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Reality Bites: Online Dating Rituals of the American Male

Snap him up quick, ladies!
Snap him up quick, ladies!

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

On one hand, I feel sorry for you single people. The dating world, from what I can tell, is insane. The number of sites and apps competing for your attention, in addition to the work involved creating a compelling online persona, looks exhausting. And then there's the effort put into sifting through thousands of potential mates. Before you've even gone on Date 1, you've done more research than a doctoral student on his third dissertation defense.

On the other, I spent my single years in an environment where you had to practically sign a lease together before determining if the other person shared your views on child rearing, the designated hitter, and John Carpenter movies; information which is available these days to anyone at the click of a mouse. So I can see both sides.

What's not debatable, however, is that if the dudes on Bravo's new show -- Online Dating Rituals of the American Male -- are representative of America's single men, you women are really screwed.

Disclaimer: I have been married since last century. "Online dating," in the capacity we recognize it, did not exist when my wife and I first got together. You had computer and video dating, but that was somewhat less sophisticated:

The best kind of immigrant.
The best kind of immigrant.

OMRotAM follows a different (unrelated) pair of bachelors each week as they attempt to navigate the treacherous world of selfies and "compatibility ratings" in attempt to find true love, or a reasonable temporary facsimile thereof.

First up is 38-year old Adey, a self-described badass who may very well be the first graphic designer I've encountered who called himself an "outlaw" with a straight face (he designs biker gear, and as we all know, no poser has ever ridden a motorcycle). He's had one girlfriend. Ever. And is looking for a long-term relationship to satisfy the empty hole in his life left by an absentee mother (I could be reading too much into his comments).

Scott is 37 is a surfer/mountaineer/paramedic/budding combover expert looking to get married. He laments the embarrassment of online riches, but finds one woman who shares his love of sports *and* sends him lingerie pics, which is enough to secure a lunch date, evidently. I don't want to know what's required for dinner and a movie.

The girl in question, Alycia, is a mere ten years younger, and doesn't make the best first impression -- "What part of L.A. are you from?" Scott asks. "Um, Los Angeles." -- but he's willing to overlook this because boobs. He resents her for not figuring out his comment comparing love to a fart was a joke possibly because it, like he, is spectacularly unfunny). And then to top everything off, his credit card doesn't work, because his ex-girlfriend still has one from the same account and apparently still uses it.

Huh, guess that part got lost among all his shirtless beach photos.

Adey bitches that his go-cart date Brittany looks better in her online pics. I wish he'd turn it around and ask her how she feels about dating a guy who has to get a ride to the track with a friend (he's got a suspended driver's license). I was waiting for someone offscreen to get in a Karate Kid joke ("I really like your car, Mrs. LaRusso!"). To be fair, she does dog him about how he "dresses like a 19-year old."

And did he really bring *his own gloves* to go go-kart racing? Jesus Jones, he did! Oh, and he complains about how she drives. On a go-kart track. And did I mention he has a suspended license (or "trouble with the law," as he calls it)? He's a loner, Brittany. A rebel.

 

Adey is upset Brittany cut her hair, but apparently has no problem with that sock monkey tattoo.
Adey is upset Brittany cut her hair, but apparently has no problem with that sock monkey tattoo.

Scott's second date (Carolina) is better, but he's so staggered by her beauty he sounds like a complete doofus. Of course, they still end up making out (dudes with convenient beach access have all the luck). Still, he's kind of a shitbag because he's still maybe/maybe not engaged to be engaged to his old girlfriend, and is what the kids call "playing the field" to see if anyone out there is "more compatible." We meet the GF in question (Megan) later on, and she scoffs at the possibility any of these other women could feel the same connection with Scott that she does. She's also crazy manipulative, and even gets him to let her keep his credit card.

Because that's what you've got when the guy is looking for marriage material elsewhere: a "connection."

Throughout the show, the guys offer some pointers for you ladies about online dating: emojis come in handy (because reading comprehension is hard); don't write "a book" for your profile; don't get DTE (Down to Earth) and DTF (Down to Fuck) confused (I threw that one in there for free); don't have too many piercings; look "hot" but not "slutty" in your profile pics. In short, don't come into conflict with the elaborate Madonna/whore dynamic they've constructed for their perfect women.

I felt the show's real failing was in not letting us know how dick pics figure into the dynamic. Was Andrew Weiner leading us astray?

Adey's second date is another opportunity for him to complain: because her hair no longer matches her profile pic. It's too bad, because she seems into him and his dipshit bad motor scooter image, *and* she offers him a drive home. Seems like he could avoid all this "can't drive" embarrassment by hiring a car, seeing as how he's a successful outlaw and all.

I mean, we're assured both of these guys have jobs. But of course they spend all their non-dating airtime hunched over their laptops obsessively ticking off the potential flaws in each particular romantic candidate, all in between trying on biker jackets (Adey) and/or opining about how a woman should enjoy a man's "natural musk" (Scott). Mote, meet beam.

Finally (and shockingly) Scott's attachment to his ex ends up biting him on the ass, as Carolina rightfully gives him grief for it before wisely choosing to leave rather than put up with anymore of his emo bullshit. "How much do you hate me?" He asks. Naturally, he's unable to differentiate sincere loathing from the pity mixed with contempt Carolina is actually expressing.

Contempt I think most of the audience shares.


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