One of many, many things that I’m irrationally irritated by is personal ads all about how the poster is bored and wonders if anyone wants to hang out. If you can’t entertain yourself with AN ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET there is absolutely nothing I can do to help you.
Now, I realize that “I’m bored” is probably just a semi-socially-acceptable version of “I’m lonely” or “I’m horny” but that in no way fixes the impression it gives, which is that the poster is such a lazy little shit that they can’t be bothered to entertain themselves and expect a stranger to do it for them. I’m not your fucking mommy, random internet person. I don’t give two shits that you’re bored. Unlike you I’m a grownup and can amuse myself with the enormous pile of books I want to read, games I want to play (my steam backlog is a mess), blog posts I want to write, personal projects I want to work on, things I want to learn, tumblr, twitter, and about a zillion delightfully weird little shows on youtube. If you can get on Fetlife to whine about how you’re bored, you have access to all the entertainment you could possibly want.
If for some reason you’re you’re set on interacting with people face to face (while I’m baffled by it, I hear extroversion is a thing), meetup.com is your friend. Or you can get off your ass and google “volunteer [your city]” or check the local classifieds. If you need to get out of the house there is a way to do that, you just have to show the tiniest bit of initiative.
I’m also – possibly irrationally – annoyed by shared profiles. If you and your partner are so codependent you can’t handle having separate identities on Fetlife, why on earth would I stand in the path of that particular trainwreck? The idea that people in a relationship stop being separate people creeps me the fuck out, and aside from making my skin want to crawl off my body and down the street, I don’t think I’d have much of anything to talk about with people who think it’s a good idea to assimilate themselves into some borg-like hivemind.
Not that that’s the only reason to have a shared profile. You could also be pathologically untrusting or completely justifiably untrusting! Sign up now for a good seat at the inevitable trainwreck! I honestly don’t care why you don’t trust your partner enough to let them have an individual profile, I just want to be outside the blast radius when things inevitably explode. Call me cold-hearted but I’ll be over here enjoying a nice glass of wine while you lose days of your life you will never get back to an entirely predictable and preventable crisis. And honestly, do you want to hang out with someone who thinks your life choices are badly thought out and guaranteed to make you unhappy? You do not, so let’s spare each other the hassle and stay away.
Another less direct pet peeve of mine is people (men. let’s be honest, it’s men) who answer personal ads that have a clear age range defined when they’re well outside of that range. Not so long ago I saw a personal ad from someone who was very clear about what she wanted and part of what she wanted was people in a clearly defined age range. So of course some creeper replies saying he’s a little outside her range and wondering whether she’s at all flexible on it. If he was only a year or two older than her upper bound that would be a reasonable question. But of course Mr Creeper is not a year or two older, he’s TEN FUCKING YEARS over her oldest desired age. That guy is literally old enough to be her father!
Daddy kink is a thing, being into older men is a thing, being totally bored of bratty little boys your own age is so very much a thing. All of that is totally cool if it’s the younger party explicitly inviting older potential partners to get in touch. When some random guy messages a woman who is young enough to be his daughter knowing perfectly well that she’s looking for men a minimum of ten years younger than he is, that’s creepy as shit. When the absolute best case scenario is that you’re too fucking lazy to actually read the ad and just replied to the perky young titties, it’s time to back the fuck away from the keyboard before you embarrass yourself even more than you already have.
While I’m at it, for fucks sake stop posting the same personal ad over and over again. Protip: if I only check the local personals group once in a while and see a fresh ad from you every single fucking time I do, you need to chill the fuck out. I actually don’t want you to be as desperately sad and lonely as you look, but if you insist on waving the “I’m desperate and lonely!” flag, that’s going to do you about as much good as waving the “I’m too lazy to entertain myself!” flag.
On the upside, it’s really easy to do better than these examples. Seriously, the tiniest bit of thought will put you head and shoulders above the sad bastards who think “Your purpose in life is to entertain me when I’m too fucking lazy to do it myself!” is attractive. Just spend five goddamn seconds thinking about how the people reading your ad might respond. What would you want to know about a potential partner? Put that in your ad! What do you think is cool or interesting or funny? Put that in your ad! What does your ideal night out look like? Put that in your ad! Would you vastly prefer an ideal night in? Put that in your ad! Are you a total fucking nerd who wants to spend hours talking about game design and narrative structure and games that push the boundaries of the medium like The Beginner’s Guide? Put that in your ad! Then email me, The Beginner’s Guide blew my mind and I want to nerd it up.
While I was writing this post it finally occurred to me that people probably write terrible personal ads because they’re scared of being vulnerable. It’s a lot easier to say “I’m bored” than “I’m lonely.” I understand the urge to protect yourself, but if you’re not willing to open up even a little bit, why even bother looking for someone? To connect with someone, you have to make yourself at least a tiny bit vulnerable. Without that, you might as well just stay home and not talk to anyone (which I’m a huge fan of, don’t get me wrong). You don’t get to offload all the vulnerability onto the other person, that’s both lazy and unfair. And unattractive, which is more than a little counterproductive if you’re trying to connect with someone.
Readers, what kind of terrible, self-defeating behaviour raises your hackles?