An article on Gizmodo.
Alyssa Bereznak wrote an article on Gizmodo. It is entitled My Brief OkCupid Affair with a World Champion Magic: the Gathering Player. By way of a brief summary of events before I get started with my commentary, Alyssa came home drunk one night and made an OkCupid profile. She’d heard some horror stories (these horror stories to be exact) but thought “Oh to hell with it–what’s the worst than can happen to me?!” What she didn’t realize was that she was unleashing a terror onto the world of online dating.
Wait, no, that’s not the way I should go with this. Basically, still by way of summary, she got a ton (like totally a lot guys) of messages in her inbox that were poorly spelled and all upfront about how sexually interested in her the men writing them were. Stuff like this:
“Dem gurl u so foine, iwud lik veru much for me nd u to be marry n procreate.” Or “your legs do look strong.”
Totally disregarding the fact that the presence of the word “do” in the second quotation implies that she was the first person to say she had strong legs (but who would put that on a dating profile, right?), she also got another message from a guy named Jon: “You should go out with me :)”. Total creeper vibe, right? Like, who just puts smileys in their messages like that, anyway? That’s not the tone I’m looking for either. Hum. ANYWAY
Turns out “Jon from OkCupid” is Jon Finkel, Magic: the Gathering world champion. I’m not kidding, the man has a Wikipedia article. Just to tally where we stand: so far, one person in this article has a Wikipedia entry, and it’s not Ms. Bereznak. Somebody’s already fairly notable with the kind of people who populate the internet. And in short order, Alyssa shut him down, cos he was passionately involved in something she was uninterested in. And if this story had ended there, I would say “fair play”. My girlfriend doesn’t like it when I talk about Minecraft for hours on end, so maybe having a hobby he spends a lot of time engaged in would be a bit of a red flag if you couldn’t get into it.
Except then she wrote an article about how badly he sucks, indirectly comparing him to (among other things) a sexual offender and a guy who tried to go Stuntman Mike on a girl he was supposed to drive home. No crap, either, she actually–did you guys actually–you’ve like, clicked through the links I’ve posted here, right? Third entry, the Jezebel one, “these horror stories”. No crap, apparently playing Magic: the Gathering makes you as bad or worse than a guy who (in order): masturbates openly while you’re trapped in his car, tries to kill you when he drives you home, is really deeply into Muppets, likely fetishizes his ten cats, or forgets going out with you when you were totally just seeing him for the casual sex.
Ladies, I know men don’t have any place telling you how to act or what your business is, but in the interests of keeping your dating life classy, I will offer just one tip. If you’re a high-profile, much-noticed, very-visible writer on a tech blog aimed at people who frequent the internet to meet others who share their niche interests, maybe it’s not the classiest thing in the world to write an article slagging a man who is so highly accomplished in a niche field that he has a Wikipedia article dedicated to his accomplishments within it.
Put simply, don’t date, dump and blog. Just do the first two and let everyone else get on with their lives. And do me a favour: notice that the women who got sexually assaulted and/or plain assaulted still didn’t use full names–in situations where they likely should have. A man who will offer to drive you home and try to send you through his windshield when you’re downtown is a man that mothers should warn their daughters about. That’s a man who subverts the trust that other users put into online dating sites; that’s a man that’s legitimately dangerous and should be avoided at all costs, if not arrested for his clearly criminal actions.
A guy who thinks that mentioning that he’s a world champion at a competitive trading card game will hurt his chances of getting dates on OkCupid? Who waits until he thinks he’s formed an actual connection with you, but not until you’re on your second date, to tell you that he’s kind of a big deal at a nerdy thing? A guy who recognizes and has to deal with the fact that his status in an arena that gets no love from single women on dating sites, even online? That’s not really a guy worth shaming online by using his full name.
In my books, that’s a guy with niche interests whom you didn’t get along with; whom I think is worth buying a beer for.
And they let you write for Gizmodo, but not people like me. I wonder why that is, Alyssa.
An addendum (9:45pm): for those of you out there in the Twittersphere who think she has any semblance of class, and must have asked Mr. Finkel for permission to use his name and shame him publicly for playing a trading card game on one of the internet’s leading English language tech blogs, think again. According to Jon Finkel’s twitter feed (nerds have those too, as well as people who are turned off by professional card players, Ms Bereznak), he had no idea the article existed until it was published.
So, to recap: have bad date, let guy off hook. Up until then, you’re pretty classy. Share a couple stories with friends, don’t name him, go back to dating. That’s how we all work.
What Ms. Bereznak did: have bad date, let guy off hook, write article about what a big creep he is while using his full name without telling him first, abuse your position at Gizmodo to publish it where thousands will see, say it’s supposed to be a “cautionary tale” of online dating and act like that’s your own defense. Thanks, Alyssa. You raise the classiness of the entire internet.