September 01, 2008
I'm can accept that I'm a difficult person to match, but online dating sites say they can do it, so I expect them to do it. I haven't paid for subscriptions to other sites because every time I look at the alleged "matches" I get results that are so inappropriate as to be laughable. For example, Match.com asks me about my religion. Atheist. Check! How important is it to me? So important that I'd rather shave my eyebrows off with a belt sander than date someone who believes in magic. Check! Then, they send me an email with my matches and there's a Mormon in there.
It really seems like finding a man who is both rational (read: Objectivist) and physically attractive AND also compatible with me along other criteria is extremely improbable. I'm not willing to give any of that up. Because let's do be clear: I've met men who are physically attractive, but not philosophically attractive. I've met men who are philosophically attractive and physically attractive, but not well-disposed to dating me due to geography, age, occupation, interests, or even just personality. I need it all.
I don't even care to guess at the odds of meeting a match, though. Thinking about those odds has never really bothered me before. I think the fact that when I lived in Georgia, I didn't often see physically attractive men, it didn't bother me as much. I think I imagined that there were lots of people around who were intellectual matches, but there wasn't any reason to find out if I am not even physically attracted to them. Here in NYC, there is no shortage of attractive men, but that immediately opens the door to judging them on other criteria. What I've found is that there are a lot of numbskulls and jackasses out there.
While I've been saying, "Oh, I don't want to date," the reality is that I would really very much like to date. I am just really tired of terrible people. I haven't identified yet why I even bother thinking about them at all. At this moment, my best guess is that it's because they're all over the place and lots of them are really hot.
I don't know what made me think of it, but when I came home, I went to The Atlasphere to see if there was anyone there who might be a good match. I've been there before and looked at profiles, but I haven't seen anyone who really interested me. But this evening, I saw two or three people who looked cool, so I actually signed up for the service and emailed two of them. I will contemplate emailing the third one.
This may turn out to be a waste, but I guess it did make me think a little better of my dating prospects.
I thought I was fine with the idea of being single for the rest of my life. But I think the person who has actually accepted that possibility doesn't spend so much time thinking about his prospects at all. In the past, I think I've managed this just due to my generally positive outlook on the topic, but recently my frustration about it has gotten the better of me.
Every is implies and ought. I do want to date, so I ought to get out there and look where dates can be found.
So, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully, this one guy will write back to me soon and take me up on my request for a meeting even though I don't have the brown eyes he likes.
Posted by: WillySF at September 02, 2008 08:53 AM (+essG)
But Willy, philosophical compatibility is the most important of all the necessary traits in a potential romantic partner. I, too, come from a fundamentalist Christian background, and sometimes I do indeed worry that I've transferred the "cultishness" of my past religious life to my Objectivist attitudes. But dedication to one's convictions is never bad - not even for religionists. A conviction is a kind of idea, and valuing ideas is always a good thing, even when those ideas are incorrect. I'd rather be confronted with a religionist who cares passionately about his ideas than an ambivalent nihilist who is willing to be used by any power-seeker. At least I share a sense of values with the religionist; this is more that can be said for the nihilist.
And in the romantic aspect of our lives, we must be even more demanding than we are with friends and acquaintances. We have only passing contact with most people and an exchange of mutual values involves very little personal intimacy (that is to say that it doesn't necessarily involve more than that). But the interaction between lovers is the closest connection one can make with another person. The physical connection is only the tip of it, and even that is intense!
Shared values, convictions included, must be complete in every fundamental sense. Disagreements about how to handle situations that involve both partners' well-being can have disasterous consequences, so I'd go so far as to say that not merely values, but virtues as well (i.e. methods of valuing) must be essentially similar. Under ordinary circumstances, you can discover that your trading partner has ideas which are incompatible with your own and you may decide simply to end the relationship.
But the intertwining that occurs when you undertake to trade in the values of your spirit and core-self is not something that you can merely walk away from. The older and more intimate a relationship becomes, the greater the risk you take with your self when you leave open the possibility of serious disagreement.
And that, really, is why I must have philosophical compatibility first and foremost with any potential partner.
Incidentally, if I may venture my own interpretation of Flib's phrasing, I don't think that he meant that his partners must be literally Objectivist in the sense that only those who've had direct contact with and who've deliberately pursued a study of the philosophy. I suspect he meant it as a place-holder for anyone of rational persuasion. (Flib, can you clarify this?) However, although there may be plenty of rational people out there, even among those, explicitly taking ideas seriously is something of a rarity, and Objectivism is the only known rational philosophy. So perhaps Flib can be forgiven if he really only speaks of Objectivists, leaving the rest of the rational idealists as merely implicit.
Reapeat of disclaimer: Speaking only for myself, and not for our illustrious host.
Posted by: Rachel at September 02, 2008 12:41 PM (g6BIR)
You and I are the same age and while my dating pool is slightly larger in general because Im not gay, I do live in Progressive Leftyville Mormontown, USA, aka Tucson, Arizona and I was still able to find 3 whole entire (Obejctivist) men on Match.com and The Atlasphere who were great matches. One of which I ended up falling in love with and we are still together.
It just takes some patience.
Posted by: Marnee at September 02, 2008 12:55 PM (/lqv4)
I some times get the feeling my chances are summed up in the last line of this comic
Never entered a romantic relationship so I have no compulsion to seek another except for the reason of curiosity. Truth be told I just want a dance partner at this point in my life.
Posted by: Andrew Baker at September 02, 2008 03:16 PM (/Pip3)
I believe it would be far more rewarding to drop the entire "He must be an Objectivist" criterion since it is kind of rationalist, and instead look for sense of life congruencies. Make explicit what kind of outlook you have on life and the world in general, what is important to you, esp. in terms of character traits (these of course will all be shaped more or less by your Objectivist convictions). And then proceed to look for that in other people. I believe it is important to pay attention to your emotional reaction to such people, and to think about what they reflect about oneself, the other person, and one's relationship to that person. I believe that it is much more practical and rational to judge people in accordance to (a) what your emotional reactions reveal and imply about them, (b) what their words and dees, their whole behavior implies about them, instead of ruling them out solely on the basis of their conscious convictions. This is the reason: One need not be an explicit Objectivist to have a basically rational, benevolent, ambitious, heroic, romantic sense of life, character and outlook on the world, even if one's conscious convictions are deeply mistaken. I know people who have a beautiful sense of life, yet are in some of their conscious convictions, esp. concerning politics, very mistaken. Yet I have fallen in love with one of them, and he is man who takes my breath away (even though he does not seem to feel the same for me). And, if you find people with the right sense of life, they will usually prove to be adherents of reason in some way and open to rational argument. In most cases it is true that, if you want your partner to be an Objectivist, you will have to convince him that Objectivism is true and his believes mistaken. You cannot expect to find your ideal man ready-made and just waiting for you. The probability that you will find an Objecivist who coincidentally at the same time fits your sense of life is very small. (And here in Germany it is virtually zero.) Therefore, you will be more successful if you look for a partner on grounds of sense of life congruence -- because you do not fall in love with a person's conscious convictions, but with his general outlook on the world, his personality, his sense of life -- and then try to help him to further reshape and refine his soul as softly and as rationally as possible on the basis of the good premises he already holds.
Posted by: Sascha Settegasts at September 02, 2008 03:55 PM (ScTzj)
Also, I think it's perfectly appropriate for a person to decide that he/she only wants to date Objectivists. For me, the philosophy is simply too important to my daily life. A person who isn't an Objectivist wouldn't have a hope of understanding me -- or what I'm doing most of the time. And dammit, I don't want to have to explain all that.
Plus, I would find the man's various wrong views quite intolerable. I'd either have to ignore what he was saying half the time or argue him into abject submission. Neither way would be good. In general, I would hate to play the role of the tutor with someone I was dating. It would give me too much control over him, and I would lose respect for him as a result. (That's not true of everyone: men seem better able to that with women than vice versa.)
So for me, only a reasonably well-formed Objectivist could ever be a candidate for a romantic interest. Happily, I've already got him, and I'm not letting go!
Posted by: Diana Hsieh at September 02, 2008 05:13 PM (th+Mi)
Usually, I find it rather tiring to correct the bromides of people who do not think. But with the type of person I mean and described it is different, because he _is_ a person who thinks, and who (in my case) is very intelligent, too. So he is mistaken in some things (but incredibly right in others) and not very well-educated philosophically, but his arguments and questions are intelligent, and thus it is a pleasure discussing things with him, and sometimes even a challenge. Honest interaction with a basically rational mind is always an enjoyable experience, even there is disagreement.
Of course, it takes longer until both partys have figured out their sense of life congruencies and developed enough of an understanding for each other to really fall in love. (And yes, explicit convictions that are important to oneself can be a valid reason to dismiss the other person right away.) Naturally, that is accomplished more easily and faster if both people do share the same philosophical convictions, e.g. if both are Objectivists. But in neither case can self-explanation be avoided, because even if both are Objectivists that doesn't mean that you as a person are readily understandable to the other party.
Posted by: Sascha Settegast at September 02, 2008 08:09 PM (ScTzj)
That said, don't you think that eliminating ninety-five percent of the men you'll come across based upon their philosophical or spiritual beliefs is a poor way to start dating?
That depends on what you want to accomplish, doesn't it? I, for one, do not want to spend my time explaining repeatedly how idiotic, unproductive, and dangerous it is to believe in magic, for example, when I could be sharing pure, undistracted life experiences with a mate.
Don't you think that it would be far more edifying to entertain a relationship with an individual who does not share your brand of philosophy?
No, I do not.
What could be more satisfying intellectually – somebody who simply falls lock-step into your Weltanschauung, or somebody who challenges your ideas?
You've proffered a false and ridiculous, unrealistic dichotomy here.
Posted by: Flibbert at September 02, 2008 10:41 PM (xzhy1)
A friend of mine met his boyfriend there a couple of years ago, actually. I do intend to attend it next year, but that intention is contingent upon several factors. It was very disappointing not to make it this year, though, so my efforts will be more concerted next time around to make it happen.
Posted by: Flibbert at September 03, 2008 12:01 AM (xzhy1)
Posted by: WillySF at September 03, 2008 03:16 PM (+essG)
Posted by: Flibbert at September 03, 2008 08:06 PM (xzhy1)
The Atlasphere's dating service has a selecty-box for religion.
And it contains more than just "Atheist."
This I find discouraging.
Posted by: Qwertz at September 06, 2008 04:26 PM (cpIKH)
However, it seems to me that my odds are a little bitter there than elsewhere when it comes to online dating.
Posted by: Flibbert at September 06, 2008 06:06 PM (xzhy1)
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