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(It's easy, after reading too many profiles like the example above, to forget all about romantic matters and just spend your time bemoaning the incompetence of public-school teachers. The counter-intuitive antidote to such a loss of focus is to read more of them--because, as soon as you stumble across someone misspelling "I," it becomes fun again.)
Robert McCarl, a sociology professor at Boise State, discussed the attendant ineloquence and deception of online dating.
"The first thing that comes to mind is Marshall McLuhan's adage that the medium is the message," he said. "The medium of the Internet forces us to communicate in certain ways--it's like the Great Salt Lake, miles long but inches deep ... You can find a counterpart, probably pictures and videos and everything, but because it's digital, it's cold. It lacks the heat of face-to-face communication or even handwritten letters."
While digital dating can bring people closer theoretically and sometimes physically, it may not work so well substantively.
"The reach is tremendous, but the level of understanding can be easily distorted ... a 60-year-old sex freak can try to sound like a 16-year-old girl," McCarl said. "It gives us information but not necessarily insight."
Incidentally, most online dating sites are free to join--they will ask you to upgrade in order to avoid the inevitable Ron Jeremy-sponsored ads--but you may lose more than money when you realize what your neighbors are doing behind the curtains.
Polygamy seems to be popular these days, but many of the men wanting to break into the polygamy scene don't even have one wife yet--way to set your goals high, fellas.
Most of the polygamy sites, however, tend to focus on helping females find big love. The forum comments are disproportionately written by women, or at least people who say they're women. On 4thefamily.us, an alleged woman writes, "I would welcome sister wives since we would all keep each other company in the afterlife." It sounds suspiciously like an argument a man would propose to a lonely fundamentalist, but you never know.
One way to assemble multiple women without all of the legal hassle of anti-polygamy laws is to patronize realdoll.com. According to the site: "Since 1996, we have been using Hollywood special effects technology to produce the most realistic love doll in the world. Our dolls feature completely articulated skeletons which allow for anatomically correct positioning, an exclusive blend of the best silicone rubbers for an ultra flesh-like feel, and each doll is custom made to your specifications. We offer an extensive list of options, including 10 female body types and 16 interchangeable female faces."
It's a good way to practice safe sex. As the site notes, each doll "receives a thorough acetone bath after fabrication." None of the dating sites provide that kind of assurance.
They're kind of expensive--about $6,000--but for another $100, you can get one with extra pubic hair. Among the frequently asked questions, the most revealing is: "How much weight can the doll support?" The answer is 400 pounds. Instead of pubic hair, perhaps they should consider providing a doll that comes equipped with a blood-pressure monitor.
Some of the sites even offer masturbation instruction. First of all, who needs instructions for something so self-explanatory? Furthermore, it seems to suggest a lack of confidence in the process. It's kind of like a car dealership offering classes on how to walk.
If masturbation instruction and cost-prohibitive rubber mannequins derail your confidence in the Internet's capacity to sate lust with at least one other human being, the old-fashioned avenues still exist.
Bars are fun, but Jagermeister can impede judgment even more than online witch sex.
Apparently, couples have met at the gym, but who looks their best while waiting to weigh themselves and ringing out a sweat towel? People often get together at work, but then everybody at your job hates you and suspects some sort of conspiratorial collusion.
You can always go to church, but ultimately, which is worse--fighting off a few pop-up ads for penis pumps or getting trapped in a corner with your dentist asking if you're ready to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior?
Real love, like real musical talent, develops after a long succession of years punctuated by grief and regret. Those ridiculously myopic moments of proclaiming love immediate and forever are, despite the surface allure, fleeting and usually doomed--just like that morbidly corpulent American Idol guy's career.
Valentine's Day is equally fake and encourages similarly impetuous proclamations of devotion. Could anything be worse, aside from realizing the toilet is about to overflow or that your cat is about to barf, than discovering too late that the love of your life is horribly boring in bed? But even if you break up and love dies, sex remains--sometimes with the same person. It's eternal and deserves to be honored with its own holiday.
Instead, we're stuck with Valentine's Day and its creepy mascot, Cupid. He hasn't achieved the popular prevalence and societal significance of Santa Claus--perhaps because he's a psychotic, naked, flying baby who shoots people with arrows and expects adoration instead of stitches, welts and condemnation.
What an asshole.