Life is settling a bit, another book written, the next one in outline stages (Phillip, The Vegetarian Zombie...it's a children's book!), I love my job, my apartment, my pets (Ruby, the paranoid cat and her arch nemesis, Mona, the Wonderdog). So I'm content, mostly. But I am missing something. Someone, actually. Seeing the lovely vid of the Skepchick wedding really hammered home that the hole in my life is lack of romance; a cute, smart guy to call "my boyfriend," someone to hold my hand at the tattoo parlor.
So I'm doing the internet dating thing. I find it to be mostly hilarious, sometimes painful, and rarely fruitful. I'm careful to be honest with a full length recent pic, untouched by photoshop. The service I chose allows one to sort and be sorted by body type, race, age, gender, and location. Unfortunately, the service automatically adds one's astrological sign to individual profiles. Aside from that, I describe my firm skeptic beliefs, flaws, good qualities, and interests pretty concisely in my profile, figuring this is the best way for me to filter and be filtered. Hopefully that the net cast will help ensure that responses to my ad are men who are attracted to me physically and brainily (brainily? really?), and can tolerate the quirks I think could be a turnoff.
I find myself disturbed by the throngs of mooks who believe that ALLCAPS PROFILES ARE AWSOME AND BY THE WAY LOL IS ACCEPTABLE PUNCTUATION LOL that one can be accosted by on any dating site. They're annoying. They're dating site trolls who offer little to nil information in their profiles, that includes their email address because they're too cheap to pay for the actual service that allows one to privately email through their website. They contact me with reckless abandon. "YOUR HOT PLZ EMAIL ME." This is par for the course. I just ignore it, though I really want to reply, "The thing is, I'm really quite smart, and the picture of you flexing your guns is pretty, but I'm seriously over it. Perhaps you should read more and work out less." This is guaranteed to encourage a response somewhere in between, "YR FAT!" or "YOUR A FAT BITCH LOL!" So, you know, it's better to just trash it.
Like most dating sites, one can also select from a dropdown list of religions (or choose atheist or agnostic) and political beliefs, but this actually tells me very little about the person. I think they should have a dropdown list of favorite superheroes, and I can then filter out all the Green Lantern/Aquaman fans. The choices are pretty much as follows:
Christian: Are you a capital "C" Christian, or a lower case "c" christian? A capital C can range from Fundie kooks who approach me in the Coffee Bean parking lot and ask me if I've accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior to the Catholic families in my neighborhood who walked the walk in the Love Thy Neighbor department, doubting anyone who claimed to know god's scorecard. A lower case "c" christian may visit church twice, once as a barely sentient being for their baptism, and again as a cadaver for their funeral. A lower case "c" might also say things like, "My mom told me were Lutherans, once, I think that means we can get divorced or something."
I can work with a lower case "c." Most of my friends are lower case c's, and I love them to bits. A capital C might leave me lingering as a vegetable on life support for years or trust our financial portfolio to a fellow C, and swear our retirement is in God's Hands. No Cs for me.
Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists don't proselytize, so the scale is trickier to navigate, because they seem less likely to bust out with the God Talk in a first email. So I'll stick with upper and lower cases in all religions to describe a general sense of the woo I find tolerant and tolerable. To me, a lower case is like love handles, a crooked front tooth, a Yankees Fan, or someone who snores when it gets too hot outside. It's in no way a deal-breaker, it's just a quirk.
Spiritual But Not Religious: This is super sketchy. Could be a Scientologist, an herbalist, and/or an exorcist. Could be someone who likes the idea of life after death, but doesn't subscribe to any major religion due to a fondness for bacon or masturbation (not at the same time...though, stranger fetishes exist).
Prefer Not to Say/Other: Really? Come out of the closet, atheists and agnostics. Show some of that backbone that has evolved over millions of years only to be wasted by someone who obviously would prefer to be spineless. SHOW YOURSELF. Or maybe you're a Moonie or Scientologist or something. In which case, come out of the closet and WARN A GIRL. You can't spring that shit on someone over tapas.
This category also includes people who believe in the healing power of crystals, and people who have a deep sense of wonder about the universe and describe it as spiritual without any woo intentions. I need more adjectives. Spiritual But Not Religious is a crappy descriptor.
I wish there was a skeptic site with a list of questions that would help filter out the woo people and keep the WOO HOO! people.
I figure you could front load a quiz, and anyone scoring 80% or lower would automatically be redirected to eHarmony. I have a list of questions I think would work well. I mean, it wouldn't necessarily filter out the Nice Guys, Rules Girls, or the general women-hating/men-hating assholes that can be found wandering the earth in a haze of stupid, (yes, even skeptics can be total jerks), but I think it would at least cast out most of the mooks, woo-believers, and hyper-religious nutballs. And that would be a great start! The pond would be smaller, but the quality of the catch would be vastly better, dontcha think?
I'd choose questions that pointed to basic logic, or that one could look up. It doesn't take a college diploma to be well-read, kind, intellectually curious, and bright. I'd rather date a mechanic who adores Vonnegut than a PhD who doesn't know that Han shot first. Of course, that's just me and my taste!
It'd go something like this, off the top of my head, in no particular order:
a) T-Rex is about to crush a house!
b) T-Rex is about to crush the Empire State Building!
c) T-Rex is about to crush those annoying kids from Jurassic Park! That'll teach you to play with the flashlight!
d) YOUR FAT LOL!
(2) Richard Dawkins is:
a) Wasn't he that guy on Family Feud who used to mack on the wives and daughters in every. freakin. episode and it was SO CREEPY?
b) An evolutionary biologist.
c) That guy in the wheelchair who talks like a robot.
d) I LIKE LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH (ed. note: dude lives in Death Valley) AND NO DRAMA LOL
(3) At a job interview, you are asked to take a Briggs-Myers test. Your response is...
a) I already know you're an ESTJ, OMG I HOPE MY BOSS ISN'T AN INFP!
b) Check the box on the unemployment form and go apply someplace else.
c) I LIKE A WOMAN WHO NOW HOW TO TREAT HER MAN
(4) OUCH! You have a killer headache. How will you treat it?
a) HEAD ON! APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!
b) I dunno. Maybe I'm dehydrated. I'll have some water, maybe take an aspirin (ibuprofin, whatever), and take a nap if I can.
c) Mercury must be in retrograde, again.
d) Have pix, will send if i like u
(5) Girls can't do math.
c) CAN WE MEET PLZ EMAIL I DON'T HAVE AN ACCOUNT ON THIS THING
(6) A straw man is:
a) The one who needed a brain in the Wizard of Oz
b) A logical fallacy in which one purposefully misrepresents his/her opponent's position
c) Not to brag, but I'm 8 inches. What's your name, gorgeous?
And so on, like that. What sort of questions do you think would best filter out the woo and the mooks? I'm sure there are female mooks, too, but I don't cross paths with them in dating-land, so I'm not exactly sure what sort of stupid shit they say that's comparable. Men? Any suggestions?