Friday, May 2, 2014

When Facebook Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

I’m oftentimes amazed how well the apps in my life know me. Google can nearly always autocomplete my search thought, Siri can sometimes autocorrect accurately (though, really, “hahahags” was a typo and oh em gee, it was ONE TIME). Netflix knew for, like, two years that I would become obsessed with and consume in an embarrassingly short amount of time love Sherlock, and so kept it consistently in my suggested picks until the promise of Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones finally wore me down.

Sidebar: Scientists have actually discovered a substance that is harder than diamonds, and it is located on BBatch’s face. True story.

I am not generally a superstitious person, but I do occasionally subscribe to the notion of SIGNS. An unexpected job offer is a sign I should move back 500 miles to my other hometown. A Lord of the Rings marathon on TV is a sign I should transition from half-hermit to full-hermit mode, and also I should really try that recipe for lembas that I pinned two years ago. My pint of Haagen Dazs melting prematurely is a sign I should just eat the whole thing. No one likes refrozen ice cream melt. No one.

So when, over the course of a week, I saw the same ad for about twenty times as I was scrolling down Facebook, I’ll admit it—I gave pause.

The little ad that sucked me in

“Could this be it?” I wondered. “This seems like the slacker version of a real dating website—perhaps my future husband has been waiting for me here the whole time!”

Sidebar: There is actually a lazier dating app than HowAboutWe and it is called Tinder. Don’t worry. That’s coming later.

The basic premise of HowAboutWe is this: you create a fairly simple profile (no 5,000 match points survey to fill out here—I’m looking at you, eHarmony), and then post date suggestions. I think one of the first ones I posted was “How about we meet up for brats and beer?”—a suggestion I felt was both creative and broadcast an irresistible girl next-door vibe. You can search other people’s date suggestions on the site, and send them a message if you’re interested. And why wouldn’t you be? Here’s a sampling of the date ideas of some of the quality men found in my city:

“How about we…violate the Geneva convention?”
Yes, let’s waterboard some suspected terrorists. That sounds both charming and romantic.

“How about we…ving a date?”
Ving? I’m terrified this is some cool new slang with which I’m unfamiliar. Is it like a vine? Is vine a verb now?

“How about we…im here to find that one so dont bull @#$% me.”
You sir, sound like you come with absolutely no baggage whatsoever. Sign. Me. UP.

“How about we…Grab some drinks and if chemistry is good we come back and I give you an amazing foot massage and cuddle to a movie”
I don’t know what it is about this rash of strangers on the Internet offering foot massages to prospective dates. Do these men really think that all a woman wants is to be awkwardly caressed by the random guy who just bought them dinner at Cheesecake Factory? Since he puts it out there, are we to expect that it’s coming and get a pedicure? Is this allegedly amazing foot massage offer good for all kinds of feet, or is it saved only for toes clean and dainty? Does he have references? So many questions…

“How about we…Smoke some KB, throw back some shots of Patrón and see what happens next...”
Oh, yes. Let’s. Casual drug use and binge drinking. Classic date idea!

So yeah—it was not a sign; the Facebook advertising algorithm had clearly logged the number of times I’ve used the hashtag forever alone and was trying to do me a solid.

Sidebar: They are also constantly suggesting I try something called Zoosk, a website with which I am passingly familiar from their recent Hulu commercial that featured a larger-than-life, sentient plush heart. It was as weird as it sounds.

I did, however, manage to find one guy during my stint on HowAboutWe that seemed normal. Seemed.

***How to Lose a Girl will be posting new stories on Fridays at 12 PM. Start your weekend off right by laughing at my dating ineptitude! 

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