Paper illustration by Sarah Decker

Facebook Failure

You get what you pay for on free dating apps?

I have given up on dating.

Not just dating, I’ve pretty much ruled out having a relationship with anything but my pets and my work.

And it’s fine. Better than fine really. And better than the carnage that is the online dating pool.

I am a journalist, so when Facebook debuted “Facebook Dating,” I told myself I’d make a profile out of journalistic curiosity.

I stopped dating a while back, not due to any particularly bad date (though I have had many) but because I realized that I wasn’t really feeling a pressing need to be with somebody. I like my life — I have a good job as the editor of a newspaper, good friends and an intense hobby competing my horse.

Someone would have to be pretty damn amazing for me to want to make room for them.

I have to tell you, if we base the dating options in the Lane County area on what’s available free online, I am absolutely going to die alone.

When I opened the heart tab on the Facebook app, I had to admit it wasn’t just for journalism — there’s romantic curiosity in me, too. I mean, maybe someone so fabulous is out there whom I’d be willing to share my evenings with — rather than sipping whiskey on the sofa watching Outlander and The Good Place with my dogs. Someone I’d be willing to shower off the horsey barn smell for before climbing into bed.

But I doubt it.

“Find love through what you like,” Facebook Dating says. Find “People who like what you like.”

My hit is all the stalkery stuff that Facebook does, creeping on your life via your phone and computer theoretically results in finding you the perfect match. 

Let’s talk about the kinds of things a journalist Googles over the course of the day. Suicide, guns, white supremacy and adult porn shops are all in today’s search history.

According to Facebook, matches are based on your likes and groups you are in. Awesome. Lane County Mugshots Uncensored is totally where I am going to meet my perfect life partner. 

My Google history and interesting Facebook group choices are the only viable explanation I have for the dating options showing up for me.

Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t extend to noting that as a newspaper editor I care about things like sentences and grammar. So the guy whose self-description is “I HOPE EVERYONE IS HAVE A NICE DAY” (all caps in original) is probably a truly sweet person, but not the next love of my life.

Nor is the guy whose photo of himself leaning on a pickup truck parked in front of a porta-potty with a profile talking about his love of “skinny dippin running around naked in the house,” though I am totally down with the idea he has a positive body image and a very different idea than I do about what’s a good photographic background.

Go ahead, judge me for being judgmental.

I am being judgmental — when you are online shopping for the love of your life, you have to take it at least as seriously as buying dog treats on Amazon. Some things are just more in keeping with what I am looking for.

I finally ran into the dealbreaker the other day. Scrolling along, deciding whether to hit “Like” or “No Thanks” (generally “No Thanks,” as I am a dating pessimist) I found a guy who’d taken the trouble to answer some of the dating questions. Questions like, “The song that always gets me on the dance floor is…” and “My idea of the perfect day is…”

Replying to the question of “Something I’m embarrassed to admit that I love is …” (I assume they are looking for things like Peeps at Easter or bad TV shows) this fine fellow cheerfully responded: 

“My orgasm while doing meth.”

Clearly, sir, you are not that embarrassed. You are also not my next life partner.

I am going to stick to the sofa and the dogs.