Introvert Love: That’s Not My Idea of Romance!

Valentine’s Day may be over, but the month of love continues here on the blog. Now that the dreaded holiday has passed, we will focus more on INTJs and the active search for a romantic partner. Most blog readers know that I am currently single. Please don’t cry for me, though. I’m not one bit upset about my single state. Part of my lack of angst about being single comes from the fact that I spent the fall going on dates with guys from an online dating service. For INTJs, there is a tendency to think of online dating as an efficient way to find a mate. I’m not so certain. According to Pew Research, 15% of Americans say they have used online dating services or apps. That number climbs to 27% for adults 18 -24 years-old. That’s approximately 40 million Americans.  Despite its growth in popularity, online dating, just like any other form of dating, is not issue free. For example, according to eharmony, 53% of people lie on their online dating profiles.  The most common lies men tell are about their height and income (This is certainly true. Only one of my dates appeared to have been honest about his height. Everyone else was a lot shorter). Women lie about age and weight (I did not. Though I don’t recall having to disclose my weight).

Other than the shock associated with appearance, one of the first issues that many experience with online dating is an inability, or perhaps an unwillingness, to move from online to the real world. Pew Research shows that only one-third of those who’ve used online dating have actually gone on dates. As for my own experience, I went on dates with four different guys. My policy was, and is, to develop a friendship before romance. On average, I went on about three dates with each guy. In addition to the actual dates, there were many others with whom I had conversations, but chose not to meet. All in all, the experience was eye-opening, interesting, and a bit bizarre. Next week, I will be sharing more details about the pros and cons of online dating from an INTJ perspective. Today, however, Always Uttori takes a humorous look at online dating with my list of the 20 guys you meet on an online dating site. This list was originally intended to be just 10, but as I reflected back on my experiences, it was easy to keep going. I should note that, in some instances, I dramatized events, or reordered the sequence to better illustrate the point of this post rather than holding strictly to all the facts. The incidents cited are real, and the types of guys are pretty much on point. Also, I was a somewhat unwilling participant in the process of online dating; but I did learn a lot about why it can be difficult for INTJs to find the “right” guy.

The Twenty Guys You Meet on Dating Sites

 

The Old Guy Looking for A Younger Woman
Photo Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc - 87418665. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com
Photo Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc – 87418665. gettyimages.com

Cliche, I know, but on the site I used, I received e-mails from men who were outside of the age range that I specified. Yes, I know that love has no age, but I did set a limit.  It was frustrating that the site kept ignoring that limit and matching me with guys who were up to ten years older. The age limit was of special consideration as, in real life, I look younger than I am. One of my biggest dating problems, besides not being focused on dating, is that most of the guys who hit on me are either high school age, or creepy older guys – creepy because I know I look young.

THE FAKE GUY.COM PROFILE

I wouldn’t be surprised if most sites had fake profiles. I saw quite a few on the site I used. Unfortunately, these profiles were often more attractive than the real ones. I suppose when a dating site gets a gem, they know it. They certainly market these profiles as though they’re worth millions. Don’t be taken in by the ads or e-mails featuring  extremely attractive guys. Even if they were once on the site, chances are these premium matches get snapped up pretty quickly. Also, the site is constantly collecting data on your mating choices, so they create fake profiles to see if you will respond to their click-bait.  I suppose you can call this type of profile the statistical purposes profile.

THE NON-BINARY, GENDER-NEUTRAL LOVER

Okay, I was surprised when my first non-binary profile popped up. After a couple more, I lost my surprise, and moved to a place of understanding that, while I’m firmly set in a gender perspective, it’s just another box to check in the search for love. I do wonder if registering a profile as non-binary simplifies, or complicates, that search.

THE GUY IN SEARCH OF A BABY MOMMA

This was something I encountered repeatedly on my dates. I was told story after story of how parents wanted grandchildren. I understand. My parents want grandchildren too, but if you’ve only gone out a couple of times and heard that same story from different dates, you begin to wonder if men want a relationship, or a baby momma. After a bit, I became very sensitive to any mention of children as I began to feel a bit like I was being assessed as a brood mare.

The guy in a committed relationship who is just exploring other options

This is something that you have to be alert to. These are the guys who have fishing profiles to explore other options, yet are in committed relationships. I do think one of my dates was “exploring” because after several conversations, he disappeared. Then he reappeared and invited me to meet. We had a nice date (all of my dates lasted from 3 to 4 hours), but he gave me a number to text him that was not a local area code. I did text him, thanking him for the date, as I did with all of my dates, but I did not hear back from him, though he did check out my profile from time to time. It was just weird.

The angry guy who hates the word no
Photo Credit: Yuri Arcurs - 502195109. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com
Photo Credit: Yuri Arcurs – 502195109. gettyimages.com

If you had asked me before my online dating experience if I thought millennial guys saw women as equals, I would have said, yes, unequivocally. However, I’m not so certain that men are as evolved as we believe them to be. I say this because I had a number of incidents in which men directed unwarranted anger at me. This anger seemed to always be associated with one little word: no. No is a good word. It’s a word that saves everyone a lot of trouble. It is true that people don’t like to hear it. I don’t either, but once you’ve been told no, you’ve essentially been freed to go on with your life and pursue other options. At least, that’s what I thought I was doing when I told men no. Unfortunately, many men seemed to lack understanding of the concept of moving on. Instead, they would argue, cajole, or just rage. I learned pretty quickly that, although those who use online dating sites are supposedly better educated than the general population, the word no still can still cause an electrical engineer or recruiting manager to respond with objectionable abuse and anger.

The younger guy who whines that he’s mature enough to date you
Photo Credit: Paul Viant - 107350304. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com
Photo Credit: Paul Viant – 107350304. gettyimages.com

Ah, the younglings. These were the guys who were most angry when I said the word no. This happened enough that I could tell which guys would get over-committed and over-emotional pretty early on. While not all of the angry guys were younger, almost all who responded inappropriately to the word no were. Other behavior patterns included skipping the designed protocols for first steps in communication, and silly, irrelevant comments as a conversational first step. These comments often had nothing to do with getting to know me, but seemed designed to give the appearance that the match was cute, or driven, or some other limbic-brained mate trait of Neanderthal origin. I now have a knee-jerk aversion to this type of male posturing. Maybe it’s unfair of me to have a jaundiced view of younger men, but I do. Simply put, I do not find angry, without a cause, young men (or angry men, no matter what their age) appealing.

THE GUY WHO THINKS HE’S ON TINDER

If you’re on Tinder, then you expect to receive salacious comments and e-mails. If you’re on a site that promises high quality matches, the guy who sends you an e-mail about how he likes to “cuddle” in bed, and it’s his second e-mail to you, makes you wish you could swipe in whatever direction would cause his profile to be permanently deleted from your memory.  “Boy, bye!”

THE GUY WHO THINKS BEING NEEDY IS ATTRACTIVE

I am not a people person. I may seem friendly in my writing, but let me repeat: I. am. not. a. people. person.  So, here I was going happily about my quiet, little life when, suddenly, I was given an online dating account as a gift. Online dating requires almost more socialization than in person interactions. You’re constantly baring your soul to strangers in the hopes that they will love you. Who came up with that form of torture? Eventually, I began to leave more and more of the management of my online account to my mother, who was thrilled to have suitably aged men sending me emails. Before being shocked about my mother seeing my account, just know that I informed the guys that I actually did date. I did my own corresponding with guys if I was interested. Also, according to Pew Research, 30% of women have someone help them with their online profile. This is compared to just 16% of men. Anyway, this isn’t about the momager’s determination to get me married. It’s about the momager’s momaging. When the needy guy sent an e-mail asking if I would help him figure out how to get a girl like me to go out with him, my mother actually responded to him with advice!!!! INFJ, all the way, my mom. Of course, this only led the guy to send more e-mails asking for more advice. The momager and I have great love and respect for each other. I said the helpy-feely had to stop. It stopped. I have nothing against giving someone advice, if I know something about a topic. I write a blog for INTJ females, after all, but this seemed to me to be a scam. If not a scam, his level of neediness automatically disqualified him as a potential mate in my book. I did learn something from this misadventure, however.  Never let your INFJ mother help you with your profile.

THE IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU GUY

Most INTJ women feel a bit like they need to warn guys. We say to them, “Hey, I’m not a girly-girl. I’m an INTJ. We have to rationalize things.” Yet, there were times I wondered if it would be more relevant for rationals to be warned about the “It’s-Not-Me-It’s-You” guys that seem so abundant on the online dating scene. For example, one of my matches was told at the outset that I would not date him, but we could hang out as friends.  After going on two outings, he said he would plan the next one. Instead, he sent a text wanting to make sure that I knew he didn’t want to date me. What the delusional?! As I was in no way attracted to this person, and had reiterated that at every meeting, this seemed a strange type of thing to say, but he was an INTP, so it wasn’t worth the argument. And, you know what, it wasn’t him. It was me. I assumed that being clear and setting expectations would eliminate weird, awkward conversations. This never worked. The guys I went on dates with seemed to think I was playing games, or pretending to be hard to get. I was not pretending. The online site’s newsletter encouraged making friends with your matches, even if you don’t see a romance happening. I was operating from this mindset – trying to fit the social standards set out for us, as INTJs do. I don’t often think of that particular match, but when I do, I wonder if he was a little bit crazy. I don’t know. He seemed respectable, an accountant, but he always had this view of himself as somehow better than others. I dismissed his attitude as not my problem (he would talk about how much smarter he was than other people, but I thought he just needed a friend). I responded to his comment with LOL, and never heard from him again. So, maybe he didn’t need a friend. I do find it interesting that guys will throw away a friendship in this manner. Is it because they want more than you are willing to give? Is it because they don’t value relationships, even friendships? If an INTJ doesn’t want to date you, she’s not going to date you, and she will tell you. Nevertheless, we are human. We can change our minds. Changing my mind would never have happened for the two of us, but maybe it took him a couple of dates to see that. Maybe he didn’t like my LOL response. I certainly hope that all of the matches that I chose to meet find the right woman; but in his case, I feel lucky that I was not attracted to him. The majority of relationships we have with members of the opposite sex are platonic. It’s just my opinion, but if a man cannot be friends with a woman, he will have a difficult time being a good mate.

THE GUY WHO WANTS TO WHISK YOU OFF TO EXOTIC LOCALES, BUT DOESN’T WANT COMMITTMENT

I was only matched with one INTJ guy. My INTJ match and I shared several interests, including an interest in global culture and for me, geopolitics, for him, geopolitical destabilization (just kidding). I kind of think he was a spy, but he claimed to be a pilot. Things went wrong, however, when he proposed a scenario of whisking me off to some exotic locale so that he could “take care of me”. He didn’t like the dates that he’d been on because they were all a bit dumpy, but, based on my pictures, I was pretty and we could travel the world together, no ties, and just have a good time. What?! I have to admit that I was a bit stunned by this suggestion. I’d been imagining that he might want to be a congressman, or ambassador, or something. With my degree in Global Studies, an internship in Peacebuilding and Development, and a Harvard summer session on International law, I had initially found him intriguing. Not after that. Really, what goes on in the minds of men? I have way too much education to be James Bond’s travel ho. “Boy, bye!” Actually, let me upgrade that to a much more appropriate, “Fool, bye!” That is not how you talk to a lady.

The you’re lucky to have found me guy, because I’m a legend in my own mind

I imagine reading this blog could make me sound egotistical and full of myself. I’m anything but. I like fashion, and I like Myers-Briggs. I like learning. I am an INTJ, but as much as INTJs are told they’re extraordinary, we all know that to truly be extraordinary takes work. I’m not that ambitious or industrious. However, there are guys on dating sites that are so extraordinary, that they should be viewed as legendary. These are the guys who expect you to fall in love just because they send you an e-mail. If you don’t respond right away, you’re greeted with another e-mail wondering why it’s taking you so long. It’s like they’re saying, “Girl, you’d better jump in here and fight for me. I’m the real deal. I’m a doctor, lawyer, one-eyed magician . . .”  Actually, I found that this type was usually a doctor or medical professional. They have counted their own worth, and they expect that you have done so as well. To them, women are after their net worth, so, they have little concern with trying to put on a show of “suit”ability because they’re so confident in their ability to get your love simply by sending an e-mail.

THE I’M JUST HERE TO GET REVENGE ON MY EX, OR MAYBE I’M JUST TECHNICALLY CHALLENGED BECAUSE ALL OF MY PROFILE PICTURES HAVE A WOMAN WITH HER FACE CROSSED OUT IN RED MARKER GUY
Photo Credit: Jamie Grill - 82136836. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com
Photo Credit: Jamie Grill – 82136836. gettyimages.com

I don’t know why the online services don’t have some kind of program to weed out guys with these weird photos. Who would want to date a guy who couldn’t be bothered to take a fresh set of pictures? How does it make you more attractive to have photos with an ex marked out? Potential mate? No, this guy will never get over his ex. Or, he’s punishing her by uploading her marked out picture for strangers to gawk at in mute horror (we’re all thinking, you poor woman. You dated that guy?). If neither of those scenarios is the case, he’s either lazy, or looking for his next victim.

THE I JUST NEED A WIFE TO GET MY PARENTS OFF MY BACK GUY

I almost feel as though the guy I went on the most dates with was this type of guy. He was nice. We worked in the same field—technology. However, his complete lack of game indicated that he wasn’t really interested in pursuing a romantic relationship, or maybe he was, and just didn’t know how to start. I do know that we went out five times, and he never even tried to hold my hand. As I mentioned in a previous post, the friendship fizzled shortly after he invited me to his apartment late one night, and I said . . . no. Why would he want to hang out at his apartment? I wondered. I’m still wondering.

THE I’M SO UNATTRACTIVE THAT I ONLY TAKE PICTURES IN A GROUP GUY

I don’t know why you would pay good money to put your picture on an online dating site, and then fill that picture with tons of other people. No one wants to go on a date with a “mystery” suitor. What does it say about your psychology that you want to hide in a crowd? Axe murderer? Supremely unattractive? Not worth responding to your e-mail is what I think.

THE GUY WHO BELIEVES THAT YOU HAVE TO GO OUT WITH HIM BECAUSE YOU GOT MATCHED

You don’t want to be a jerk, but this is the guy that you just can’t find an ounce of attraction for, no matter how good he looks on his written profile. Look, just because you got matched with me doesn’t mean that I have to date you. One of the caveats about online dating is that it can make people feel as though they are already in a committed relationship. So, when you get that profile, and you’re trying to find something to be attracted to, keep in mind that a match doesn’t mean that you have to procreate together. Hold out for true compatibility, good DNA potential, oh, and attraction.

THE GUY WHO WON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER, BUT ASSURES YOU THAT HE’S NOT A STALKER

This happened a couple of times. The best response to repeated e-mails from a guy who really doesn’t want to take no for an answer is no response. One of the things they don’t talk about on commercials for online dating is that there are predators who sign up for online sites. Two people who e-mailed me were, subsequently, barred from using the site. I have no idea what caused them to be dropped, but it’s important to know that, while there are different levels of safeguards in place depending on the site, caution is not unwarranted.

THE GUY WHO DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM
Photo Credit: Vincent Besnault - 134202086. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com
Photo Credit: Vincent Besnault – 134202086. gettyimages.com

I get it. Online dating can be a risky. I was so cautious that my “It’s-not-me-it’s-you” pal made fun of me for it. However, if you’re trying to chat up a girl online, and you won’t reveal anything about yourself, except that you exist, I can’t help but to wonder what you’re hiding. Be wary of guys who try to redirect questions, or who use irritation to avoid responding to questions. It’s important to get to know someone reasonably well before you meet up. If they’re not willing to answer questions, you should seriously consider whether the online chemistry is strong enough to meet in person.

THE WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DATE A MIXED GIRL? GUY

In some ways, as a woman with a multi-ethnic heritage, I felt that I encountered a whole host of issues that other women may not. I did, on occasion, feel “exoticized,” or viewed as a locker room story for guys who wanted to say they’d dated a biracial girl (Sorry for the culturally inadequate language. Yes, I know that race is a social construct, and that we are ALL Africans, and that outer appearance is a result of the biological requirement of the environments in which our ancestry was located – if you believe in evolution, which half of Americans do not. Still, human is human). And, while I try not to delve too deeply into the divides that are shaping up across our country, I’m not unaware of them, nor am I free of assumptions about others, until those assumptions are dismantled by experience. From that perspective, the e-mails that most surprised me were by profession or location: a dairy farmer, a guy from North Dakota, and a guy from a super tiny, super homogeneous resort town in Minnesota. They made me examine my own biases, something that dating from a circle of friends doesn’t necessarily do. In any event, I just could not fathom why any of these middle America guys would want to date a (girl of color) GOC. While I have an eastern European (Czech) and Scottish heritage to go along with my African American ancestry, I never think of myself as not a person of color, primarily because people are always trying to figure out my heritage. Anyway, of all the people I did go on dates with, the one person with whom I formed a genuine connection actually turned out to be that guy from the super small Minnesota town. In Minnesota, diversity means you’re of Scandinavian heritage.  Because of my own perception of middle America, this match did not seem to be an obvious one. The only reason I responded to his e-mail was because we attended the same college. As we got to know each other, I found that we attended the same school within the college. Our course of study was similar. We both started the same time, and both graduated in three years. There were so many similarities, that we found it easy to write long, conversational texts. Unfortunately, there were also issues that led me to choose not to continue the relationship. However, on the whole, he was a pleasant surprise, and getting to know him was fun, despite what might have appeared to some as a surface incompatibility. This date also serves as #20 on the list for the types of guys you meet with online dating. He is the. . .

THE NICE GUY
Photo Credit: Christopher Malcolm - 170627644. gettyimages.com. That's Not My Idea of Romance. Alwaysuttori.com.
Photo Credit: Christopher Malcolm – 170627644. gettyimages.com.

There are nice guys on online dating sites. They are young, old, from varying ethnic backgrounds and belief systems. Just because dating is online doesn’t mean that it’s not the same as it has always been. It’s certainly not a panacea for the ills of your dating life if you’re an introvert. When you’re ready to commit to finding a relationship, it is an option; but, as I said earlier, it requires as much or more socialization as in real life mate-finding. Plus, I experienced the choice fatigue that comes from having access to hundreds of “eligible” men from all over the world, who are supposedly suitable to my temperament. While I would say that the process of mating (finding and developing a strong relationship) is not for the faint of heart, not in the real world, nor online, I do think I am better in many ways for having gone through the experience. Even so, online dating also made me a lot more cynical. Many of the guys I encountered were so focused on the goal of finding a mate, they didn’t really see me as anything but someone they had to bedazzle and convince. Quickly. Frankly, I don’t think I am easy to bedazzle, and worse, I’m very slow to commit. If this microcosm of available mates was so needy, arrogant, shallow, selfish, and inconsiderate, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would ever be possible to find a mate. It has been a few months since I’ve interacted with any of my dating site matches. I removed my profile early because it was too much for my poor introverted soul. Having the freedom to not date allowed me to think things through, and in the end, I think that much of my cynicism came from my not being truly ready to commit to a romantic relationship. I didn’t mind being friends. I didn’t mind being open to the possibility of a future romantic relationship, but the timelines weren’t in sync. At this point in my life, my priority isn’t finding a mate, but finishing my education. I want the mate, but I want it from the perspective of a 21st Century woman. I want to be educated, have a great husband, great kids, and an interesting career. I know that there are trade-offs for these choices, and being single a bit longer is one of those trade-offs. If life doesn’t bring my Mr. Right anytime soon,  perhaps I will again consider online dating. If that is the case, at least I will be better prepared, and less willing to endure some of the shenanigans that can occur when men begin mate posturing. With online dating, I think familiarity with the types of guys you can meet might breed contempt, but it can also eliminate trial and error.

CONCLUSION

After viewing a number of profiles, I began to realize that most of the photos fell into categories, or tropes, if you will. No disrespect to the guys looking for love. There’s no doubt that creating a profile is hard work (and remember, only 16% of the guys get help with theirs). Still, sometimes it seemed that guys just gave up and wrote their profiles in caveman speak: Me want girl for Ooga and Booga. You Cha Cha? In fact, I received an e-mail that said as much, or as little, depending on your point of view. If you happen to be a guy and you’re reading this, please note that there are almost NO Midwestern profiles that don’t have at least one, or all of the following elements:

THE PROFILE PICTURE TROPES
  1. Dogs – Are you looking for a woman, or a dog-sitter? – The guy who didn’t want to give much information about himself did share that the dog in his picture was borrowed from his “roommate.” There was no picture of the roommate though. Unless you work with dogs, rescue dogs, or own more than 2 dogs, do not over-dog your profile.
  2. Selfies in the Bathroom – Why the bathroom? It gave the photos a bit of an unsavory feel. I know that there are a bazillion photos of women in bathrooms, but it’s just different from that lonely bachelor-in-the-bathroom feel. In my opinion, more men need someone to look over their profiles and say to them, “Bruh, you might want to nix that picture of the bathroom selfie.” Then again, I doubt it would make any difference. If selfies are here to stay, bathroom selfies are definitely here to stay.
  3. I get along with my sibling’s children – That’s cool. The subtext of your picture with a cherubic-faced kid is that you would be a great dad, but before you get to the dad part, would you be a great partner? And, too much focus on kids that are not yours is a bit Jerry Sandusky creepy.
  4. Strictly Minnesota — The guy sitting around a campfire with his buddies and a beer in his hand.
  5. Minnesota, but also a few other states — The guy looking down the side of a mountain. I think dating sites gather single guys into groups for road trips to California or Colorado where they pose them for Man-On-A-Mountain photos. There tends to be an eerie sameness to these photos, but I’m just speculating.

That’s it for the guys-you-meet-on-online-dating-sites. If you currently have an account on a dating site, or are thinking of getting one, keep in mind that even though your interactions are digital, it’s important to get to know the person in the real world, and to not allow the excitement of a possible match to cause you to commit before you are ready. Hopefully, you don’t meet too many of the types of guys that I did, but if you do, you’re ready. As always, feel free to share you own insights and advice to help the INTJ community here on Always Uttori. Thanks for reading.