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"'You have a lot of guys who are trying really hard to set themselves apart and end up coming off as really weird or creepy...'"Online dating is a pretty popular topic here at AskMen. I’ve written about it along with just about everyone else with a computer and word processor. But what we don’t always hear about are people’s firsthand experiences. That’s why Ouiser Boudreaux (a pseudonym) created A(n)nals Of Online Dating, a site where online daters can share their horror stories. Naturally, most of the biggest gaffes come from us men, so I sat down with Ouiser (love that band) over Gchat to learn more about the site, why men can be such huge creeps and what we can do to avoid showing up on her blog.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Ian Lang (IL): First things first: Are you, in fact, seated?
Ouiser Boudreaux (OB): Yes. Why?
IL: Don’t worry about it. I just don’t like to lie to my readers.
IL: So I guess first it'd be great if you gave us a brief synopsis of how and why you got started with the site.
OB: Sure. I started the site because I was online dating, and so were a few of my friends. We were all on the receiving end of some pretty bizarre messages, which we'd circulate by email to each other and roundly mock. One day, while bored at work, I decided it could be fun to put that mockery on the broader internet and A(n)nals of Online Dating was born.
IL: Imagine that: Guys on a free dating site are creeps.
OB: Ha. Shocking, I know!
IL: So it started with just your experiences, but you take submissions now, correct? How many of those flood your inbox every week?
OB: I do take submissions now, and nearly everything I publish is submitted by readers. I've never actually counted how many I get in a week, but a solid amount -- depending on how regularly I'm posting, I'd say anywhere from 50 to 100 submissions weekly. And, of course, the best is when I get the same submission from multiple people -- so one guy was copying and pasting a nearly identical creepy message to multiple women.
IL: I imagine there's a fair bit of that. I used to be on a site myself ,and even bothering to send a small but obviously personalized message seemed to set me apart. Of the submissions you get, would you say it's mostly men?
OB: It really does! Those are the only ones I reply to, personally. Yeah, the submissions I get are 80-90% submitted by women who are getting crazy messages from heterosexual men.
IL: Any theories as to why that is? I mean, in my experience, it's the men who have to do most of the blind initial messaging, so maybe it's a law-of-averages thing -- with so many messages, some are bound to be creepy.
OB: I think it probably is part a law-of-averages thing and part a cultural thing. Despite increased gender equality, it's still expected that men do the asking out and the leading when it comes to dating. So men pick who they want to date, and women either accept or reject. And online that's magnified because you have so many people to choose from and none of the visual cues that help you to differentiate between creeps and not-creeps in the real world.
So you have a lot of guys who are trying really hard to set themselves apart and end up coming off as really weird or creepy, like guys who use pickup-artist techniques online. And then you have guys who say or do things online that they would never do face-to-face, because it would be too awkward -- like initiating a conversation with "I would love to put my tongue in your ass." Next Page >>
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