When I was in college, I used to work at a place called "The Writing Center." My work there involved helping illiterate City University students write coherent sentences. I often failed. They never really wanted to learn how to write. They just wanted me to rewrite their horribly written term papers an hour before they were due. When I'd explain to them that my job was to teach them the skills necessary to write their own papers and not to write the papers for them, they were never pleased. The job was unpaid, and I only put up with the students who would "axe" me if I could help them because my work at the Writing Center was required of me as part of an advanced writing class I was taking. I had no desire to teach the illiterate masses how to write. I was simply trying to pad my law school application with as many impressive looking extracurricular activities as possible, so that I'd get into the school of my choice - not to mention the fact that there was a cute grad student working at the center into whom I was also hoping to get. I was unsuccessful on both counts.
When I visited my buddy the other day, who had a female cousin staying with him, I felt like I was back at the old Writing Center. The cousin is in from Florida, and is staying in New York for a while to see if she wants to live here permanently. A major determining factor in that decision will be if she can meet a guy and live rent free at his apartment instead of her cousin's. Her search for free room and board has begun online, and surprisingly she's yet to meet her sugar daddy. All the guys who email her are "losers," or "weird," according to her. She, however, is a great catch. After all, what guy wouldn't cream himself over an unemployed, chubby woman in her late thirties who's looking to be taken care of?
Our discussion of her online dating exploits led to me to ask about her profile. I suggested that a profile makeover might yield more positive results. Within moments, I had a laptop placed in front of me and I was reading her Match essay. It was lame and generic, and I told her so. Her reaction was not unlike those at the Writing Center. She was insulted, frustrated, and annoyed with me, but wanted me to rewrite her profile nonetheless. When I refused, she got belligerent.
"What the hell do you know anyway?" she scoffed. "You said yourself you never had success with online dating."
"You're right. I'm the last person you need to help you," I responded, hoping that would be the end of it. But it wasn't.
"Why won't you help me?" she whined.
I sighed, looked over at my friend who rolled his eyes at me, and I said, "Fine. I'll help you, but I won't write it for you. Make a list of all the things you like to do minus hanging out with your friends and family, spending a quiet evening in or a night on the town, shopping, watching Grey's Anatomy and going to the beach."
"But those are things I like," she said.
"And that's what makes you and your profile boring," I said, almost trying to piss her off, so I could get out of this exercise in futility.
"So what should I write?" she asked.
"Do you wanna meet someone interesting, or do you wanna continue getting emails from the 'losers'?"
"Someone interesting," she said.
"Then you have to pretend to be interesting too."
"I AM interesting," she insisted.
I looked over at her cousin who again rolled his eyes at me.
"Think of it this way," I said. "Every other chick on here is writing about her friends and family and how she can't live without her DVR. You need to think of all that stuff as a given. Kinda like the way they give you R, S, T, L, N, & E on "Wheel of Fortune" during the final round because EVERYONE has guessed those exact letters for the past 35 years. Now you need to come up with original letters."
She looked at me the same way the illiterates used to look at me back in college - like her paper was due in fifteen minutes, and she was gonna be forced to submit it replete with spelling and grammatical errors.
"Whatever," she said. "My profile's fine."
And the truth is that her profile IS probably fine. Like the illiterates in college who were happy getting Cs and Ds from generous professors, she'll have to be happy with the 15 emails a day she gets from the guys she calls losers, but who have the same lame ass profiles as her's filled with Rs, Ss, Ts, Ls, Ns, and Es.