Online Dating in the Post-Television Age

Television is designed to induce the desire to purchase, regardless of whether actual advertising is viewed. In the absence of commercials, values are engineered right within the program itself, with those values resulting in purchasing decisions, particularly if anxiety in terms of one’s failure to conform to prevailing values is triggered. Fear of isolation from prevailing cultural values combined with engineered agoraphobia is sort of the alternating current of media. Conformity to prevailing values is a feature of Western femininity and all those persons (males, generally speaking) who desire to navigate Western femininity, whether to sell themselves, goods, or services to that consumer base, need to be cognizant of them.

Determining the commercial interests which sponsor a particular show is a game because mere product placement is not necessarily an indicator. Rather, today, values-conditioning is the more likely culprit.

Anxiety followed by relief is the rhythm of the pervasive chant of media. The likelihood of inducing a particular conscious or subconscious response is heavily studied, often using volunteers. That’s right, advertisers and program developers don’t even need to pay guinea pigs but rather merely hold out the inducement of participation in media. That elusive sense of “immortality” gained by participation is enough inducement for a broad pool of volunteers. As for those not susceptible to such an inducement, such persons are not generally as susceptible to advertising itself and therefore their participation level is moot.

Media, generally speaking, consists of words and pictures. Sometimes the words are on a page and other times they are spoken. Sometimes the pictures are stationary and affixed to paper media and other times they are animated.

Online personal ads are yet another form of media.

While the notion that photography, lighting, and makeup “lie,” when it comes to the appearance of a personal advertiser, few personal ad respondents fully appreciate the sophistication of the average media producer or consumer. To compound the confusion, persons viewing advertising with the intent to “purchase” resent those purchases made with the aid of media that turn out to be misleading. When the product purchase can be easily returned, customer satisfaction may be restored. Returning products costs a product manufacturer money and time and therefore portraying the product accurately must be weighed against the possibility that the consumer may fail to buy an accurately portrayed product. Sophisticated analysis and metrics are available to retail distributors at a price, even if that data is obtained by in-house or less-than-objective talent. Achieving the proper balance of market penetration while preferentially appealing to consumers too lazy or disempowered to return a regretted purchase is the key to successful marketing, generally speaking, for a short-term return, which, is all that matters nowadays when it comes to consumer-based advertising.

When it comes to the personal ad, if one wants a large pool of guinea pigs to choose from, one is wise to follow marketing principles and otherwise offer just enough of a myth and just enough honesty such as to ensure a response. However, when it comes to targeted marketing, that is, only a particular type of consumer is desired, the challenges take on the weight of the shifting notion of trends promoted by other forms of media.

I have no idea whether I have enough of a finger on the pulse of today’s trends in those men interested in selecting a woman like me and therefore I rely on honesty in order to portray myself; because then at least, if the “buyer” wishes to return me to the factory, “deceptive advertising!” is not a charge I need to address.

Similarly, I also expect “honesty,” within the limits of today’s decaying and diversifying concepts of the English language.

However it is specific statistics which are the most powerful marketing tools for today’s Westerner. It doesn’t matter if the statistics are misleading or whether an individual doesn’t possess the characteristics presumed to accompany such statistics. Once those statistics are on the table, no amount of persuading the consumer that the statistics are misleading will stick.

Therefore, people—including nice people—can be expected to “lie” about those stats.

The standard stats in online dating sites of my acquaintance are:








There might even be indicators of class, income, education level, and zip code. Otherwise, language alone can guide in that identification, along with the assumption that like-seeks-like in that regard. Even if that assumption is false.

Are there acceptable excuses for lying in a personal ad? I believe that there are. However, such excuses or rationalizations are highly individual and individuality is not generally admired by Americans of my acquaintance. Conformity is, because, conformity is a feminine social feature, and female approval of one’s choices is necessary for navigating society. Since, however, I prefer to appeal to mavericks with no particular compunction for appealing to feminine-dominated society, I am obliged to make up my own rules.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found an online dating service which is conducive toward my making my own rules.

Intent, whatever that is, matters. The only way that I am personally capable of judging intent is by preponderance of the evidence, namely consistency of character represented in all electronic communication. However, if the media is the message then consistency isn’t always possible.

Still, it would be nice if I could manually weight the various factors and statistics provided by each dating site in terms of my own values. For example, I may be less concerned about certain nationalities or heights than the next woman; however that information is generally useful if not determinative. There are nationality/height combinations I find less-than-optimum in terms of my own profiling methods; therefore race and height alone is nearly useless to me. Weight is also nearly useless because it doesn’t address the composition of that weight such as bone and muscle density, frame size, etc. Age is useful in terms of shared or diverse cultural memory. Some sort of health metric that I can believe in would also be helpful to me if not necessarily determinative. I suppose that body composition metrics are too much to ask for in an online dating site?

Therefore, although statistics are useful they don’t in themselves define the person, and therefore, why wouldn’t some people lie about them in order to achieve maximum penetration of the desired marketing demographic? If prevailing agoraphobia means that a chance, real-life meeting of my desired demographic is slim, then I have no choice but to advertise. However, my experience is that my statistics aren’t adequate for screening. I don’t necessarily attract the sort of demographic I desire because in my case like is not necessarily attracted to like and the book is not necessarily indicative of its cover; but rather, I tend to be more attracted to opposites. Specifically, although I could easily be characterized as an intellectual, I’m not particularly attracted to liberal academics or persons as deeply invested in their minds as I am. Quite the contrary. I could use a break from my own obsessive over-analysis. I could use a direction rather than an excuse to prevaricate.

Moreover, although most of my professions have been “white collar,” I tend to be more attracted to “blue collar” types or persons as capable of actually accomplishing something in the physical world rather than just talking about it. Of course, I understand, that as we age, a more managerial approach may be necessary. However, I seem to be lacking in both managerial and physical world skills. I apologize in advance. However, I tend to compensate for my lack of those skills by dedication, patience, consideration, and obedience. Surely, I could not possibly be expected to bond with my own kind. We wouldn’t survive!

Although I am certainly capable of being assertive and self-directed professionally, I could not be described as either sexually or romantically dominant. Moreover, although I have strong opinions on matters of sociology, politics, religion, and economics, I do not require absolute agreement on those issues in order to be romantically interested in someone.

Then there’s my height and weight. As far as I can tell, given that I was, up until recently, an avid weight lifter, my height and weight combination is not usual for my sex and size. I am extraordinarily dense. Nutritionally, my objective is bone density. Therefore, my bodily measurements are a far more accurate representation of my fitness level than are height and weight numbers and I do not require similarity in body type. Moreover, I do not even have a preference for men who are taller than me. Given that I’m often the tallest person in the room, at 5′-10″, if I were particular in that regard I would not have had nearly the breadth of romantic experiences that I have had.

I have come up with some seemingly random qualifiers which are not so fixed in stone as to be immutable. Some of them are arcane. This is not a great strategy if my objective is to get the maximum amount of hits from consumers disinclined to return the product upon receipt. This is not my objective. Quantity of respondents is tedious. Quality however is impossible.

I despise online dating but not so much as to entirely give up on it.

6 thoughts on “Online Dating in the Post-Television Age

  1. Pingback: Online Dating in the Post-Television Age |

  2. re: ” I could use a break from my own obsessive over-analysis.”

    Sounds like me, but at age 78 I am ever more impatient with this tendency. As i find myself ‘analyzing’ (picking apart) something, I stop myself and sort of chant, internally, ‘it is what it is because it is what is.’ Or something to that effect. I ask myself do I really need to know some cause for this effect, especially with the knowledge that everything is multi-factorial? Om…..

    • Personally, over-analysis is something I enjoy; however, if it interferes with intimacy with say normal people then it’s time to take a break from it. I’m good with breaks.

      Similarly, I enjoy embroidering–the old-fashioned way. It’s tedious and oddly attracts critics who explain to me that there are machines who can do it “better”. I laugh at such impatient technophiles.

      It would seem to me that if women were to get together and do needlework more often they might be less inclined to “embroider” gossip, etc., while meanwhile create one-of-a-kind pieces of art (I don’t use a “kit”). However, such a “democratic” art form that anyone can do (but doesn’t because “a machine can do it better”) doesn’t have a lot of monetary value except to a peculiar sort of collector or for the individual friend or family member who displays it proudly.

      As for my own hyper-analysis, it served me well as a technical writer which of course is no longer valued by the more telephone-inclined, who, apparently, are the majority of the consumer. I’m not sure why hyper-analysis is less popular than extended telephone conversations albeit I suspect that human brains are being trained out of reading (because there are too many seditious ideas put down in printed reading and perhaps less of them in video/audio formats) and otherwise use their brains to process only that which they can see, with high-technological production values. Such training might cause the ordinary person to ignore odd little persons (with “little” being entirely facetious) like me.

      Oh well. Ta ta.

  3. The medium is the message in the end. The manner of discourse on Twitter is a feature and not a bug. Anyone who is attracted to your writing wants something entirely different from life…

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