Male Call: Rescue Me

malecallA common theme in American democracy is the threat to move to Canada if candidate A, B or C gets elected. Now “Maple Match” wants to rescue you from Trump: “Maple Match makes it easy for Americans to find the ideal Canadian partner to save them from the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency.”

This got us wondering what other rescue operations are on offer in the online dating world.

Tired of those slick city dwellers who just want to work out at the gym and sip fine wine? Maybe Farmers Only is your cup of, um, apple jack. We’ve actually mentioned this site in a previous post and have seen ads on TV showing what appears to be wholesome country folk riding horses and snuggling on bales of hay. “City Folks Just Don’t Get it” Nearest competition EquestrianCupid.com

Or perhaps you’re tired of feeling alone, awkward and a burden on your dining companions because you’re gluten-free. You can join Gluten Free Singles to “Enjoy Life with a GF Partner.” Presumably they’re affiliated with the popular sister sites, Vaccine-Free Singles, Alien-Free Singles and Aspartame-Free Singles (which we may have just made up).

Possibly the biggest cliché in all dating-dom is the meme, “love to laugh.” In that case, Clown Dating may be your cup of, um, seltzer: “Behind all the make-up and the red nose is a lonely heart.” (Interestingly, in this age of Brexit, the site has a notification of “SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR EU CUSTOMERS: Right of withdrawal.”)

Meanwhile, Mullet Passions – business up front, PARTY in the back – lets you browse the hairspace to find members based on the style of their mullet: classic, mudflap or spiky, or find members who enjoy recreational activities like wrestling, country music or monster trucks.

Another common theme in mainstream dating ads is the search for someone who will value you for your sparkling personality and inner beauty. In that case, Ugly Schmucks may be your huckleberry friend. “People who choose ugly dating are looking for genuine personality over outer appearance and don’t want to be judged for how they look. They can relate to you in ways a non-ugly person could never understand.” Competitor, The Ugly Bug Ball, offers “dating for the aesthetically average.”

Pining for the fjords? Sea Captain Date is there for “any lonely soul who simply yearns for the ocean breeze.”

We were going to leave this one for last but couldn’t wait any longer. Can Do Better allows couples who think they can find a better-looking partner to be rated by members to see if one of you “can do better.”

Just because you’re locked up for life, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love. Women Behind Bars matches jailed ladies with partners. “The Women Behind Bars prison pen pal concept helps create a way for the female prisoners to have a better chance of rehabilitation and establish themselves back in society.” The Male Call Advisory Board™ has a soft spot in our otherwise gnarly hearts for this one because it hearkens back to the very first Male Call column “Dating in Sheriff Joe’s Corral” in which we espoused the benefits of jailhouse romance (“Always know where she is on a Saturday night. • Always know where she is every night • Doesn’t call up at odd hours wondering where I am”).

Armed with these specialized dating sites, can anyone still say there’s no one out there for them?


Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com.


Photo credit: foolishmastermind via Foter.com / CC BY

Male Call: Photo Oops

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

By James Roberts

One of the continuing annoyances on social media sites like Meetup is people’s aggravating insistence on either not including a photo or using a completely pointless shot of a flower or favorite beastie.

Of course the whole point of social media is to make social friends and interact with like-minded social people in your areas of interest whether it be movies, wine tasting, hiking, yoga or swing dancing. It’s also a great way to find out what’s happening in town…so you can be social.

The bogus reasons we hear for not showing a pic include: “I don’t want to be stalked” or “My picture is none of your business.” But what they really mean is: “I want to check you out before you check me out.”

Now in the field of online dating, none of these lame-o excuses apply, yet folks still insist on posting date-scaring pictures of their infant grandkids, besties, beasties and of course, favorite flowers.

You may even be shocked, shocked we say, to hear that sometimes people post a single shot so misleading that you couldn’t pick them out in a crowd of one on top of a desert mountain.

One dating site, DatingFound.com, analyzed over 10,000 images from about 6,800 singles in their database running a wide array of scripts to see which images got the most attention online. They looked at factors like number of clicks, time spent viewing and time lag from viewing to contacting.

As a general rule, people who uploaded four or more photos of themselves received the most messages. (The site didn’t report whether the men just wrote “‘Sup, babe,” which we hear is the preferred greeting for many of the chest-baring, motorcycle-wielding guys.)

Here are the findings.

Ladies: 1) smile; 2) show some cleavage…but not too much; 3) show lifestyle pictures, not bathroom selfies…unless your lifestyle revolves around your bathroom mirror; 4) tilt your head a bit. Note that the cleavage item comes with a warning that while these pics attract more messages, you don’t want to appear, ahem, “over-promising.” Interestingly, “bikini shots are a no-go.”

Men: 1) show confidence and pride; 2) show your fun, playful side that puts your personality and interests out there; 3) include a “happy” pic…but not as your main profile shot; weirdly, a smaller percentage of women in the experiment responded positively to happy images of men; 4) tilt your head.

We’re not sure what this study’s obsession is with head-tilting (they seem to favor the left side with somewhat nebulous neurological nonsense) but the Male Call Photographic Advisory Board™ agrees that it’s generally a more interesting view…especially if your beastie is cocking its head in the background.


Photo credit: Simon_sees via Foter.com / CC BY

Male Call: Just The Facts, Ma’am

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

As tax time rolls around we begin to think about make-believe as we try to convince the TurboTax software that our home office really takes up the entire family room and patio spa. So we thought it might be a good time for an antidote of reality with a round of factation.

While we’re thinking about money, let’s start with personal finance website GOBankingRates, which surveyed a variety of cost factors in each state to find where it’s easiest to keep divorce costs low. Turns out, Arizona comes in around the middle, at #20, while California ranks #1 – the most expensive state in America to file for divorce. In case you’re really serious about this, Wyoming and the Dakota were the cheapest.

For you word factsmiths, New York artist R. Luke DuBois made a digital census map of the U.S. based on dating site profiles. His project, “A More Perfect Union,” includes a map with the most common words used in online dating profiles in various cities. Dubois actually joined 21 different sites on your behalf for this project, surveying 19 million Americans.

Arizona dating census mapEach word on his road map appears in a place where it’s used more frequently than anywhere else in the country. NYC’s word was “now.” Washington D.C. was “interesting.” The capital of Alabama, Montgomery, snagged “conservative.” Phoenix…wait for it…was “Diamondback.” (Other metro Phoenix words included “risky,” “tan,” “jeans,” “carefree,” “pettiness” and then, further north, “rustler,” “cleavage,” “fossil,” “belly” and “candied.” What are you kids up to on the high plains!)

He does have one pretty interesting observation. “Usually there’s two paragraphs, one where you lie – where talk about yourself – and one where you tell the truth – where you talk about the person you want to be with.”

Turning to photos, including your besties in your profile pics is a big no-no. As much as the Male Call Advisory Board™ continues to rant about this, people who use group shots including themselves see 42 percent fewer messages than those who fly solo, according to a 2015 Time magazine article “Data-Backed Tips to Boost Your Online Dating Game.”

Meanwhile, if you’re posing in your main photo with your four-legged bestie, prepare for a 53 percent downhill slide.

We hate to say this, but female profiles with selfies get four percent more messages – while guys suffer an eight percent decrease. Full-body photos users (either men or women) garner 203 percent more inquiries.

Now all you risky, tan, jean’d folks better get going on your taxes since you know, as Steve Miller says, what the facts is.


Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com.


Photo credit: shutterbean via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Male Call: Checkin’ Up on You

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

Online dating is a now $2.1 billion industry with more than 1,500 websites ranging from mainstream services like Match.com with 96 million registered users (as of 2010, but apparently only 1.4M  to 4.3M active users), eHarmony and OkCupid (5.6M) to more specialized dating sites like JDate, GayRomeo, ChristianMingle, Cougar Life and, of course, FarmersOnly (motto: City folks just don’t get it).

However, according to Consumer Affairs, as many as 54 percent of people who date online complained that they encountered false or misleading profile information.

What? We are shocked, shocked we say!

Of course, most online dating sites don’t conduct background checks or verify information. You may come across people with criminal records, married people and people who may be mentally unstable – not to mention men who lie about their height.

To solve this problem, many online daters have turned to background check services.

In their survey of online dealbreakers, the Consumer Affairs report surprisingly found that men are more likely to run a background check than women (14 vs 11 percent) or hire a private investigator (seven vs one percent) but scarily, men were also more likely to follow their prospect home or (blech!) and dig through her garbage (4.5 vs one percent).

On the other hand, the report, as well as the Male Call Advisory Board’s own research indicates that women have more dealbreakers than men. These would include being married, having a wild past, a DUI, and conviction for possession of marijuana or controlled substance.

From what we can tell by perusing online dating sites, women tend to police their prospective beaux mostly by putting up completely pointless warnings such as:

  • “no cheaters”
  • “no players”
  • “must be honest”
  • “no married or separated men,” and especially
  • “no using my publicly available information for your research projects”

As we sometimes point out, these are about as useful as posting a “No ants!” sign at a picnic.

Despite this, the survey found 23 percent of women are willing to date someone who is already married (vs 32 percent of men).

The good news: People are (mostly) unwilling to date serious criminals.


Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com.


Photo credit: ntr23 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Male Call: Serial Adventure

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

By James Roberts

Among the most current and popular dating clichés which gets our dander up (which is mostly wishful thinking these days) is the concept of “serial dating” – as in “No serial daters!”

According to everything I’ve ever heard, the word “serial” should mean: “something that takes place at regular intervals” or “occurring in a series rather than simultaneously.”

Sounds pretty innocent. In fact, it sounds like an idea we could all get behind.

However, it seems the ladies have hijacked the term to mean…well, we had no idea!

The Male Call Advisory Board™ actually queried several gents and not a one had a clue, except we know that women are against it.

This led us to consult a number of women’s magazine websites such as Glamour, allwomenstalk, Huffpost, HerCampus, Oprah’s O Magazine and Fieldwork in Stilettos (see what I have to read for you people?), all of which discuss the concept in detail.

In fact, we found references going back as far as 2007 on Yahoo but the term seems to have really taken off c. 2011-2012.

The aforementioned Stilettos site defines it as “a person who has a large number of short term romantic, physical or sexual relationships, but seems unable to commit or remain in a romantic relationship for any length of time.”

From our review of the, ahem, literature, it’s clear that a serial dater is not to be confused with the “player” who apparently belongs only one Dante’s Level of Hell above “sociopath.”

Other descriptions of the serial dater include “like a kid in a candy store” and “emotional polygamist.”

Turns out there’s also something called  a “serial monogamist,” which, like our dater, sounds pretty innocent and darn-near uplifting in this day of double-dip dating. Alas, the serial monogamist doesn’t fare much better. The kindest definition we could find was “always wants to be in a relationship.”

May we offer a kindly holiday season suggestion before we have our eggnog?

How about we use the season to clean out our closet of dating cliches like “big heart,” “no drama,” “Midwest values,” “last first date,” “friends first” and the death-defying “love to laugh?”

We’ll have that eggnog now…easy on the nutmeg.


Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com.           

Male Call: Straighten Up!

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

Having apparently fought the good fight about bad selfies on your Internet dating profile…and failed miserably…we have a new cause to champion. And we’re pretty sure we’re on track here.

We’re talking about posting photos sideways.

Really, people. Don’t you ever bother to take a look at your own profile? We’ve even seen upside down shots!

And then there’s the grouchies, the fuzzies, the way-too-dark, the way-too-light, the which-one-are-you and the not-even-you-in-the-shot.

There are also what we call Facebook Inspirational Quotes (FIQs) – just a screen shot of some schmaltzy motivational saying that you seem to think helps the potential beau or belle decide if they want to meet you. These are annoying even on Facebook.

See, your Internet profile is not a family vacation slide show (which were never all that fun to start with). Save the shots of your favourite beach, numerous angles of your pets, your kids graduating, you and your besties yokking it up and your adorable grandkids for later. (Fast stat: one of our super-secret sources says that people who use group shots including themselves see 42 precent fewer messages than those who fly solo.)

Sorry to pick on you ladies, but the sideways shots and the FIQs seem to be a distaff habit. (Though guys are not immune; in fact, I just spotted a sideways guy with a dried corn husk emerging from the top of his head.)

From the guys’ perspective, it’s all about letting him know who’s going to sashay through the door of the Starbucks or the wine bar. We’ll be happy to meet your handsome son in his Marines uniform or your darling graduating daughter at some future point. We’ll be happy to walk down your beach or smell your favourite flower once we advance to second base (so to speak).

But all we really need to know, picture-wise, is: Who’s showing up: the lady or the tiger?

So, straighten out those photos, dump the indecipherable ones or the ones that look like you just ate a sour pickle while receiving news that your pet hamster died.

And would it kill you to say, “I’m the blonde on the right”?

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com

Male Call: “Cooling Out” The Date

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

What’s the best way of turning down a suitor, male or female – whether that suitor is an Internet dating correspondent, someone who asks you to dance or someone you just met at an event who wants your phone number?

Of course there’s Seinfeld’s Elaine character in Season 9 who gives a fake number (an off-track betting parlor) to guys she doesn’t have the courage to flatly reject.

Some Internet users simply don’t respond. Others, feeling it’s more polite, say “Don’t be offended if I don’t respond.” Still others simply write “Good luck” or the equally dismissive “Have a good day.”

Back in the days of Mr. Uhl’s School of the Dance (eighth grade), the ladies were firmly instructed that they should never turn down a gentleman’s invitation, but if they did, they should could not accept an immediate invite from another swain. Still a good rule for dance clubs.

Ironically, we may turn to the world of con men for some insight, as offered by my old Annenberg School prof, sociologist Erving Goffman.

He said that sometimes a “mark” is not quite prepared to accept his loss (say, a sidewalk con or sting) and may be inclined to complain to the police. Of course this gives the mob a bad reputation…and it’s bad for business! To avoid adverse publicity, an additional phase is sometimes added at the end of the “play.” It’s called cooling the mark out – exercising the art of consolation. After the “blowoff,” one of the operators stays behind and makes an effort to keep the victim’s anger within manageable proportions.

Goffman writes, “The problem of cooling persons out in informal social intercourse is seen most clearly, perhaps, in courting situations and in what might be called de-courting situations,” which, he says, “requires extreme finesse.”

“De-courting.” Good one, Erv.

We came across just such a situation in real life recently when a certain gent called to say he couldn’t come to our dinner party because he was having a “break-up date.”

The Male Call Advisory Board™ is still scratching our collective heads on that one.

However, we are liking the idea of using an intermediary to “cool out” a pesky beau or beauzo in situations where you have to untie someone who could come back to haunt you.

Happily, there is better research on how to avoid being cooled, that is, what you need to do to keep the romantic parlez going.

It turns out that there are four key things you should do, whether it’s a post-date text or an email.

  1. Ask a question (but not too many): Nothing stops a dialogue like a matter-of-fact answer to something. Keep the conversation going with a pertinent, interesting question about a mutual interest.
  2. Show that you were paying attention by mentioning some aspect of the prior conversation.
  3. Be specific as to a proposed date – not just “Wanna hang out next week?” or “How about going dancing some time?”
  4. Be funny. (Note: this does not mean adding LOL to your texts).

If you can’t be funny, at least don’t pick their pocket.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com

Male Call: Playing Catch…Up

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

It’s time to put on our urban anthropologist hats and examine that peculiar American institution – the Female Catch Up.

By all accounts these meetings involve bonding, gossip, photo exchange and the intimate process of generally finding out what the bestie has been up to in the past 48 to, oh, 4,800 hours.

The actual inner workings seem to be as closely guarded a secret as an Arab wedding where there’s an impenetrable Maginot line separating the genders. (Of course the ladies have no interest in visiting the men’s side where socializing mainly consists of smoking, drinking strong coffee, eating kapsa and paying respects to the tribal leader. But on the women’s side…well…the women are sworn to confidentiality greater than the Bohemian Grove, but with better security.)

In the course of our field work we have both observed from afar and interviewed subjects, but figuring what actually goes on during a femme-a-femme is like guessing what fish are thinking when you tap on the glass.

Field note: When two ladies are tête-à-tête, it doesn’t matter how much testosterone is in the room. Whether it’s a Sunday breakfast at Wildflower or Friday dinners at Chili’s, any men in the area become invisible as the ladies do their business.

Informant note: We are advised that the women are not even slyly checking out the surrounding menfolk. When two women are in “catch up mode,” no male presence but that of a waiter comes into their ken.

So what goes on? From breadcrumbs of clues dropped by some lady friends, we can identify:

  1. Admiration of the other’s shoes
  2. Admiration of children’s/grandchildren’s pictures
  3. Complaints about work
  4. Admiration of latest self-help/motivational authors
  5. Discussion of diets and excellent salads
  6. Complaints about husband’s/boyfriend’s family and, almost incidentally
  7. Discussion of an S.O.’s nasty habits and dawglike ways

What does not go on?

  1. Complaints about how terrible Windows 8 is
  2. Admiration of their S.O.
  3. Admiration of the other’s S.O.
  4. Need to get more gluten in their diet
  5. Cool magic tricks and pranks recently played

Obviously more field research needs to be done. We welcome insights, insider info and whistle-blower exposés – just call yourself “citizenfive” to protect your identity.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com

Male Call: Emotional Sensitivity Delusion Syndrome

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

Now that Valentine’s Day is forthwith, impending and anon, we thought it might be a good time to check out the American Psychiatric Association’s latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) to see what sort of emotional disorders are about to befall the lovelorn.

Alas, the DSM-5 is woefully behind the times when it comes to actual lovelore so the Male Call Advisory Board was forced to make an on-the-fly addition.

To wit: Emotional Sensitivity Delusion (ESD) − the belief, often found on Internet dating profiles, that one is especially in tune with the harmonies of the universe.

This seems to be particularly prevalent among women who are so done with 50 Shades and have taken to re-reading Jane Austen, are considering adding some cats to their repertoire and yoga adherents who have discovered the benefits of gluten-free quantum energy fields.

The symptoms, which, it should be said, can be found in both women and men, are summarized in DSM-5b as follows:

  • belief that one is especially intuitive, sensing signals and emotional currents that others in the room are not aware of;
  • belief that one is particularly adept at reading body language;
  • (women): belief that men are “totally coming on to her” (especially when others on the scene don’t observe this);
  • (men): belief that various women are sending signals that they are “just waiting for him to be single again”;
  • belief that one has “an excellent built-in BS detector” and has no need to fact-check one’s Facebook re-posts of moronic urban legends and fake news;
  • belief that one’s major personality flaw can be summarized as, “I guess I’m just too honest!”;
  • belief that one has “a big heart;”
  • belief that there is actually a difference between a glass that is half-full and one that is half-empty.

Technically, the last item is not part of ESD syndrome but is part of “Misc. Delusions, N.E.C.” along with the belief that one is able to distinguish “forward fruit aromas of ripe plum and toasted vanilla notes” in wine.*

So before you shed your S.O. or Bae in anticipation of V-Day because you think you’ve decoded their body language, take a step back and remember what the philosopher said: “Wisdom begins with recognizing the borders of your delusions.”

*actual wine description

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com

Only Santa Gets A “Peak Beard” Pass

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Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts

What is Santa without a beard? That’s like a leprechaun without a green suit. Or a Scottsdale lady without blonde hair and highlights.

All right, all right…as an old Arabian saying goes: “Guys who live in bald houses shouldn’t roust their camels for a caravan raid.” (We may not have that translated exactly right.)

In case you haven’t heard, the concept of “peak beard” is not unlike “jumping the shark”; that is, it’s the point at which production of something maxes out and starts to decline. This is based on actual (as opposed to Male Call) science from researchers at the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

The beard part comes from the finding that attractiveness of facial hair declines the more men adopt it. “The more bearded men a person saw in succession, the more striking a clean-shaven face became,” say the authors.

We know you’re anxious to hear the technical term, “negative frequency-dependent sexual selection,” which, by the way, is present in several animal species. It simply means that to be successful, a potential romantic partner needs to stand out from the herd…er, crowd.

As one commenter on the research said, “The beard has turned into the padded bra of masculinity.”

And, according to the Male Call Advisory Board, so have these beards, which long ago lost any attractiveness for the opposite sex:

  • Skorts on women
  • “Jorts” on men
  • Capri pants for women (unless your name is Cameron Diaz or Mary Tyler Moore)
  • Mid-calf shorts for men (unless your name begins with “DJ” and you wear said shorts below your underwear line)
  • Crotch-drop utility pants on anyone
  • Pony tails on male art gallery owners
  • Backwards sunglasses
  • Inflicting your smartphone cache of hilarious You Tube videos on a hapless date
  • Listing “no drama,” “no players” or “midwest values” in your dating profile

as well as…

  • Using Reply All for your cloyingly ingratiating comments on someone’s email announcement where all you have to say is “congrats” or “ditto that.”
  • Posting unverified urban myths on Facebook that would have taken you 30 seconds to check
  • Flashing faux gang signs in your social media club-scene selfie posts

In the meantime, we’re also pulling up the ramp on men adopting the bald look. We really don’t need that attractive style to start going downhill.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com or check out the Male Call archives at www.words-in-action.com

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