Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plenty of *Vegan* fish in the Sea?

Dating for the first time in six years has been one big gigantic belly flop. Ouch. 


Wading through the options of meeting someone, then finding someone interesting, and trying to see if you are compatible as something more than friends…Well, it sucks. 

This time, I have a part of my lifestyle that is scary to some people… I’m Vegan.

They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but there are not very many vegetarain fish swimming around out there. 
I know, to you reading this vegan blog, it is not a scary thing at all. BUT, to top it off, I am single and vegan in Iowa, the pork capitol of the world. Iowa is full of hunters, fishers and farm raised, meat and potato boys. There are tons of guys here who live outside beside their BBQ in the summer time and put mounds of cheese and bacon on their burger. Personally, I really don’t care what someone else eats. (That’s right! Eat whatever you want I don’t care.) However, people seem to care what I eat. And my opinion of what they are eating. In the long scheme of things you would think this wouldn’t matter much, but it does.

To make wading through the dating pool even harder as a vegan, the bar scene sucks. Plus, working in an office full of women, landed me a gigantic 0 for eligible bachelors at work. When I complained to a friend about the options and responses I got on the dating sites, the first thing she asked was, “Did you write that you were vegan? You should take that off.”

REALLY?!  Of course I don’t put the fact I am vegan on my dating profile! I did for a while, and it didn’t help. In fact a guy holding a gigantic fish in his profile picture messaged me first thing, and I wondered if he had even read my profile? I may not care what a guy eats, but vegans do not think dead animals are attractive.

Yes, the girl who runs a vegan blog does not write that she is vegan on her dating profile.

Come on, it’s Iowa people!  

I’ve found that introducing the fact that I am vegan to people is much easier in person. I can tell them face-to-face; I really don’t care about the fact that you are eating steak, served with a potato, which which is lathered in sour cream and cheese. I’m not out to change or judge what a person eats, just trying to find someone who doesn’t care what I eat! (This may not be true of all vegans/vegetarians, but true for me.) People have different reasons for changing their lifestyle, mine was primarily health related.

It would be great and perhaps much easier to meet someone who is vegetarian or vegan. However, that isn’t really the main thing I am looking for in a guy. I did put some work into this search option. I found several vegetarian dating websites, none of which were helpful. 

One site had a whole seven eligible people from Iowa. SEVEN. There were four gay men, two women and an older man in his sixties. Not very helpful at all for a straight-laced young lady. There is one site that asks whether you are vegetarian, vegan, etc. However, this is not an option you could use to search for people by. Why does the site even include it as a question if you can’t search by it?!

I have only found one man who included the fact he was vegan in his dating profile here in Iowa. (Outside of Iowa you will find thousands of eligible vegetarian and vegan bachelors ladies, here not so much.) He was a very nice guy, but we were looking for different things. *sigh*

So what is a single, vegan girl to do? 

For my own profile, I’ve settled with writing that I love cooking delicious healthy organic meals.

I am creative so I had to think outside the box on other ways to meet guys. Using our savvy social media skills, a friend and I created a Vegetarian group on Facebook. We were hoping it would help connect us with single, veg friendly men in Iowa. Of course after a month, this great idea helped to connect us with 40+ vegetarian women and two married men. Don’t get me wrong; the Facebook group has grown and is a great local resource. It just didn’t help expand our pool of eligible, veggie eating bachelors, like we thought it would. (It was a good try though Steph!)

Add to the list a family who can't wait for you to have a baby, and well... Family opinions do not always help. Last week on vacation my brother and sister in-law told me I needed to lower my standards. Wanting to find a match who is stable mentally, physically, and financially, is apparently too much to ask. My sister in-law told me I needed to find a MUCH older guy, and maybe someone who fit 2 out of the 3 categories. I rolled my eyes and bit my tongue. Okay, how about someone who is not morbidly obese, has a job, and isn’t crazy. I’m really not that picky, am I?

Maybe I am a little picky. After all, this is the man I am looking to spend my life with - Someone to create joyful moments with while exploring the world - Someone to start a family with me and we will live happily ever after. 

So of course I am going to look for certain things in Mr. Wonderful. In fact, I admit to taking a lot of time looking at other people’s profiles and wanting to help them re-write their descriptions. I am just a really nice person, or maybe this comes from the HR part of my old job. I had to sort through tons of resumes, and didn't call the candidates who couldn’t spell or write complete sentences. 

Some of the men with horrible dating profiles are probably great guys. They just don’t know how to write in English.

Seriously! There are people claiming to have college degrees and their dating profile is written out like a text message. I HAVE to be going on more dates than the guy who can’t write a real sentence. Not that I have perfect grammar. In fact, I hate grammar. Comma splices are my downfall. It was the hardest class I took in college and I squeezed by with a C. However, it is important, and you should at least try to pretend you know how to form a sentence.

My friends and family have had a few laughs with me at some of the dating profiles we have found online. The pictures are what really get me. Guys pose with their shirt off, flexing their biceps, holding their phone up to the mirror for a picture with their dirty shower showing and raggedy towels hanging in the background. It makes for a good giggle session.

So here are my online dating profile tips for the guys, and hey ladies maybe some of these will help you too. I made the original list a while ago, but have included a few updates.

Make a good first impression!

Yes, this means you need a good picture of yourself.
  • A good clear headshot is a must. If you do not have a good headshot ask a friend or co-worker to take a picture of you.
  • Make sure you are wearing clothes and are not standing in front of a mirror when said picture is taken.
  • If you insist on taking a profile shot of your body – make sure you have a body people would like to see. Otherwise, you are simply grossing people out.
  • If you have no friends or co-workers to take a picture of you, then PLEASE use Photoshop or some other form of photo editing software to thoroughly erase the image of your ex-girlfriend/wife/one nightstand from your profile picture.
  • Smile. If you are trying to be serious in your picture it may come across as looking, sad, angry, pathetic, or many other expressions that may not be intended. Just smile.
  • Shave, comb your hair and put a dab of cover up on your zits.
  • Do not use a group shot as your main photo. Which person are you??
  • A secondary photo of you in a group or showing you doing something you love is great.
  • If you are athletic then show this, but PLEASE keep your clothes on.
  • Try to find a picture where you are not holding a beer, or two beers. Also avoid shots of you sitting at a table full of empty beer cans. This is not attractive, although you may have had a lot of fun the night the picture was taken.
  • That picture of the gigantic fish you caught may be cool to you and they guys, but I don’t know any woman who has ever been attracted to a gigantic fish. Leave that picture for later.
  • It is fine to put pictures of yourself with your nieces and nephews, etc. Just state in the picture that it is your adorable spoiled nephew so the viewer knows you are good with kids.
  •  DO NOT include pictures of your own kids in your profile. Yes, there is a difference between nieces and nephews and your own kids, and this matters. My friend who is a single mom particularly hated this while she was dating online. She thought it was disgusting and at times creepy that guys were putting pictures of their kids in their dating profile. And if a single mom is turned off by guys including pictures of their own kids, then yes men, most ladies who don’t have kids are also likely turned off.
    • One guy had a picture of his ex-wife after delivery with him posed next to her holding his newborn baby. I cannot fathom what made him think this was a good dating profile picture. And in the back of my mind would almost like to see the reaction of his ex when she found out he posted that picture of her in the delivery room online in his dating profile.

Write your description in English…PLEASE!

  • Unless you are Spanish, in that case, please message me in English with your description interpreted for me to understand.
  • Going back to Rule #1 – Make a good first impression.
  • R u sure u want 2 impress me w/ur stupidity or lack of education? Or the fact youdontknow howtousethespacebar?

Read a profile thoroughly before messaging someone

  • If a person mentions they are vegan in their description and your profile picture shows you hunting or eating ribs do you really think you are compatible?
  • If a person says they do not drink or only drink occasionally and your profile picture shows you with a beer in each hand – you may not be the best match.

Only message someone whose profile matches what you are looking for...

A spin off from Rule #3, but serious advice. If you are looking for a one-night stand and the person you message has written down they are looking for a relationship - don’t expect a response to your message AND don’t message a second time!

Be truthful about your body type

I won’t expand very far on this one – only that your picture usually ends up telling the truth so – go back to rule number one.

You need a Car

  • Unless of course you are super eco-conscious, in this case, talk about your eco-friendly life style in your profile. This way potential mates understand why you don’t have a car and that you love biking and obviously are in shape and healthy (see picture tips).
  • Otherwise, the question naturally arises, how can you afford to take someone out on a date if you don’t own a car?
  • Yes, one of the primary questions Plenty of Fish asks is if you own a car.

Be realistic – life happens

It is understandable to wish for a life without drama. However, I don’t know anyone who actually has a drama-free life. So writing in your profile that you do not want drama, simply tells a person that you don’t know how to handle stressful situations, or that you do not know how to avoid the people who drag you down. No one openly admits to being a drama queen – so seriously, be realistic. If by drama, you mean you do not want someone who has 10 brothers and sisters and 50 nieces and nephews because that is stressful; then write that you are looking for someone from a small family.

Be honest and open – but not too honest

You don’t need to share all of the lessons you learned in past relationships in your allotted 2,000 word profile description. Please do share some of your hobbies and things you enjoy doing in your spare time. Are you a musician or artist? Do you like going to concerts, or are you a symphony person? These are great descriptive things to share.  

BUT if you have not dated in a while or are just testing the waters…this is not exactly attractive language. No one wants to be someone’s rebound person, and since this is a first impression – remember rule #1: Do you really want to tell someone you are rebounding before you even have a conversation with them?

There are plenty of fish in the sea, so dive right in…

Just remember to come up for air, and try to be a little more patient than I am.