Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Advertise Your Manliness

Sometimes guys are more comfortable with pixelated women than the real thing. This doesn't mean you guys don't want the real thing, just that your only doses of female charms come from the internet, and the only games that women play with you are ones imported from another country (ok, so dating-sims are better than actually dealing with women sometimes, but they're not warm and squishy like we are).

No women coming your way? Trying to find a bunch of them, in an effort that one of many may fall victim to your charms? Try the internet.

I'm here to help.

Actually, I'm here to snark. I do this in a hope that I'll eventually adopt a didactic tone and you, or others of your species, can learn from the mistakes so many of you have made in your efforts to woo me. This series can be looked at as a 'what not to do' in the world of online dating.

First, we have the issue of where you're going to go for this fabulous experience. There are several websites open to you, and they vary from free to pay. I personally stay away from the pay sites, as I find the free ones quite useful, and my wallet quite empty. Two of the major players in the free category are OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. These two sites are completely on the house, and also have a variety of forums and features that make it easier to connect with like-minded people.

The best way to find people on these sites is to limit your search to the most eligible candidates based on filters the site allows you to set up. On OKCupid you have the ability to answer a bunch of quiz-style questions and rate the importance of those answers from your ideal match. This is a pretty interesting system, but it takes up a lot of time to get accurate results. You need to answer upwards of 100 questions in order for the results to begin working for you, but once they’re operational the people you are paired with will (in theory) have similar values to you. This site also has profiles that are separated into different sections, making writing about yourself a little more directed, and a little easier.

The issue I have with OkCupid is that it seems more like a game than a dating website. I didn't find much that fit what I was looking for in terms of men on the site, but some of my friends have had more luck finding women.

Plenty of Fish has a filtering system that works based on age, location, whether or not the person smokes, has children, and whether they're looking for an 'Activity Partner' or a 'Long Term Relationship,' etc. Their filtering even goes so far as race, height, and more. The risk of being too specific is that you won't manage to find anyone. Don't use these features to make a shopping list, use them to get a general idea. That means being careful not to over limit your choices, but don't leave yourself wide open with too many people to wade through.

Ok, so you've used both these sites, and you've managed to write up a profile based on OkCupid's directed approach, or Plenty of Fish's free-reign one, what do you do now?

A picture. Pics or it didn't happen, as so often said on the internet. In a perfect world everyone would base relationships on emotional connection and intelligence. This is not a perfect world (as the current economic situation will clearly illustrate). Make sure you put up a few good pictures of yourself. One is ok, but aim for three. You can add shots of your washboard abs and tattoos and car later. Make sure one is a clearer-than-a-myspace-webcam shot of your face.

Your response rate is based on your pictures, your profile, and your messages, and typically in that order. Occasionally the last two will switch around, and rarely overtake the prime placement of the picture, but your appearance will be a deciding factor.

Do not post the following:
  • A picture of just your car.
  • A picture of you with other women (unless you're helping the elderly).
  • A picture of you shitfaced with your friends.
  • A picture of you in your messy room with all of your anime figures/comic book collection/Warcraft miniatures (not that this isn't cool, just that you want your nerdocity to be a cute quirk to the norms, and not your defining feature).

So maybe you're not Brad Pitt. Some of us have to accept that. What can you do to make up for your perceived shortcomings? Try choosing interesting pictures that show something about you, or show you interacting with someone, like a friend (not your hot friend), or your faithful pet. Because you have a clear picture up of your face, there won't be any confusion of who you are in your friend (or fido) picture, and it's possible that might show your interested party that you're fun, social, and maybe even capable of taking care of another living being. Failing all that, showing yourself doing the dishes or cooking? Hit. Don’t worry, I’m summing up below.

Do post:
  • You smiling. Not creepy, not high, not flirty.
  • You with a pet. Chicks dig pets.
  • You in the kitchen, doing something productive.

With the right medium, a targeted search, a good profile, and some flattering pictures, you should be well on your way to upping your hit stats on your chosen targets.

Now you simply need to avoid the pitfalls of most messages and profiles and put yourself above your blundering competitors.

Stay tuned, I’ve got your cheat codes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is Why I'm Hot

A bold title; self-centered, and probably a bit presumptuous, but this is an introduction to me, and as such I think ya'll should be informed of a few things before we go any further: bold is the tamest adjective that can be used to describe me.

Needless to say, I build my reputation on keeping my mouth open (and my fingers moving on the keyboard) no matter what may come out. Sometimes I consider it a public service: the ability to say what everyone else is thinking. Sometimes I figure I'm just a bitch.

But this is getting ahead of myself. It's painting a terrible picture of a 'fiesty' (another tame adjective) redhead without any background.

Why am I difficult? What could I possibly know about anything I'm writing about? Where the hell is my nerd-cred?

People have been asking me the first question for as long as I can remember (and with varying tones of annoyance). There’re too many answers for that one. Primarily I think I'm difficult because it's fun. The other two questions have answers more explanatory than my hedonistic (and sometimes sadistic) enjoyment of shenanigans.

I was always a nerdy little thing. Growing up as an only child, whose only friends were books, will do that to you. I moved around a lot, I read way above my level (stole my father's sci-fi before he'd finished it, causing trouble at a young age), and I began that wonderful pilgrimage to the mountain of seclusion so many nerds undertake.

My youth was filled with the high marks stereotypical of someone who has few friends and little to do other than peruse the Discovery Channel, the library, and—when the internet made its debut in the 90's—search engines like HotSpot and Ask Jeeves. I plundered it like words were my rum. I was round, bucktoothed, and isolated...with the happy armor of biting wit and stinging sarcasm to cover up my squishy insides.

In this time I wrote fanfic, cosplayed, traded pokemon cards, obsessed over fandoms, attended conventions, played MMORPGs, and ran a webcomic that made its way into the Toronto Star.

There came a time during my last year of university where I got sick of my exterior not matching the heat my tongue could spew at a moments notice. I dropped forty pounds, had my teeth fixed, and suddenly became a model.

The transformation took a little longer than that, but you get the gist.

So what does that mean for me now? Well, as one of those girls who was picked on or ignored as tormentors saw fit, who eventually found solace in nerdy things like books, comics, anime, and video games, I have my nerd-cred. It's hard won and well defended.

My life as a model, while making a good chick-lit title, is full of the amusement that comes from having the 'outside' perspective for so long. So I'm kind of pretty now? Great. I still get self-conscious around girls that have been pretty their whole life. You know the ones. I still spout vitriol at a moment's notice, often to the surprise of those who peg me as a ditzy 'pretty' type. It’s amazing the 180 that people do when suddenly you're aesthetically pleasing. I still read, I still write, and I can and will still kick your ass at half the nerdery you toss me.

Being suddenly pretty isn't all it's cracked up to be. There I was, undergoing an identity shift, and I was alone. I made full use of all the dating opportunities known to me, after a break from a few long relationships that were more stifling and needy than actually fulfilling in any sense. I got into the morally murky entertainment scene. I got out of the morally murky entertainment scene, only that much more bitter for the endeavor (but with a lot of hilarious stories, in retrospect). Now I'm back in the less murky waters of modeling, with the occasional music video or public event under my stylish belt, and regular burlesque shows around Toronto to balance it out.

So what do I do now? I work like anyone else does, I have the occasional photo shoots, I do PR events for nightclubs, I dance whenever I can (no matter who's watching), i twirl some tassels, and I coddle my cats more than is likely healthy.

Along with my nerd background and my modeling photos, I come from a life where I've tried everything. I grew up on a farm (with the boys) and I've taken every opportunity that I've come across to learn something new, mostly in the hope that I'd find my niche. I don't know if I have yet, or if anyone really has a niche. So far I'm just having fun. I've become less and less concerned with fitting in, and more and more content with who I am.

Mind you, I still think my thighs are fat.

So, enough about me...let me give you an overview of what sort of opinionated ramblings you can expect here. For now I think I'll be limiting this blog to three broad topics, as follows:

Burlesque: As a new performer on the Toronto circuit I'm certainly not a big fish, a fat cat, or the top dog...but if you get me enough rhinestones I'll happily dress up as any of them.

Food Reviews: I've only been in Toronto a little over a year, and in that time I've found quite a few places that I drag friends to. Now I have a larger audience, and I'm going to make sure everyone here knows about the places contributing to my gym time. You can buy me a drink if you see me there.

Strange Stuff: Everyone knows there're ghosts in Toronto. No one knows where. Or maybe you do. If you do, email me and I'll write an article about it. This section will be for local haunting, odd occurrences, psychics, occult stuff, and generally weird news. Of course, this'll be written by a skeptic and a writer with the educational background to know the difference between a good story and possibly legitimate freaky business.

My final topic will be a controversial approach to dating advice...

How Not to Suck: Having gone through all modes of dating, on both sides of the sexual fence, I feel that I'm equipped with a vast knowledge of why people suck. This series will be directed at men, guys, boys, and dudes. Women may find it interesting or amusing. Things covered may include 'Why You Cannot Touch Her Breasts', and 'How Webcamming Your Penis Can Come Back to Haunt You.'

So there you have it. I'm going to be difficult and loud, and you're just going to have to deal with it. I've been told I'm a sweetheart, really deep down, and I suppose in my search for love and my quest for good food, I am. I'm not quite sure where the ghosties come in (haunted bakery due to unrequited love?) but we'll get that figured out as we go along.
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