Thursday, 8 June 2017

A Label by Any Other Name is Still… A Way of Creating a Box! Online Dating Sites, I’m Looking at You!



Yesterday, I saw that OK Cupid has announced that they have a new way of labeling your sexual orientation, may I present the newest term: Sapiosexual.  Now while some people may applaud this as a progressive move, I am getting so frustrated by all these terms and labels.  Dating is not black and white, and people are not boxes that can be neatly categorized.  I have written quite a few posts on misuse of labels, and my frustration at people just jumping to conclusions when they hear a term they don’t quite understand .  And I maintain that by creating more labels we are moving further away from honest communication.  We are simply slapping a term the excludes more people from our internet wish list.

The evolution of our species has relied quite heavily on our brains ability to quickly categorize anything that will cause us harm thus creating the fight or flight response.  This survival mechanism is part of our reptilian brain and is most likely why I still run up the stairs when the lights go out.  The dark hides predators and my instinct to get to the light as fast as possible kicks in.  But the online dating community is whole different ball game, far removed from the necessity to survive and quickly categorize our life.  In fact, in might be the furthest thing away, being that it is completely anonymous and therefore you can make the experience relatively safe, especially for all of those without a profile picture and the overused “ask me” in your personality description.

With that potential debate on hold for a moment, let us get back to the vast increase of labels.  Do labels actually help you quantify your search when looking for new people online?  Can you describe how having the word Sapiosexual for example beneficial?  Could you not just read the prospective mate/partner/cutie pie’s profile and deduce if they match you intellectually?  You know, by reading, and writing and those basic skills that you claim are incredibly important?  Maybe I am wrong and this label will bring together hundreds of people that really need that little button to specifically filter out all those who find looks more important than brains and leave you with a much simpler to navigate pool.  But doesn’t that take some of the fun of meeting new people out of the equation?  Isn’t that taking what tiny remnants of human interaction we find on these sites away?

I will admit that I used to use a tonne of labels to describe myself in my early 20’s.  The words straight, atheist, conservative, female, monogamous were quite important to whole who I was question, and who I wanted to be.  Now that I am in my nearly mid 30’s I realize that other than female, and perhaps atheist, none of these labels quite fit anymore with the encompassing power that they used to.  Instead I have found much more joy in the fluidity of my life and the rejection of the labels that defined me.  It has brought more happiness and satisfaction into my life.  Ironically with the breaking free of those definitions my confidence has actually increased.  I don’t need labels to be who I am.  And I can look around at the people in my life who are in or recently been through a large life transition and am amazed that they don’t quite fit into the categories I would have used to describe them anymore either.  They are just them, for all the good and the bad, and we exist very happily together. 

Because of the first hand happiness I have found by breaking free of the labels that confined me, I want to be an ambassador for other to break free as well.  It works, it’s amazing and my sex life has never been better as a result.  Isn’t that what it’s really all about anyways?  But in all seriousness, if I do not expect my friends to fit into a certain box, our lives become richer and more authentic.  And when I do not label myself, I am free to have fluid thoughts and opinions, and most important, an open mind for new education and people that I may have previously dismissed.  So to the dating sites thinking they are being progressive and modern by increasing their labels I say No!  Break free.  Let people write a description, or a brief what they are looking for, and allow more fluid interaction and less exclusionary labels.  Stop helping us put ourselves in more boxes!

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