truly interested as I will if someone interests me.

    “Silence speaks louder than words” or in the immortal words of my 9th grade Spanish teacher: En boca cerrada, no entran moscas. I believe it applies to the written word in the Cyber world too.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with Daniel and sandeeg. I will only message a woman on OKC if, besides there being attraction on my part, she’s in my height and age range and we also have multiple interests in common. So if a woman within those parameters hits me back with one of those “You seem like a great guy, but…” messages, it amounts to sticking the knife in and giving it a good twist.

    What really happened is that she had an “Ick!” reaction when seeing my photos, and that’s her prerogative; I can’t blame anyone for that, that’s just how they’re wired. I’m at peace with that, although not happy about it. But I don’t need to be reminded of it via a message that’s just a superficially sugar-coated rejection; better to just be silent, which can be quite eloquent without being hurtful.
    If the intention behind such “thanks but no thanks” messages is to be considerate and kind, they actually backfire and come across as taunting and cruel.

    What’s even worse are women who start a dialogue with me but have no intention of meeting in the real world, even after I’ve asked; That raises hopes and expectations just to dash them.

  5. Maybe this will help? I watched the video at the end of the article and was inspired to ignore just about everything in my OkStupid inbox:
    http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/31/amy-webb-data-a-love-story/

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