html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Beyond parody.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Beyond parody.

I'm pretty ambivalent about posting this, mostly because some of you have written me to ask me out and I keep putting it off. I honestly really am looking foward to meeting those of you a couple hours away, but I just don't know when I'm both going to be there and have enough time to meet up. Also, even though this is the new, open-minded Megan who isn't going to rule anything out, in my heart of hearts I keep hoping to date someone local, who can meet me at the park minutes after I call. So this morning I was inspired and I posted this on Craigslist:

You know whom I really want to date? I want to date one of those twinkly-eyed grad students with a beard. Not necessarily one who is in grad school, or one with a beard, but one of those thoughtful, cheerful, feminist guys who amble through the halls of their department and who are so kind in office hours (sadly, not the type of office hours I could write letters to Penthouse Forum about). Those guys have dogs, and do projects, and are often Jewish, and play sports. The pretty ones are graceful and slightly bow-legged, but the key is the smiley eyes.

Thing is, I don’t meet guys like that here. Where are you, bearded grad-student guy? Don’t tell me you are home with your wife and baby, ‘cause that doesn’t help. Are you out in the field, tracking Sudden Oak Death? ‘Cause if you came home to me sweaty and hungry, I would have dinner waiting and join you in a cool shower. Have you just not had time to call, because you finally got scheduled for some time on the telescope? Well baby, you can wake me when you call; I would never want to miss talking to you. Are you at some local café, working on a proof? I would meet you there, but bring a book so I won’t interrupt you. Just smile at me when I get there, so I can watch the lines around your eyes crinkle.

Are you at the secret Sacramento hang out of bearded grad-student guys, where dozens of you joke around and build things and complain about how you can’t meet easygoing, stacked, blue-eyed brunettes with more degrees than you who are ready to settle down into a routine of lots and lots of blissful, raunchy sex? ‘Cause, holy shit. I need to know where that is.

(Fellas, if you are not a bearded grad-student guy, or you aren’t sure if you are but you went to grad school, please do not write me just because I mentioned sex. I’m not going to answer many emails from this; just the ones that sound really promising. Also, if I do answer your email, I don’t want to have a long correspondence before we meet. Hope to hear from you, bearded grad-student guy!)

I'm not going to post the good answers, but some emails are so amazing I had to show you. They make me wish that the clichés weren't so completely inevitable and that I didn't have to wade through them.

Clear out space in the dresser for me, top or bottom
shelf is ok, I like both spots. I'm moving in. Your my
type of lady. Great post, but were already having
issues, just got home, very sweaty, and other things
too, and no, your not going to have dinner ready, one,
you WILL be dinner (my favorite type of dinner, love
to eat down south, and am dam good at it), I'll grill
some steaks on the grill, after dinner. But where in
the hell are you? I'm getting in the shower, with out
you? Whats the problem, dear??? Not a grad student,
but thinking of going to grad school now, and shoot
for the PHD after that. Why couldn't this be last
year, when I had a beard, going with the shaved head,
and goat-tee look now. But dam, may never shave
again!! Just so you have hair, one of us going to need
something to pull. I'm a white male, 40, its OK, you
need an older man in your life anyway. retried from
the NFL, football, but do not watch sports much, been
there, done that. In banking now, Sooooooo tell me
more. You sound sooooooo dam hot!! Forget the coffee
house, let hit the brewy instead.

I know I mentioned sex, but did you have to tell me about how you love to eat down south? In your first (and hopefully only) email to me? We haven't even met, Mr. Former Football Player.

This guy isn't such a giver, although it appears that he also enjoys oral sex:
.... I'm looking for a nice bj, sucking me dry, hopefully weekly and I pay $100 cash ($400 monthly).... I'm very healthy, love to cum and cum when told.... 6', brown hair, hazel eyes, professional occupation, honest and easy going.......Flexible schedule around the Sacramento area…………. Picture? interested?

sweet thoughts.........

This one arrived within minutes of posting my ad:
You are over educated, and under experienced. Get a life, instead of a book. Do something. Poor girl.

I'm adding that to the Wall of Shame. I'll post other funny responses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about that bearded man with the smiley face and lots of projects? Whats his name, lives near Tora bora cave (don't mention anything about jews though)

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the kid in the picture yours? 'Cause, a lot of guys might be alright with that, but I'm not sure if that's the filter you're looking for...

2:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Kid in the picture is my perfect nephew.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Ahh, interesting point. Megan, please remove the offending perfect nephew so you don't give people the wrong idea.

Also, I think being open about sex is great, in person, but maybe you should remove all but the slightest mention of it in an ad that's not supposed to lure pervs. For example, if you toned down the sex part, then the awesome sex could be a surprise bonus. What do you think? (I sound like my mother.)

4:06 PM  
Blogger m/p said...

i hate it when people dont edit their spelling.

tehy git on mi dam nreves.

have you ever answered a craigslist ad? i have, and ive some successes.

and if you find your bearded-grad student guy, let me know where so i can stake out that location.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Megan,

I agree with Dubin. I think it's ok to be vivacious in your ad and be willing to talk straight about sex. But your sexy side is not your comparative advantage in this enterprise. I'd use the space to emphasize your passions, your athleticism, and your intellectual curiosity.

When you give attention to sex, it encourages men to post replies coined at the same mint, so to speak. So, while I can see why you (or I) wouldn't like talk of "going South" in someone's first contact with you, I was a bit confused to see you as somehow surprized by this kind of response given your lead.

Good luck!


6:05 PM  
Blogger Omar said...

I agree with ennis: you're 80% of the way to a sparkling profile on nerve, jdate or even match. Nerve's demo skews overeducated, I assume the same for jdate. On match you can filter on education. It ain't the stuff of fairytales but, then, rarely is solitude either.

If the bearded-grad student watering hole were online, would you take a sip?

6:08 PM  
Blogger Pandax said...

A very bold and wonderful posting. I hope you find a decent man.

In the meantime, I would agree about toning down the sex part. I had a discussion with a friend about eHarmony and the "Must Have/Dislikes" section. Generally, when I guy lists anything about needing sex in his top ten, we agreed it usually tranlates into a delete. Unless a person is looking for just sex, it's an understood part of a relationship that's better discussed after meeting.

However, you certainly get some entertaining responses...

10:32 PM  
Blogger Macneil Shonle said...

I'm a bearded, thoughtful grad student, and, indeed, I am at home with my wife.

FWIW (and please take this all with a grain of salt) all of that talk about sex would have simply turned me off.

Here are qualities that I believe someone like me would be looking for: Intelligence, attractiveness, trustworthiness, dependability, consistency, and ready-to-commit.

Now, you mention "settle down" but in the very process of saying that you communicate the exact opposite. You see, people who really want to "settle down" don't think of it in those terms. Instead, they would use terms like "serious relationship" or "looking to share my life." Saying "yeah, I want to settle down into a routine" more sounds like you're trying to convince yourself than others.

Thus, were I looking for a long term, serious relationship that could lead to a marriage, I would skip over your ad. There's just so much uncertaintly floating in there I'd be concerned: "Gee, sounds like she really needs a lot of sex. I'm a little more conservative than that and if I can't keep up with her wild standards, does that mean she'll cheat on me on the side?"

Now, from reading your blog and knowing more about you, I know that's not the case at all. But with limited information you have to act on what you know, and the signal you're sending in just those four paragraphs to that nice guy is one simple, unambiguous message: Run.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you always lie down with your head to the north Megan?

7:34 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Yes, in my bed at night and on the couch where I read. That's a little creepy. Are you watching through the windows?

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not always through the windows. Sometimes you close the blinds, then I've gotta sneak in through the backdoor with the raccoons.

The view from under your bed isn't all that great. You always shut the bathroom door when you shower. But, at least I don't have to worry about too much bouncing around on the bed making my stay uncomfortable.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Naw, that's a different Megan. I don't shut the door when I shower, and sometimes, midway through, I'll wonder if the front door is just unlocked, or standing completely open, as usual. And god knows I wouldn't hear an intruder, 'cause the music is way too loud.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People still use craigslist for dating purposes? Are you not familiar with

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photo in the profile makes it appear like you're a single mother and I don't know many grad students who are into being stepdads.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an unbearded grad student who was taking a break from my proofs when Tyler Cowen pointed me here.

I think the talk of sex is find. Obviously it pulls a few weird ones but it also means that your comfortable beeing seen as desirable because you're sexy.

Sadly this is not a forgone conclusion when dating overeducated feminists.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What they all said... Note especially the "I'm a little more conservative than that..."

The word "feminist" (by which you probably just mean NOT Neanderthal-dictatorial-entitled), might filter out almost every good man as I, a (30+ year) happily married woman, understand good men. See a lightweight novel called Blue Shoes and Happiness.

I'm always sorry to hear my girlfriends when they think they should target politically progressive PC Sierra Club types. Even allowing for tastes, that disfavors too many aspects of what makes a man a robust prospect, and favors some bad-bet outliers. You are dealing with reality here dearie, not wishful thinking.

Good luck. Going hunting in the marshes may be better than bird calls.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here thanks to Marginal Revolution (you can thank Cowen later for the plug). Interestingly enough, I did my graduate work on dating using profiles.

Your profile was more interesting than most that I read. I noticed alot of the female profiles said very generic things. Not very exciting, and even less so when you're trolling for data.

The sex talk will attract guys that...hmmm, are not what you seem to be angling for. Be unique (and please, have a picture without a kid), but don't mention sex. In terms of active users, men outnumber women in online dating. This is very obvious when I was looking at profiles, maybe 1 out of a hundred females profiles would be "online now!" but more than half the men would be.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think of it this way. If you were a man, and spent hours and hours crafting a high-quality personals ad, you would get ZERO replies from women (not counting solicitations from hookers). Along the same line, you could spend a great deal of time and effort crafting replies to women's ads, and you'd never hear back from any. Personals ads work supremely well for women and are a total waste of time for men.
We're basically losing a whole generation of men in America who can't find women.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got here from Asymmetrical Information by way of Tyler Cowen, just because, as my mother use to put it, I'm a nebshit.

One hopefully helpful note (not on your personal problems): Unless you have a P.E. remove the title "Engineer" from your description and replace it with something like "Degree in Engineering" or "Job Title - Engineer". When I lived in CA, had a cow-orker describe himself as an engineer in one of those man-in-the-street TV interviews, and he got a really nasty letter from the Engr and Surveyor Board which said they couldn't find his name on the PE list, and threatened a large fine if he ever did it again.

BTW, you're a lot cuter than any other female engineer I've known.

Good luck on your quest.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd send you a message if I lived in Sacramento.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sex in a relationship is only assumed toward the beginning. A man needs to be re-assured that the woman is actually interested in sex, rather than simply faking interest for a while in order to convince a man to marry her.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think mentioning sex (as in 'hot raunchy sex') is a bad strategy: it sends the wrong signal.

Women win when they are just a little bit coy as in 'oh and sex, too'.

Mention sharing showers, imply seductiveness and sensuality. Just don't put it in the shop window.

Women's power in romantic relationships is a lot about mystery and 'will she or won't she'.

Apologies if that is contrary to prevalent feminist theory, but whilst I despise the general sentiments of 'the Rules', I find men (ie my gender) tend to live down to my expectations of them.

I met the woman I married by mentioning 'fetish clubbing' *in* my ad. But oddly, I didn't mention sex (although one would presume the mention of the former implies baroque tastes in the latter). It was important to me to be honest, as you really can't tell what someone will think about things like that unless you raise it with them, and I had had too many false positives.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Reading the responses to this post reminds me why my programmer/engineer self really enjoys spending time with significantly less analytical types. Mostly the comments here are giving you carefully crafted advise on how to maximize the efficacy of your post and I think they miss the point.

Your post was good writing. It was vivid, it was personal, it was unique. I never did grad school but was much more serious than most in my undergrad days. Your post brought images of particular people from those days to mind, made me smile, and made me remember the peculiar smell of the air in the quiet research labs where I spent much time.

Playing the online dating game like it's an extension of corporate politics or worse, a branding exercise, makes me ill. I've got a bit of a crush on your blog (I can't really say I've got a crush on you since I've never met you, and that's fine) and if I read that post cold it'd get a small crush going as well. Keep the courage to make your online expression honest, keep the picture of the nephew as long as you like having it there, and good luck with the guys behind the interesting responses.

3:05 PM  

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