Waterfalls and Pitfalls in Profiles – more on Online Dating

Waterfalls and Pitfalls in Profiles
Once you start shopping around on a dating site and reading profiles, you start to draw conclusions. Such as: they all sound the same. I don’t shop the male profiles, so I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty confident it’s an equivalent scenario for you gals. Women, they like long walks on a beach, candlelit dinners at a fine restaurant, snuggling by firelight, and a man who is a complete gentleman. Well of course. But no guy is going to get excited about a woman who writes that. Especially when there are so many profiles that say exactly the same thing. So the guy is going to look at the pictures (which I’ve already discussed), or look for profiles that are different.

The next step up—the “my friends tell me I’m interesting” profile. These are all the same too, the adjectives change but the story’s the same. “People tell me I’m interesting, fun, easygoing, lighthearted, and energetic.” Okay. That’s what they tell you, so you are like a million other women, but what do you think you are?

Move up to the ones who tell you. This level has potential. These ladies make no qualms about other people. They tell us who they are. “I’m fun, exciting, love a good meal and interesting conversation. I like to play sports, but hate watching football. Breakfast is my favorite meal, especially with someone I’m just getting to know. (Wink.)” I vote for these ladies. A cliche is a cliche is a cliche. But who can resist a pornographic cliche? Still, we’re not done. We still have to talk about the profiles that go over the top. Way over.

Usually these are women around my age. They’ve been married; they’ve loved and lost; they’ve had kids, they’ve raised families; and they’ve had time to find themselves. Yes, and in profiles, they’ve decided for some reason, they want to talk about all the great risk-taking adventures they’ve had. Cliff-jumping in Aruba, white-water rafting in South America, scuba diving in the shark infested waters of the Australian Great Barrier reef, underground cave tubing in Iran, riding a barrel over Victoria Falls, and of course the old standby, not just sky-diving but for the really risk-taking, BASE jumping, preferably off some enormous cliff in Montana or Idaho in a flying wingsuit, or into a huge open-mouthed cavern in Central America through an enormous cloud of giant fruit bats, like an episode of Nature. I even had one “match” with a photo of herself standing on the wing of a small plane in a flightsuit a-la-Amelia Earhart, with the statement that she really wanted a guy with a pilot’s license, so they could fly off together-because life on earth with gravity-bound mortals is so droll sometimes. I had a -vision of a couple of big sea birds, winging out over the ocean with no land visible on the horizon. Have fun kids.

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What’s wrong with this picture? I’m sorry. I don’t find the idea of dating a female Indiana Jones particularly romantic or attractive. What are these women saying? To me it sounds like, “Hey! I’m different. I’m no home body. You’re not gonna tie me down! I’m wild and free! I risk my life and do exciting things and I don’t need a man to do them with!!” Which is great if you’re not a man. The trouble here is that men generally take serious risk-taking adventures either alone, or with other men. There’s the whole manly tradition of the man bringing home the mastodon meat after a long dangerous hunt, of returning from war or some other fantastic journey (think Odysseus). We want to go do stuff, and then come home to the hearth and hero’s welcome. I know Penelope had a helluva time without that lunkhead around for twenty years, but I’m just sayin’. How many men want to play a good game of tackle football with their wives? How many guys think, “Shit, I’m gonna see if I can climb Everest without killing myself or getting any limbs amputated from frostbite, and I’d like you to come along and risk your youth and beauty with me!!”

This idea that your potential spouse/mate/partner is going to not only find your adventures attractive, but is going to want to share them with you, ignores or overlooks the truth that much of life, and many of its great moments, are solo excursions. As a man, I know it is true for me. I propose naively that this is also true for women. I LOVE to share new things with someone I care about, but I also know there is an unfathomable and exquisite pleasure from risk-taking adventures that derives from the unique sense of accomplishment that is NEVER a team accomplishment. Whether it’s rappelling down a cliff face you have climbed, racing a dirt bike up the sandy loam of a desert arroyo, or jumping into a glacier fed pool from the top of a waterfall, this is something you do alone, because even if you are with friends or lovers, even if you are holding hands when you jump, when you get to the bottom you don’t say, “Hey, I could never have done it without you!!” It is YOU that does it. And that’s at the heart of these adventures, probably because they remind us of the ultimate and irrevocably solo adventure, death.

I can see having a relationship, being close to someone, and having common interests and sharing new and exciting experiences. But like great sex, these adventures would be the product of the relationship, not the reason for it. I love Paris; who wouldn’t? I love nature. Let’s explore together when we know we actually like each other, have some chemistry, a common understanding, enjoy being with each other, and can carry a conversation. If we can have those things together, the remaining catalog of life’s adventures could be endless.

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