Shopping for men

Continued from The intricate complications of dating apps

Alexandra began her online dating app experiment by viewing the recommended flavor of the day.

The setup intrigued her.

First was the main profile photo of a so-called top pick. It featured his name and city of residence.

Alexandra stared at the photo and determined his name was probably authentic. A 54 year old guy named Brad sounded accurate. If he had been named Jayden or Aiden or Kalen, she would have dismissed authenticity. Those are names of millennials, she assumed.

The age of the man in her phone looked accurate too but could probably go either way; a bit older, a bit younger.

Alexandra scrolled down and was subjected to his list of descriptions. Height, education, job, relationship status, offspring status, whether he’s a smoker, pets, religion, drinking habits etc.

She took most of those with a grain of salt. He said he was a moderate drinker. Would she describe herself as a moderate drinker? What is moderate? Two times per week, or one drink per day? That’s a cultural thing anyway, Alexandra pondered. Many Portuguese and Italian friends of hers had parents who drank wine with lunch and dinner and consider this normal behavior. It’s subjective, she decided and continued to read.

Below that was a summary, one he typed himself, a few more pictures, and some algorithmic interests which you can click on. Examples were coffee shops, outdoors, night clubs, cooking etc.

Alexandra stared at the man in her phone and wondered about him. Was this his first time using a dating app? It says he’s divorced, but how he described himself indicated he has a well-rounded, easy-going personality. What would have caused his divorce?

Alexandra turned her attention onto her own situation. What led to her own relationship’s demise? Could she pinpoint one specific cause?

She pondered her own possibilities and concluded that relationships were complicated. Everyone has a story to tell, she thought.

When she reached the bottom of her scrolling she returned back to the top and was prompted to like or message him.

She did nothing.

Instead, she clicked the search symbol and was immediately taken to the results page.

Alexandra stared at her phone in disbelief: 2000 men in her vicinity within her chosen age and height categories. The categories were displayed at the top followed by a <more> link that would allow her to adjust the choices. She clicked the <more> link and adjusted her desired age in men to her own at 50 and changed the height to two inches above hers or taller. The rest, she kept open.

Next, she started to look at the pictures in more detail.

“Holy crap,” she said out loud after a minute. The profile picture of a man in the second row was uploaded sideways. Two men in the next rows took selfies in a bathroom; the first one in front of a shower curtain, the other one had a toilet in the background with the seat up.

What the fuck, Alexandra thought.

One guy who was clearly a coach of some sort featured his face with a whistle in his mouth. It was…weird.

Alexandra was stunned. She tried to determine if she was surprised. Thinking back to the men and boys in her life, did they take selfies? What did they look like? She made a mental note to check with her teenagers, some of the men at work, and maybe she’ll even ask her almost ex spouse. Because this first impression left her feeling just a little bit, what’s the word, disoriented?

Nevertheless, Alexandra continued to scroll. This is just an experiment, she reminded herself.

With a few exceptions, most of the men looked relatively normal. But after a while she discovered some other strange profiles. Some of the men were, it seemed to her, completely clueless on how to attract women in a dating app.

For instance, there was a guy who showed off a giant fish on a hook. That was his promotional photo, the first selfie that came up on his profile. Alexandra came to discover that showcasing fish on a dock was a thing for many men in dating apps.

Alexandra didn’t mind fishing, her own kids fished, but why would an adult man of a certain age who was looking for female companionship use a fishing picture as a profile picture?

Again, Alexandra shook her head.

Another guy took a photo in the semi-dark. The shadows crept across his face making it difficult to see his features. He would have been smarter to go without a photo, Alexandra thought.

Many men took pictures from below, likely holding their phone in their lap, looking down and snapping the picture. Hadn’t anyone ever told them to aim the camera either directly in front of their face, or angled slightly from above? The below shots were really off-putting, Alexandra thought, with people’s facial featured all scrunched together.

Another guy squinted so hard it looked like he was in a bad mood. He picked that photo as his primary selfie…did he think he would attract a woman this way?

Not me, Alexandra smiled, shaking her head again.

As she continued her search she started to feel both sorry for them, and sorry for herself. The entire ten minute online dating adventure so far made her feel sad and disillusioned.

So many people looking for love, or at least companionship, she thought, thinking of her own situation. Was a boring, dull life without spark and drama really so bad, in the grand scheme of things? Was she making a mistake, separating herself from a stagnant life?

Alexandra began to second-guess her decision to load the app while staring at the men displayed on her screen.

I’ll sleep on it, she decided, when suddenly, there was activity on her phone.

A notification popped up.

Someone had clicked her profile.

To be continued here The torrid weekend that was.

More about Alexandra and Andrew here.

2 thoughts on “Shopping for men

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