Tech

Why Do I Get So Much Hate Mail For My OkCupid Profile?

It’s just one little line.

I’m on OkCupid. When I signed up, I thought I’d be upfront about what I’m about and what kind of guy I’m looking for. I feel like a d-bag saying this, but: I would really like to have a taller boyfriend. (I’m 5’10”.) I made the mistake of amending my “You should message me if…” section to say something along the lines of, “If you’re not lying about your height!” (because they DO), but in a more charming way. I got SO much nasty hate mail from that little line. Was I in the wrong?

Any woman on OkCupid for more than two weeks who DOESN’T subsequently add a thinly veiled threat to the “You should message me if” portion of her profile is either a) blessed, perhaps overly so, with an inhuman patience or b) living in utopia, where one does not receive dozens of messages so aggressively stupid/offensive/insane from people so frequently WELL outside the age boundaries she’s set that she’s able to keep that portion of her profile purely friendly and cute. (What you put isn’t a “threat” PER SE, but you know what I mean. It’s OK, I FEEL YOU.)

You’re right. Lying about one’s height is an epidemic. I don’t know why. Everyone will know. That being said, if I were you, I’d take out that line — just because it isn’t serving its purpose, which is keeping people you don’t want to date at bay — and just check the heights of people you’re interested in. Whatever they’ve listed, subtract 2 to 3 inches, depending on what they say. (If they’ve posted 6’4” or over? It’s the truth.) It’s OK to want to date someone taller. It limits your selection, but you know that and I know that. (Is it true for you, too, that it’s always the shortest girls telling you to date below your height? Ugh.) Carry on, and never for one second think that something must be wrong just because three jerks on OkCupid told you it was.

What is the acceptable response to someone completely cutting off online connections with you with no explanation or warning? This happened to me recently with a “friend” of eight years. My first instinct was to wonder if I had said something interpreted as hurtful. After no contact for about a week, I sent an email asking if I had done something wrong, and that I value her friendship, etc. No response. I followed up two weeks later, and still nothing.

Who has been going around telling everyone that it’s better to problem-solve by ignoring your problems than by fighting about them? Seriously, who? Because I’ve noticed that everyone is a coward and it’s only gotten worse since I’ve been alive. The fear of confrontation is my absolute least favorite, least tolerated fear. If you don’t like something someone’s said or done, if there is a problem in your relationship with another adult human being, you (and I mean the whole world) need to fucking SAY SOMETHING. It’s going to be OK. Not everybody has to like you, and besides — keeping your problems to yourself doesn’t even make you more likable anyway. It just makes you a very bitter doormat.

It is your former friend’s fault, dear letter-writer, for being so unwilling to tell you what it was that made her stop wanting to communicate with you. Doing that kind of thing with no reason (as your much longer original letter, if all fair, made clear) is inexcusably rude, so if all you’re able to leave this situation with is a large “WTF” thought bubble, know at least that someone on the Internet was (mostly) on your side.

The thing is, as much as I hate when people (don’t) handle their issues like your friend didn’t handle hers, you and I both need to remind ourselves that even if the way she behaved was rude, she probably had SOME kind of reason. Who knows what it was! It doesn’t really need to have made sense. And if whatever it was made her want to stop being your friend, she’s allowed to stop being your friend. You’ve done all that you can do here — a response when you first notice the cutoff, and a follow-up after a bit of time. She’s seen it. If she wanted to reply, she would have. The best you can do is take it as a lesson, and be forever direct (and courteous!) with the rest of this thoroughly unintelligible human race from this day forward.

Is there a point at which it’s too late in the evening to initiate a text conversation with someone? I basically remembered at 11:30 p.m. last night that I needed to ask somebody something. I didn’t need an immediate response but I was afraid I’d forget. My wife thought I was wrong and that doing so was rude. I ended up grumblingly setting a reminder to myself to send the text the next morning. Who was right?

It has been my dream, from day one on this column, that I would eventually be forced to take a side between boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives. There’s little I love more than taking sides, especially among relative strangers I will likely never meet in person. Some people might be wary of taking definitive yes-no relationship/texting advice from someone in my position, but you trust me enough to put your whole marriage in my hands. (What if relationships had to be submitted for Internet approval? Thumbs up if they can stay together. This is…no, it’s a bad idea.)

Sorry, I got carried away. You’re right and your wife is wrong, but other than that, things sound pretty good. One of the reasons why is this: Your wife was ALMOST right. It really could have gone the other direction pretty quickly. Here’s why: The cutoff point is midnight (in the time zone of the specified recipient). I know it sounds arbitrary, but it…is. But it’s an educated arbitrariness. Midnight is a time when many people are either still up or recently in bed. It’s late, but not obscenely so. That said, the phone reminder to text the next morning seems to have worked out well. So I’m letting you both off with a warning. This time.

FWD: Halp! is a weekly advice column on how to behave like a person when using technology. Would you like said advice? Email your questions to Katie.

Katie Heaney is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed FWD. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the Internet.

Illustration by Cara Vandermey

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