Choosing to Gamble

Profiles
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When we view someone’s profile, we’re reading about that person in their own words. Thus, the literary concept of the “unreliable narrator” applies. This person says they’re quite a catch - but are they, really? They say they’re low-drama - but is the fact that drama is even brought up signifying something? Even the most compelling, best-written profiles should be taken with a grain of salt until you’ve met in person and hopefully acquired more information, even if it’s just a gut feeling.

So we know that profiles can not always be completely trusted - so what about the preferences of the author? Are they really looking for someone within that exact age range, or would a year or two matter? What about an inch in height? Or body type - how we even define body type is purely subjective, so what would this person make of yours? We have the preferences spelled out in front of us, but should we listen?

The answer is essentially, “How do you feel about gambling?” There’s typically no rule that says you can’t still send someone a first-contact email, even if you don’t fit their specifications perfectly. For some reason we tend to put extra emphasis on those “statistical” preferences like height and age - hard numbers we either fit or don’t. In contrast, we wouldn’t think twice about contacting someone even if we happened to dislike their favorite TV show. Indeed, we actually get less information from those statistical preferences, because there’s usually no room to explain or qualify; are these loose guidelines, or hard rules?

So you can still email whomever you please, but you’re running the risk that age or height or whatever else is actually the most important aspect to them, and that they won’t be pleased you ignored their judgment. For many, though, the risk is worth it: you wouldn’t have been matched up otherwise, so it’s either a gamble that pays off or, worst case, you get one irate email. The decision is yours.

A few points to remember, though: you’re doing this at your own risk. You might get an irate email, or worse - one that is deliberately cruel. If you’re sensitive, you might not want to put yourself through the unneeded stress. Also, if someone does reply that they’re not interested, never, ever argue the matter with them. Some people take a polite refusal as an opportunity to bargain, but it’s the quickest way to turn a situation sour. When you sent the first-contact email, you were seeking clarity; now that you’ve got it, let the matter drop.

Sometimes it’s best to take someone at face value, especially if they’re saying something like, “I’m not interested in commitment” or “I’m only looking for something in the short term.” You might think you can change their minds, but don’t be shocked if ultimately you can’t. Quibbling over points of compatibility is one thing; striving to change life decisions is another.

So if you see a profile that seems perfect except for one niggling point, it might not be a bad idea to contact them anyway and see where it goes. Just remember: the true test of compatibility involves meeting in person. Whether or not this gamble pays off, it’s still best to take the profile with a grain of salt.