Buckle up, this is probably the first post about online dating you'll read that starts with a primer on apologetic philosophy. Namely, I'm talking about Pascal's Wager, the best-known argument of 17th-century philosopher Blaise Pascal. At its core, the idea is that humans might as well believe in God, because if he does exist and they have proceeded accordingly, they will go to heaven. Losses of a few earthly pleasures are minuscule compared with the horrors of fire and brimstone if Hell indeed burns below us. But lottery copywriters perhaps summed up the idea best: You can't win it if you're not in it.
For single folks in the digital age, the prospect of online dating presents a strikingly similar situation. Do I want to take a chance, stomach some embarrassment and have a profile up in a couple of places, where I might encounter my life partner, or is it more important to me to guard my (perhaps too ample) pride, do nothing, and very possibly end up alone? Once again, you can't win it if you're not in it.
Since becoming single a bit less than a year ago after having been with the same person my entire adult life, I took a few months to recover, then bit the bullet and signed up. Still, my swipes right are few and far between. Below, a catalog of just some of the reasons that I swipe left.
You open by describing yourself as "simple," "down-to-earth" or "normal."
Even you know you're boring.
You’re holding a fish or other slain animal in your profile picture.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but whether a fish is a symbol or not, your “rugged masculinity” isn’t turning me on. The inverse—multiple pictures with your mother or grandmother—isn’t that hot, either.
You’re wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.
A girlfriend made you do this. She was clearly lame and you’re clearly not over her.
You’re wearing a cowboy hat.
I’m pretty sure I can tell if this is ironic or not. And either way, if this is one of the pictures you’re proudest of, we probably won’t get along. (See also: “You list your favorite musicians as George Strait and Jason Aldean.”)
All of your photos are action shots.
What's the word for the male equivalent of a butterface?
Your profile is all photos, no info.
You aren’t attractive enough to get away with that, so clearly you’re really just half-assing this whole endeavor.
You describe how funny or intelligent you are.
This is essentially the opposite of proof.
Possibly accompanying the previous category. It would never work, dude. We come from two different worlds.
Your interests include “the outdoors.”
Also, music, food and breathing. Hey, cool! We have so much in common!
I can’t tell which one you are in all of the group photos.
Oh, wait! You’re the one who knows he’s unattractive!
You say your favorite TV show is any or all of USA’s “Characters Welcome” line-up.
You have bad taste.
You say your favorite TV show is Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or any other program that every male of reproductive age likes.
You have no taste. Or you’re really just watching hentai all day and trying (flimsily) to cover it up.
Favorite films include "Netflix."
Hentai again, or possibly YouPorn.
All of your pictures are of your seven-year-old daughter.
Thanks for being honest that you’re a father. Hopefully this isn’t a Pretty Baby situation. Either way, I’m moving along. And possibly calling Child Protective Services.
Education listed as “School of Hard Knocks.”
You and I are both aware that this means jail. Or getting beaten out of a gang. Or, most likely, getting beaten out of a gang in jail.
Your photos are all digital drawings of guns and skulls or screenshots from V for Vendetta.
You’re still in jail.
You’re a woman.
Apparently, filling in those I am _____, seeking ______ boxes is more difficult for some people than for others. Once you figure this out, you'll probably get along with many or all of the gentlemen above!