Hey Good Looking (by Redmann)
There’s something about the limited information of blogging that makes it great for meeting people. I suspect that alcohol works the same way, depriving your brain to the point that you stop seeing people and just start making shit up. I think every person I’ve ever dated or caught a cold from in Colombo was somewhat connected to blogging, and I guess I’m OK with that. A writing sample is good, and if a person can write in an interesting fashion they probably think clearly. Of course that varies, I’ve had lovely SMS relationships that kinda sputter over dinner. For lack of a better word, the blogosphere is a strange place. In some ways more pure than any conversation over drinks, but in other ways so bereft of vital sense information that it collapses outside of controlled laboratory conditions. As much as they’d like to, these people don’t exist, and it would take some peculiar alchemy to live up to the expectations of an online meeting of minds.
Just to be an ass, these are a few, um, constants I have noticed online,
Humans around my age are lonely. With every girl I meet (yes, every) I think ‘could I date her?’ Actually I think ‘could I marry her?’, and then descend down through lesser forms of co-habitation, but you get the point. In person that question usually gets answered through physical assets or chemistry, usually within seconds. Online, however, it never gets answered. All that registers is the sex and ‘voice’ of the person, which makes for some very dangerous imaginations.
I’m of the belief that the less information you give in relationships, the better. Note that I said belief, not practice. There’s something called top-down processing where the brain will simply fill in missing sensory information. This is a stupid example, but it ‘deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are’, your cortex will fill in the details from the top down. The brain is designed to deal with corrupted input and fill in the gaps because such is the nature of life. It’s probably the most obvious in terms of audition. The voice you hear on a cell phone is mono and of godawful quality, but you still experience it as a pleasant conversation with a human. MP3s also strip out large chunks of the spectrum which your brain fills in. Computer vision/sensation doesn’t do this as much, but you could theoretically reduce bandwidth on video-conferencing and stuff if the computer stored most facial information locally and just tracked the important points (mouth, eyebrows) at the remote location.
Uhhhh, so back to relationships. I think if you give someone minimal information about yourself they’ll simply fill in their ideal man from the top-down. There are some basic cues as to income, popularity, etc that are probably important, but besides that it’s best to shut up. Gaming the system is really hard, it’s way better to sit back and let the crazy do its work. I’ve noticed that girls get the most clingy when you ignore them. I think this is because they have more time to create that ideal guy in their heads who is obviously not you. If you actually did call they’d realize you’re a tossbag with unmatched socks and probably get over it. In real-life I think girls behave more in this way. Not that men don’t in other aspects but, honestly, for a girl the pitch is much more physical. Online however, men behave in an even more headsy way, as detailed later.
Blogs are great for the top-down cause you have complete control (including editing) and you don’t actually have to be yourself. I mean, you can’t. The medium, especially with comments, is semi-viscious and everybody writes with an exagerrated snarkiness and cosmopolitan ennui, partly out of self-defense. You just put some stuff out there and people will invent a person. Indica, for example, doesn’t exist and if you met me you’d be surprised. I mean, perhaps pleasantly, as I’m actually a nice and accomodating person, perhaps even shy.
The blogosphere is truly the Oktoberfest of sausage parties. This gives girls an undue advantage. I’m not sure if this is news, but half the comments female bloggers get are pure come-ones. Most women that men encounter online are, shall we say, two-dimensional and finding one that talks is an epiphany. I think girl bloggers should really just post a photo and a horoscope and get it over with. It drives me crazy. Btw, Slate’s Economic Case for Polygmy might be relevant reading here, given the gender imbalance online.
I guess I should add that despite the cynical, snarky and ennuitical tone of this post, I can’t think of a better way to meet girls. My life, or at least the life I’d like to live, is writing and I’d rather date someone who lives there as well. Words have been the one constant in my life, especially when the physical was the most fucked up. This voice has been much the same since I was almost 12 and he (or it) watches in compassionate and frantic detatchment as I get tossed around in meatspace. In its physical manifestation my internal monologue gets dumbed down or filtered, peeking out through the gaps in conversation and threads left untied. It would be, however, be nice to truly and honestly talk. That is, if the rarefied air of the blogosphere could somehow breathe into this one, I really wouldn’t mind.