Online dating and personals

Ferns, over at Domme Chronicles, recently posted about writing a personal ad. And I was struck by something.

Her ad is a particularly well written, comic, standard ad. About two-thirds of the words concern the man she seeks, and about one-third describe herself.

On OKCupid, the organizing principle is that we want to date people who are as much like us as possible, and by answering lots and lots of questions, we can pre-select people whose answers to questions are the ones we want.

In some instances, this makes sense. I, for example, am probably not going to get along well (at least, not on a date whose ultimate goal is sex) with someone who’s not interested in open/poly/multiple relationships.

But in many, I think it’s muddy thinking.

The phenomena of desire, attraction, affection, love, are mysterious. And they’re not driven by formulaic compatibility. In fact, the truth is, we often (more often than not?) are attracted to people who fail some or other of our theretofore binary exclusions.

And so I’m skeptical of personals, and of online dating, because they structurally over-indulge our illusion that we know what we want, and underweight the unconscious, invisible attributes of desire.

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