The Faint Whiff Of Desperation

The term is over, I have some time on my hands and I don’t really meet many girls that I’d like to date (none, truth be told) at my college.

[Before you suggest I look inwards: Ruskin girls are, broadly speaking, a bit too much of the roll-ups, ill-considered radicalism and the generally overly hirsute variety for my liking.]

Whilst sitting at my desk I was conscious of hearing a Match.com ad on Spotify, whilst into a heavy Def Leppard session. Why not, I thought? After all, all you are paying for is someone else to use a technology platform to aggregate a bunch of folks in the same boat. Sounds very logical in the cold light of day and it reduces the chance aspect somewhat as it is merely an aggregation and basic sorting service. But oh no, it isn’t that. It is a way of collecting all the people we don’t even realise are out there into a seething mass of weirdness. That and a few of us fringe normals. Like moths to a lightbulb the weirdoes seem to have flocked here.

But before I explain about what makes them weird, the Match.com people need a mention for their callous exploitation of the eagerness of their customer base. They must coin it in so monetising their service is not hard when you charge people looking for love. After all, I paid up but now keep hearing this in my head – “I’d buy that for a dollar“. Visions of the Match team laughing at yet another hopeful.

The platform feels about five years out of date – a lifetime in Internet terms –  and little thought or investment in the GUI has been made. It is clunky, inconsistent across platforms and a pigging nightmare to use. It remembers little, refreshes in an untimely manner and shows a general contemptuous towards customers. If Twitter, Facebook , iTunes or Google were even half as bad they would have tanked by now.

I want to up my chances of finding a similar person to me. One that I gel with, have fun with etc etc. I am, however, pragmatic. This is reducing the randomness and increasing the odds, sure, but expecting something different because a bit of tech has been involved? Many of the people on this seem to think that the magic of the silicone chip is either to be feared or it gets invested with power it doesn’t actually have. Let me e x p l a i n … computers are just really really really fast calculators that handle Ones and Zeros at speeds you can’t imagine.  This means we can give them more complex tasks like removing the non-sport participants from my search, calculating BIG sums fast etc, that’s it.  They cannot match you with The One. The whole vibe feels pre-scientific revolution when belief in magic was a big thing.

But back to the weirdoes though. I have emailed with and met a few of the normal ones and they have shocking stories to tell regarding the guy to girl requests. From total strangers; please could you post me some tights that you have worn and haven’t washed? Please can you send me a picture of your arse, just your arse? Please can you send a photo of you naked and smoking? And so on and so forth. I didn’t think I was particularly shy or repressed. However, I am sadly lacking in a decent brass neck so I can’t imagine treating a woman in such a degrading manner. I cringe. I guess that is what comes from being raised largely by my mother or perhaps it is just manners?

I have yet to meet someone face to face that I have really hit it off with. I have made a couple more like-minded girlfriends, which is nice. I do not go into an encounter expecting the magic of the silicon chip to have sprinkled the Internet fairy dust around ensuring that if the computer says we are compatible, then there will be sparks, fireworks, swooning, tumbling into bed locked in a sweaty embrace etc etc. (I think I may need to go and lie down for a moment. Do excuse me)

I can’t speak for other chaps but allow me to dispense a little advice regarding some of the pitfalls when creating profiles. This is not exhaustive but just my own simple observations from one week of using the site:

  • If you are on Match to find a partner then how about making an effort with your profile?
    • Pictures – decent full length ones. We are all judges of others by appearance first. We all have a type. This is science speaking.
    • Put several up. No picture = no look. Simples.
    • Not grainy selfies that have been screwed with in Instagram. What are you trying to hide and why?
    • More than three pictures. Really, lack of openness starts alarm bells ringing.
    • Focus – obviously a novel and elusive camera feature for many. Blurry = hiding stuff.
    • Fill out the entire profile. it’s what it’s there for. I am an atheist. If you are a devout Catholic then lets both smile and move on. I do not appreciate being hooked in to find out you are, in my opinion, a lunatic.
    • Use the phase, “to be honest”. I’d fucking hope so. Now I am left wondering what you may not be being honest about.
    • Curvy is not how I’d describe clinically obese. Athletic and toned does not count if you think seeing a piece of exercise equipment from afar occasionally means you are an athlete and Very Attractive? Not vain at all are we?

 

  • Here is selection of a few of the astonishing remarks on some profiles:
    • I basically work to live – hmm, illiterate AND boring. Goody.
    • Curling up in front of a log fire – if suburbia had this many log fires then I’d expect to see much more smoke belching from suburban chimneys of an evening. Just to be clear this is in the top five most overused clichés.
    • I don’t like reading books – goes well with the next one…
    • I love watching soap operas. KMN for both.
    • I’m possessive – this reads, “and in my spare time I refine my bunny boiling apparatus”
    • My friends say etc etc – possibly my all time pet peeve. If you lack the ability at 40 to be self-aware enough to write about yourself and instead have to rely on a biased audience for comment then shame on you.
    • Basic grammar mistakes. They and they’re etc etc… If you are wondering what the others may be, then it’s you.
    • Eating out – who doesn’t enjoy a nice meal out? Do you mean Nando’s or Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons.
    • And travel – oh my god, trying to sound so very cosmopolitan by levering travel in. Travel is good and it broadens the mind but nearly every profile has it and most read like a list of places to go before you kark it. Just sounds a bit contrived.

At the risk of sounding even more like Mr. Angry – and I had to work myself into a proper froth to write this – do fill out your profile, don’t lie, don’t obfuscate, don’t try to pretend to be someone you are not, put some decent informative pictures up. What do you expect if you are crockfulla shite? Similar respect is likely to be accorded in return. It’s just a pre-selection service. Get over it. And when I make the effort to send you an email after trawling through the scammers (oh yes, you are very obvious), sparsely written, and grasping ones then at least have the decency to send a one-liner saying thank you for making the effort but no. Back to manners I guess.

 

PS: Some good comments – read on.

Apple Have The Best Customer Service

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

At the risk of sounding like a fully paid up Apple mouthpiece you should know that this is being typed on a PC. The same PC is running iTunes as I write.

Nonetheless, it is Mrs S’s birthday later this week. I decided to bite the bullet and buy her an iMac. This is for her, really. Well, maybe a bit for Mini S and me.

Why bother to share? Because buying from Apple is such a great experience. They have really nailed it with the blend of human/computer interaction that I decided on. It was all at my pace, easy, unhurried, the salespeople used their names, answered emails, had an 0800 number to chat on personally, returned calls as promised etc etc. It was just such a pleasure.

There has obviously been a massive amount of thought put into the customer experience and it shows. Well done Apple. I am sure your creations are better in many ways. It is just enhanced immeasurably by the customer service.