It is par for the human course to make a variety of mistakes, large and small, while dating. That's why most of the people we date aren't actually "success stories" (that would imply we're still with them, right?) and why shows like Girls and any number of films and books are able to inspire constantly evolving discussions and controversy, and more simply, to keep being made. We love to talk about relationships, good and bad, and probably always will.
Most especially, we love it when we think people are doing them wrong. The more awkward and mortifying the mistake, the better. That's why we railed on the investment banker who ranked his Match.com dates on a spreadsheet. How dare he!? That's why we relished the tale of a possibly passive-aggressive text messager who may or may not have purposefully sent a girl who rejected him a message saying she wasn't all that, under the guise of sending it to his buddy. That's why you want to hear your friends' sob stories more than you want to hear them gush about how happy and perfect everything is. Wednesday's Deadspin post by Jack Dickey featuring a 24-year-old finance guy who asked his dates to complete a "creepy" survey afterward is just perfectly exactly what we wanted for lunch.
Last month, we brought you a finance guy's way-too-detailed spreadsheet of the ladies he met on Match.com. A reader who enjoyed that post then passed along this survey she received from a man she briefly dated in Philadelphia.
In the survey—the full thing is below—he asks for feedback on his outfit, his hair, his body, his conversation, his moves. There's this question, too: "Mike is very masculine; at any point did you feel he was compensating for anything?" And, of course, he asks for feedback on the survey itself.
The post, which includes Mike's survey with his last name and email address redacted, actually functions to sort of soften this allegedly creepy guy. Deadspin's source, who met Mike on OKCupid, says he "wasn't too creepy," just sort of neurotic and awkward and maybe home-bound. (Surely her sharing this survey will help him kick that pattern.) What Dickey doesn't mention is that Mike is taking a tried-and-true, if grassroots in his particular application, route—there's a whole website and company devoted to extracting exactly this sort of feedback from daters. And some of his questions seem positively...therapy-esque. We could all use a little more therapy, no?
That such dating mishap posts generally go viral is pretty obvious—this is low-hanging fruit, in the best of ways. Extra points if the guy involved is a "Wall Street" guy or some kind of business or law professional with, apparently, more money than decorum or actual dating knowledge. Alternatively, he should wear a fedora, or be a total douche in the most stereotypical of ways. We must want to hate him, and to enjoy the fact that he is not us (our jobs don't pay as well; we wouldn't be caught dead in fedoras). If it is a woman, trust that she works in fashion, or something else that we can both look down on and be secretly jealous of. Because the whole point of these stories, and why we like them, is that they make us feel better about ourselves. This is the same thing that gets people to watch The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Tough Love Whatever Place They're in, or any others in that genre of terrible yet terribly engrossing dating shows. Look at these monsters (or idiots) attempting to find love in the dating world! Despite all of our flaws, real and imagined, we are better than that. We would never share a spreadsheet with one of our dates upon which we'd ranked her; we would never go on national TV to tell the world that we used Match.com as, essentially, Seamless Web. Would we?
The truth is, though, we've all got dating skeletons in our closet. And probably, the more we protest (or enjoy the humiliation of some poor dude who either stupidly or perhaps purposely, for the viral sensation, did something embarrassing while dating), the closer we are to the having done something dumb or "creepy" ourselves, possibly more than once! (Women are more commonly called "crazy" than "creepy," but it's hard to say where the women who are sharing these mockery-generating things their dates did with the rest of the world fit in. Funny? Mean? Both?)
Let's partly blame the Internet for this lack of sensitivity, lack of respect for privacy, because we can. Where once our creepy behaviors were confined to snooping physically, to asking weird questions, to behaving badly in any number of in-person ways, now our creepy behaviors are digitized, and can also be sort of anonymous, for us and the alleged creeps. We can create surveys and spreadsheets—but more importantly, what we create can be distributed across the Internet, globally, because who doesn't want to read about some creepy guy who made his dates rank the cut of his Dockers or whatever? We all do! Question to ponder: Is it creepier to rank someone on a spreadsheet, or to send that spreadsheet (or survey) to the media?
There's no way we're going to stop being creepy while we date—that would be horribly dull—and maybe that's why people are fighting the good fight against such perversions as "creep-shaming." But God, we've gotten cynical! At the end of a long, hard day, a creep is just another name for a person you're dating. Also, if we believe that there's someone for pretty much everyone, it follows that the girl right for "Mike," our survey sender, would have thought his survey was cute, not creepy. Remember, one of the spreadsheet guy's dates defended him publicly! This is yet another way separate your wheat from your chaff, I suppose.
Image via Shutterstock by VGStudio.