Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover…Unless It’s “Mein Kampf”

Mein Kampf

We’re always told, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and I’m here to tell you to judge it.  Yes, when you are literally talking about a book maybe that advice applies but when referring to people the proverb doesn’t quite hold water.  The famous phrase isn’t “Love at first good conversation” for a reason.  As shallow as it sounds, attraction is the initial driving force in a relationship.  I’m not saying someone’s personality can’t help or be a deal breaker, but looks are definitely important, especially in the beginning.

A picture says a thousand words and they’re not all necessarily benevolent.  There is a creep factor that seems to seep through pictures if you are in fact a creep.  It’s this little thing we like to call intuition.  If someone looks off, they most likely are off.  However, I grew up being told to give people chances regardless of looks because attraction is something that can develop.  Yes, maybe if you were friends first or met in person, but online it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I have already given a few examples of my tumultuous relationship with dating, but here’s another one that supports my argument:

For this round of online dating I have really been trying to find someone with similar interests and what can be perceived as a good personality (from the little information you have on a website) and a good match for me.  This guy contacted me and my first reaction to his pictures was a weird feeling in my gut.  I decided that I needed to be open minded and look at the whole profile and to my surprise I was actually laughing out loud.  *Side note: If you can make me laugh, it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll give you a shot.*  I replied and we had some good banter back and forth.  Some questionable areas of conversation arose about family and upbringing.  The only person he has a relationship with is his Dad and he moved around his whole life (a ton in recent years) so he did not have a huge family or social circle.  That should have been my second red flag after my gut reaction.

Despite the fact that my creep alarm was on high alert, I agreed to meet him.  My rationalization was that I am looking for a relationship so being open to different people and situations is part of the deal.  Much to my dismay, the date didn’t go well from the very beginning.

I was pulling up to the restaurant in my car trying to find parking when I saw this really short guy flipping his hair, like Justin Beiber, in a full Adidas sweatsuit and what looked like K Swiss sneakers.  I, of course, knew this was my date and again my stomach sank a little.  I found parking and walked up to him as he kept doing the hair flip.  As he turned toward me, it was like I was staring at the poster child for the Aryan race with what appeared to be a boil on his face the size of a walnut.  Awesome.  Off to another great start!

So we sit down to dinner in an overly crowded but, thankfully, dimly lit area of the restaurant.  For a few minutes we did have a good conversation and some laughs (if a third party came along they would think we were having a great date).  We started talking about holidays with the family and how he had missed that growing up.  I actually felt bad and thought maybe he was a good person with a bad sense of style and skin problems.  Wrong, I began to talk about one of my family’s Passover seders when he asked what a seder was.  I explained that I’m Jewish and on Passover we have a seder and gave him a quick history behind it.  He then replied, “Oh you’re Jewish?”.  After that things went downhill.  I kept staring at the boil as he spoke of his family roots.  Immediately after I declared my Jew status, he informed me that his grandparents were most likely Nazis in Germany, and said this while smiling.  The creep vibe started to spread through out my body as the conversation spiraled to a crashing stop.  I thought, am I really desperate enough to be taking dates with Hitler Youth?

Love may be blind but unfortunately so is desperation. All the signs were there to begin with.  Had I just trusted my intuition, I could have avoided this confusing/alarming date with the boiled faced anti-semite.  He had the appearance of a German Men’s Junior soccer player and the essence of a rapist.  Combine that with the Nazi ancestry and I was pretty much in hell.  I now have a rule that if I have a gag reflex to your picture, for any reason, I’m moving onto the next contestant.

Dating should be mostly fun and giving everyone under the sun a chance does not do you any good.  It’s admirable to not be shallow or materialistic but I rather not have to deal with a neo Nazi with a penchant for nomadic living.  I’m starting to theorize that his moving around was not a coincidence!  Let’s just say the FBI’s most wanted list now has more meaning in my life.

Basically, if the picture is not up to par then the person probably isn’t either.  It’s good to take pride in how you look and present yourself, even in a profile.  It says a lot about you and is a good way to separate the possible mates from the improbable.  Plus if you’re attracted from just a picture and profile…that’s not a bad sign.  Use caution when: A person has only one picture that is a self pic, far away shots, mug shots (or anything resembling), or has a picture that causes a physical reaction.  Those are warning signs to stay away.  Ignoring them does not make you a better person and will most likely involve an awkward or uncomfortable situation that leaves you right where you started.  Maybe a little bit more disturbed but still single and looking.

So the decision is up to you.  Judge a book by it’s cover or don’t.  But ask yourself this, do you really want to be the face on the milk carton?

Until the next charmer,

Bev

Online Blind Dating: Adding Insult to Injury

gup020

What happens when a dating site blocks all pictures?  CHAOS!!!  And probably a major decline in traffic.  Let’s be honest.  Most people on dating websites are there to find people they’re attracted to, at least initially.  The profile serves as a supplement but many users don’t even take a glimpse at your efforts to be witty, sexy, and attractive through the written word.  Recently, one of these dating sites implemented a “Crazy Blind Dating” app and blocked all pictures for a whole day.  People went nuts and were writing really hostile statuses while probably 1% of the site was ok with it.  Newsflash- That 1% probably never shows a picture.  Personally, I think they should implement a day when you HAVE to show a picture…and one that’s not a decade old. My assumption is that this new app is not a huge hit and someone is probably jobless.

Why would you choose to go on a blind date when you can see what they look like?  Blind dates served a purpose when you were unable to show a picture but we’re not in 1989 or in North Korea.  Dating online is awkward enough, I don’t think it needs blind dating to add another element of surprise.  And from personal experience, they are usually shocking and not in a good way.

My friends and parents (ahem MOTHER) try to set me up all the time.  My grandma is the worst though.  She always tries to set me up with an orthodox cousin at some family function.  Brings a new meaning to “keeping it in the family”.  Flattered, but not interested.  I did however go on a few blind dates that support my stance on the subject.

My top three blind date stories:

1.  I was set up with a friend of a friend’s brother because we were both single in New York.  Usually that is a starting off point for commonalities but that’s all the information I got about him besides his age and location.  We were off to a great stop, but I agreed to go because hey, you never know!  Plus I figured my friend knows me enough to judge if I’d be a good fit with someone.  So, I got to the bar early and got a bar table.  All of a sudden a surge of men came in, one better looking than the next.  Some would glance at me and I’d get excited but they would either walk by or wave to someone they know.  Then a short potbelly guy with an acid washed shirt and fleece vest walks in and my stomach sank.  I was thinking, “Please don’t be my date, please don’t be my date”.  Then I hear, “Bev?”.  Despite every instinct I had to walk out, I stayed and gave him a chance.  Maybe he had a really good personality or was really funny?  Nope, the only thing good about him was his appetite.  I had to sit through an entire dinner with him, having only ordered a salad while he ordered the left side of the menu.  When the check comes I always offer to pay but before I had the chance to he asked if we could split it.  Then the check came back and there were $3.00 to split.  He pocketed the $2.00 and was like, “Here you want this?” and slid the dollar over to me.  Thanks for your generosity but you definitely need that more than I do.  Needless to say, we never spoke again.

2.  I get a call from my Mom and had no idea what I was getting myself into by picking up the phone.  She was standing with her friend’s son and his fiance and asked me in front of them if I wanted to get set up with the girl’s brother.  I got the whole pitch and got cornered into saying yes.  The girl was standing next to my mother describing her brother and could probably hear our phone conversation.  I couldn’t say no!  So I agree to meet him and again go to a bar to meet.  I had a hard day so needed a drink before he came.  When he showed up he said hi and then went straight to the bar.  Despite noticing my empty glass he did not offer to order me a drink.  Strike 1.  Then he sits down and I immediately notice his wandering eye (maybe he didn’t notice the empty glass after all).  It might have been nice to have mentioned that minor detail.  I had no idea where he was looking the entire time.  What was more off putting was that he was cocky and had an attitude.  Strike 2.  He had his phone out the entire time and was texting.  Then after he finished his drink (which was probably 10 minutes later) he picks his phone up- it didn’t ring or buzz- and tells me he has to leave for a work emergency.  Before I could get my coat on and look up he was halfway across the street running like his ass was on fire.  Strike 3!!

3.  The Ukrainian.  This was right after I had a bad break up with someone I had dated from Jdate.  So I immediately went back online to try and get my mind off of him by dating right away.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying enough attention to who I was actually agreeing to meet.  With the Ukrainian, there were so many red flags that I chose to ignore and they bit me in the ass.  First, he barely wrote anything in his two emails and had a sparse profile.  Second, he lived with his parents in Brooklyn (at age 29).  Third, his picture was about 500 feet away standing next to an American Flag pole.  That should have deterred me off the bat.  But I go to meet him outside Barnes and Noble in Union Square and see a guy with a striking resemblance to Sloth from The Goonies and, of course, that was my date.  I had that familiar sinking feeling in my stomach but I couldn’t just leave him there so I went and introduced myself.  We decided to go to a bar as opposed to dinner.  I could not understand a word he was saying because he spoke broken English with a thick Ukrainian accent.  So the conversation was a lot of “sorry what?” and dead silence.  The bar was loud and crowded which didn’t help.  What I could tell was that we had nothing in common and a lack of conversation.  We get to the bar and I order a Kettle One and club soda.  He goes, “Thank god, I thought you were going to order vodka”.  That was my cue to go.

I saved the Ukrainian for last because that was the closest thing to an online blind date.  It was the worst date I’ve ever had and probably will ever have.  Now thinking back, that flagpole picture was probably when he literally got off the boat to Ellis Island.  If that was any indicator of what online blind dates would be like, then count me out.

Lesson learned: Photos, a profile, and an email are barely enough to know someone before a regular date.  Taking the picture away only lessens the chance that you will have a successful meeting.

If you are into uncomfortable situations then by all means try the Crazy Blind Dating app.  I prefer to keep the element of surprise strictly to presents…you can always return and exchange.  What I can’t get back is my time and the permanent image of Urkainian Sloth out of my head.

Thank you blind dates for the memories…and the nightmares.

-Bev