Why I Love the Internet

So I tweeted the other day:

Dear Single Christian Men in Asheville, Do y’all know people? ‘Cause none of them seem to know any of you?

And I received an email yesterday containing the following:

singlechristianmanasheville

Thanks, faithful reader, for this reminder that they are out there…even though the fact that he’s on an online dating site would indicate that he does not, in fact know anyone, and the sender later admitted to correcting jaredwright23’s spelling and grammar before sending him my way. Y’all know me so well.

Happy Birthday Amaris!

On account of it’s her birthday today, and in honor of that fact, I’d like to share with you all this email that my friend Amaris received long, long ago on this dating site that I think her mom signed her up for. Not sure about all the details there, but maybe one of them will enlighten us. Anyhoe, I think you’ll enjoy it. I sure have. It’s been in my inbox since June of last year, and I do not know how long she’d been enjoying before she let me in on the fun, but I think it’s high time you all got to meet RELSKYDADDY!! He writes:

Hi Sexy BabyDoll,

Yes You Are A Very Sexy Classy Beautiful Woman, and Your Profile Shows It!

I Think Southern Women, Are The Most Beautiful Classy Women, In The World!

Yes You Are A Very Beautiful Classy Woman, Doll!

I Would Love The Opportunity To Be Your Friend?

I Just Hope You Are For Real and Not A Game Player or Just A Teaser Period!

You Sound Like A Fun Sexy Classy Woman To Know and Be With?

Would Love To See More Photos, If Possible?

If You Would Like To Take The Chance, and Get To Know A Fun Sexy Classy Guy?

Let’s Chat? Send Me A Message?

You Got The Real Deal and No In Between, TRICK or TREAT, and You Be Too! Ha Ha Ha

SweetDreams BabyDoll

You Have:

” THE REAL TRUE AIRBORNE GANGSTER ”

SKYDADDY

I have so many things to say about this, I don’t even know where to start. I guess the most obvious thing is that every line is a self-contained title of some sort, with the capitalization of every word and the blatant refusal to type more than one sentence per line. I also like how everything is either an exclamation or a question. This guy does not mess around with simple imperative or assertive sentences. He’s all about him some interrogatives, though, even when they don’t seem to make much sense? They look like regular ol’ sentences? But then they have a question mark at the end? I’m Ron Burgundy?

My next favorite thing about this email is the words that are obviously his favorites: Classy, Beautiful, Sexy, Doll, Fun. He uses them to describe both her and himself, which to me shows that they are clearly a perfect match. Come to think of it, I’m not sure why she didn’t go for this guy.

Next up on my list of reasons I love RELSKYDADDY is his use of random and nonsensical word combinations:

  • Teaser Period – Ok. He’s proven his ability to use commas (albeit incorrectly) in the lines, “I Think Southern Women, Are The Most Beautiful Classy Women, In The World!” and “Would Love To See More Photos, If Possible?” But in this case, he doesn’t use one, which indicates to me that a Teaser Period means something totally different from a Teaser, Period. Now, I have my own ideas about what a Teaser Period might be, but I’m not sure that’s what RELSKYDADDY has in mind. Curious.
  • Man. At the end there, he totally loses it. I think this is my favorite line of all: “You Got The Real Deal and No In Between, TRICK or TREAT, and You Be Too! Ha Ha Ha” It’s just downright maniacal. I don’t think this message was composed anywhere near Halloween, so the TRICK or TREAT part is totally lost on me, not to mention the “and You Be Too!” part, which leads me to believe that the man fell in the middle of typing this line, hit his head, and couldn’t think straight enough to finish it out completely.

Here’s to you, REAL TRUE AIRBORNE GANGSTER. And here’s to you, Amaris. Happy birthday.

Time Flies When You’re Sleeping In

Y’all. I am going to be headed home in like three weeks. That is crazy. Carla and I were just talking this morning about it. I’ll be in London in a week and a half for Thanksgiving, and then a week and a half after I get back, I’ll be on a plane. INSANE!! I don’t know where the time has gone. Except I do. A very large chunk of it has gone to the sweet, sweet slumber of the unemployed. I’m telling you, friends, sleep is where it’s at. It reduces stress, helps you lose weight, helps you get better faster when you’re sick, and makes the days FLY by! I highly recommend it.

I also recommend karaoke, seeing places of historical significance on a regular basis, not participating in the online dating community, meeting new people, margaritas and public transit. I miss a lot of things from the U.S. (being able to call people whenever I want and talk for as long as I please, Chinese food, going to the movies, understanding everything), but driving is not one of them. Seriously. I like having the freedom a car affords in most cities in the U.S., but here, it’s just not all that necessary, and I prefer it that way. Plus, you can sleep on the bus if you want.

If I Had A Dating Site (Daidle deedle diddle deedle diddle diddy diddy dum)

Confession: I’ve been on at least five different dating websites since I moved to Raleigh. I only do them when they’re free, though, because I am both cheap and extremely skeptical that I will find anyone decent on them. And as we all know, this skepticism is not unfounded, and really, why would I want to pay for such an experience?

Match.com is just sort of overwhelming, and if you don’t get any takers, you get to feel rejected and worthless without ever leaving the house. Plenty of Fish is equally overwhelming, and although you’re guaranteed to receive plenty of emails, they are from generally illiterate gentleman who are possibly prone to methamphetamine abuse. JC Match…I’ll give you a minute to let that one sink in…JC Match might be just fine except for there are only about eight people on it in the entire state of North Carolina. And I don’t think there are any in Italy.

Now, eHarmony had one of its free communication weekends this holiday weekend, so of course I participated (cheap, remember?), and while I believe eHarmony to be far superior to the other sites in terms of security and manageability, it does have one major flaw: It makes almost everyone seem completely normal and promising. I mean really, you have to be totally off the charts to come off as even the slightest bit insane on eHarmony, and I honestly don’t know how they do it, but I think it has something to do with the kinds of questions they ask.

eHarmony asks things like, “What is the first thing people notice about you?” and “What do you like to do in your leisure time?” Even when you start going through the “guided communication” process, you still ask questions like, “How would you describe your personal style?”

But as much as I enjoy learning about people’s personal styles, I’ve found that most guys don’t know how to describe theirs. And furthermore, who cares? It’s fascinating to find about people for sure, and it’s even interesting to see how people go about describing themselves, but I’d rather get to know someone through their likes, dislikes and opinions. Obviously if you ask someone to describe him/herself on a dating site, you’re going to get the best, safest, most universally appealing description they can muster.

Ask someone to describe a typical workday, though, or to tell you what’s currently in their CD player, and you’ll get a different person altogether. So I think we should cut to the chase. The scientific matching…fine. Whatever. Keep it if you want, but if I ran my own dating site, I would want to know the answers to some more interesting questions.

  • So…why do YOU think you’re still single?
  • Do you live alone? Why/why not?
  • How many roommates have you had? How did you get along?
  • What’s in your CD player/on your playlist right now?
  • Please describe your curtains.
  • What are you top 5 favorite movies or books?
  • Do you subscribe to any magazines? If so, which one(s)?
  • Tell me about the best road trip you’ve ever taken.
  • What was the last thing you cooked (actually cooked, not microwaved)?
  • Tell me about someone in your family.
  • What do you think marriage should look like?

Ok. I think that within three emails with these questions and any subsequent conversation that comes out of them, I can determine whether or not I want to continue talking to a guy. So MY dating site would allow you to get right down to the business of asking questions. Then, after five emails (because maybe not everybody’s as fast as me), you would have a choice – to continue emailing or to close the match. After ten more emails, the site would just cut off your communication entirely, having determined that you’d either exchanged real email addresses by that point, or someone is stalking.

ALSO, everyone who wants to be on my dating site has to take a literacy test, and part of the terms of service would say that “txtspk” is not allowed. Anyone caught using “u” instead of “you” will be cast out immediately. And that’s the terminology we’ll use: “cast out.”

So there you have it. Anyone interested in my dating site can feel free to steal my getting-to-know-you questions. But until I get my patented email cut-off/cast-out system going, I can’t help you if you get any illiterate meth addicts.

License Plate Interpretation

I don’t remember how it started, but a while back, WhitneyJosh and I started texting each other whenever we saw interesting, weird, funny or puzzling vanity plates. It’s a fun game. And come to think of it, didn’t there use to be a game show where people deciphered license plate messages? I think there was. (Attention Research Team: Get on remembering what that show was.)

Anyhoe, I saw one today that said “GROSMART,” which I assume means “Grow Smart,” although I have no idea what that’s talking about. Do we mean “Get a good education throughout your youth and childhood” or “Be wise in your gardening techniques?”

Obviously, I prefer the third alternative – Gross Mart. I want to think that somewhere in Raleigh, there is a small, independent corner market that sells things like rotten garlic, fungus-y toenail clippings, and naked posters of Nick Nolte. And I want to believe that Gross Mart’s sole advertising campaign is this one, lone vanity plate.

And I want to go there whenever I find myself in need of a sweaty, overweight redneck in a ratty, old wife-beater singing “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” while rubbing his torso seductively. Oh wait. That’s what Plenty of Fish is for.

Online Dating Lesson #2: Writing a Sister Back

Ok. I’m not going to be upset with you if any of the following scenarios are true:

A) I wrote to you. You looked at my profile, and you were not interested, so you didn’t write me back.
B) I wrote to you an email containing horrendous grammar and spelling mistakes that made me look 100% incompetent as a human being. You didn’t write me back.
C) I wrote to you, but you don’t get on that dating site any more because no one on it is normal. You therefore never wrote me back.
D) I wrote to you, but you are currently dating someone and/or are not looking for anyone new right now. Thank you for not writing me back.

But if I write to you (true story), and you write me back stating that my email “made your day…no, week!” and then you proceed to further the conversation, and I respond to that with even more witty banter, and then I just randomly don’t hear from you any more?! Well that, friend, is unacceptable.

Write a sister back.

Online Dating Lesson #1: Making the Introduction

Well, since the Italian Lesson posts don’t seem to be very interesting to anyone (myself included), and the online dating posts are quite popular, and since I want to meet the needs of my readership, I’m going to hold off on the Italian Lessons until I start learning to say more entertaining things. So when, by necessity, I learn to say, “Back off, Guido, or I’ll punch you in the nuts,” I assure you that you will be the first to know.

Until then, however, let’s talk about guys.

I wrote an article that appeared in last month’s A Time to Love magazine about ways to improve your online dating profile. In it, I said, “First impressions are everything and, in the online dating world, you have a priceless opportunity to make a good one without worrying that you have a big chunk of spinach stuck in your teeth.” The article goes on to discuss how your profile can make a good impression and things you might be doing that actually make you look like an idiot or a total douche bag. It’s good stuff, and you should read it.

But what if you contact someone before they see your profile? In that case, the first message you send is what makes the first impression. This seems a fairly simple thing to me. You’ve read the other person’s profile, and you’ve found something likable or intriguing about him/her, so you decide to send a message. You’d think people would take this opportunity to comment on whatever it was they liked about you, ask you some questions for more information, maybe tell you a little about themselves, and give you something to respond to if you’d like to continue the conversation. But all too often, this is what I get (Note: These are actual copied/pasted messages I’ve received, subject lines and all):

Subject: Hello
Message:
Hello.

Or…

Subject: hello
Message:
how are you? how’s your day going?

Those putting forth slightly more effort might give me this:

Subject: hello
Message:
hey…. great profile. very nice pics!
how are you?

Or this…

Subject: hello
Message:
good lord you are absolutely gorgeous and i wanted to say hi. i was wondering if i could interest you in a very sweet loving guy?

Flattery will get you nowhere, friends. Well, maybe a little ways, but only if it’s accompanied by capitalization and a genuine interest in something other than my obvious and undeniable beauty.

Ok, so let me just break it down for you. A good introductory email to an online prospect will include:

  1. An introduction – At least a name. A signature at the bottom. Anything. Come on now.
  2. A reason why you chose to email me. This can be combined/one in the same with…
  3. A conversation starter – We’ll call it a “ping,” for it is to be followed by my “pong.” Now, don’t go thinking that “How are you?” is acceptable. Try to think of something more open-ended and interesting than that. Something that indicates you actually read and comprehended my profile, and that you might be able to hold an intelligent conversation with me about something contained therein.
  4. A level of writing skill comparable to that of a high school graduate. I don’t care how you do it. Pay a ghost writer for all I care, but don’t expect a response from me without it.

Join us next week for “Online Dating Lesson #2: Writin’ a Sister Back.”

Personally, I like my milk pan-fried.

I am honestly concerned, friends, with what seems to be a growing epidemic among single men. I used to think it was just good, old-fashioned laziness at best or dyslexia at worst, but there seriously can’t be that many lazy and/or dyslexic single men out there. Is it just because I teach and write English for a living that they are attracted to me like so many insects to our front stoop? Is the problem so big that the odds simply dictate that 97% of the emails I get from dudes on dating sites are riddled with grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors? Or are these men still single, perhaps, because they blatantly ignore other things in life in the same way they disregard standard English conventions? I do not know. But behold this portion of one message I received recently, copied and pasted, not altered in any way:

Ok i wana talk to you! 😉 You have my attention! LOL I just love your sarcasm!! I also really like that your vegan! 🙂 I am vegetarian myself. Been that way for 38 (almost 39 in September) years. I would do better as a vegan myself. I dont do raw milk but i do eat some eggs and chease. MMM chease! LOL damn chease! Anyway, ALL veggies/vegans should stick together! 🙂

Now be honest. Is it too picky of me to require more than this from a native English speaker? Am I being elitist or persnickety when I say I could never date this man? Nevermind the fact that he is clearly too old for me, having been a vegetarian for nearly 39 years. And know that I’m not passing judgment on him as a person, just as a potential husband. Tell me, internet, should I write him back or not?

Then tell me this: MY VEGAN WHAT?? MYYY VEEEEGAAAANNNN WHAAAAAAAT??????

New Requirements for a Husband

I still like these requirements for my future husband, but some days, when I get really tired of the whole thing, and I just want to get married and be done with all the meeting and greeting and making nice and pretty, I pare it way down, reducing the requirements to the following:

  • loves Jesus and wants to love me like He does until death do us part
  • has a personality that complements mine
  • is moderately attractive to me
  • hates Adam Lambert

Ok FINE, maybe the last one isn’t absolutely necessary. Or maybe it is. If you think this is you (and especially if you think this is you), please send a 200-word essay to onwardhoe@gmail.com explaining why.

wanted: research assistant

At the end of class today, we had about five minutes with nothing to do because we’d finished one thing and didn’t really have time to start on the next thing. When this happens, I either play a game or open up the floor for general questions. Well, today one of the students had an American culture question. He wanted to know why American women lift up one foot when kissing or hugging their beau. Puzzled, I asked him, “Where did you see that happen?” “In the movies,” he replied predictably.

“Ah. I see,” said I. “I don’t think anyone does that in real life, but the next time I kiss somebody, I’ll try it, and if it happens this semester, I’ll let you know how it goes.”

Well, they just thought this was a hoot and made me promise not to forget. So I gave them permission to ask me every Friday if I’d tried it that week. They said it was a deal, but they thought it would be better to ask on Monday, you know, what with the weekend just finishing and all. I guess they think I have a greater chance of getting a little action on the weekends than during the week. Clearly they are unfamiliar with my love life.