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!