But Would you Date him on Paper?

A girlfriend and I were chatting the other day about being two single ladies in the local BDSM scene, and I confessed to always being slightly afraid we would wind up interested in the same man.

After all, we both dig on a particular style of dominant man, and despite that the fetlife statistics say, the community just isn’t that big.

Turns out, this never worries her because she noted that, I don’t go for the same type of partner she does – at least not on paper.  Which has me thinking.

How well, or even realistically, do we stack up on paper?

On Paper there is very little that would attract me to any of my current play partners.  They’re older, poly, more D/s focused than Top/Bottom…  Yet there is something about all of them that I find attractive when I spend time with them.  That’s why I enjoy having them, in all their various forms, in my life.

Much of the coupling/hooking up/grouping that happens in the kinkiverse however, is done via websites, which really bring to the forefront the problem of translating paper appearance to daily lives.  How many times have we heard of friends lament about someone who they clicked with online, but the in person just wasn’t the same?  Yes, sometimes it is about some server stretching of the truth; but what about those of us who simply do not translate well?

Let’s break me down on paper.

My fetlife profile?  Not so ‘lifestyle’ focused.  I don’t list my relationship status, or what I’m looking for.  Truthfully, the only reason I have Masochist listed at my role is because I was made to pick something, and I didn’t feel that Kinkster or Unsure fit.  Here is the meat and potatoes of  my FetLife profile, which sits surrounded by declarations that I (like everyone else) am complicated, and (unlike everyone else) am happy in my complications:

I’m a passionate, expressive person. I’m that girl who smiles and compliments your sweater on the street; who sways publically to the private song in her head; who doesn’t always say the right thing, but really tries hard to have it come from the right place. I talk to strangers a lot, but have little interest in their candy. I’m good at finding candy all on my own. 😉

Every now and then I’ll leap up on my soapbox, have a good scream about how the Apocalypse of Fuckery is nigh, say thank you, and skip back down. At the same time, I’m far too happily defiant to let the drama stick or drag me down.

I dig on masochism, service, submission, education, and the connections that come with relationships of all sorts. I am very blessed to have a life rich with people who allow me, and help me to explore the things I dig. I also look forward to a time when life allows me explore each of these things on both a wider, and deeper level.

Said profile is accompanied by a wide variety of pictures, with varying levels of clothing (though more clothed than not).

On top of a general lack of kinky info in my profile, I’m rather selective about engaging in conversations with people who aren’t already in my life, and I do have a fuck off trolls disclaimer that has gone through various levels of nicety.

While I have little idea how submissive, or even devoted to BDSM this makes me look (at the very least I can assure you I spent very little of my time laying around a cage in lingerie), I have been told before that I come across as a bit angry/cold, and until recently, like I wasn’t looking for any kind of relationships at all.

Compare that to the feedback I  get from people who know me (to varying degrees) in the community.

  • Extremely dominant personality
  • “Do me” bottom with no interest in submission
  • Uberfriendly and approachable

To my mind, the on paper and the on the street person match up rather well; but I’m willing to admit some bias here, after all, I always feel like me, even when I’m not exactly sure who me is.

Perhaps it comes down to being more than the sum of our parts.

I did once look for the perfect on paper partner.  It’s a period in my life I affectionately refer to as Heather’s Summer of Corporate Dating.  I picked out profiles that I felt signalled ambition, intelligence, responsibility; but as I dated, I realized these people were just doing things to be successful according to the standards of others, they weren’t stupid, but they lacked an ability to think creatively and problem solve in the world around them.  They lived, to quote the lovely woman who is the inspiration for this post, in a narrow box.

And the qualities that attract me to the currently people in my life?  I still don’t know how to spot them on paper.  But I know them when I feel them.

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4 thoughts on “But Would you Date him on Paper?

  1. trixie says:

    So true!
    I’ve been on so many bad dates with men who look great on ‘paper’ (i.e. their profiles) and well, just end up being total duds. Remind me sometime to tell you about this one guy. I even have witnesses who can attest to how terrible it was.

    Seriously, I know when I first came out I thought that the community was so huge, and that Id never know anyone; but now, when you’re single and looking for something more than just play it feels tiny.

  2. Serenity9 says:

    As in war, no plan survives first contact. It’s the improvised dance after the clash where that all so elusive chemistry gets established.

    On paper you have all these characters and traits for this ideal person you would like, but it’s impossible to take in the intangible other aspects that are necessary for the elusive chemistry we’re all looking for. I think it’s really not realistic to break down a person and compare them to such a list. People defy classification like that, you can’t really put them in such a box and expect them to fit perfectly. I like to say that relationships are about the price of admission, the willingness to over look certain flaws in our partners. If they leave socks on the floor and never seem to pick them up no matter how many times you ask, then tolerating that might be one of the prices of admission for a relationship with that person.

    That’s why I think online dating is very much hit or miss. No one can sum themselves up with perfect honesty and thoroughness in a online profile. That and a honest profile never attracts people when compared to the multitude of other that nudge the truth. As I see it the problem is that on paper women have by far the more choice when it comes to partners, but in reality most of those partners aren’t what they are truly looking for. While men must constantly compete and shout above the horde to be heard by women who are increasingly apathetic towards the whole thing.

    Honestly I’ve given up on actively seeking a partner and instead just leave myself open to the possibility of something happening. I’m giving the whole “when you stop looking, it will find you” the good collage try. I enjoy the company I keep so I know something will likely come of it and if nothing does at least I still enjoy the company I’m with. Of course it means I’ll likely take the initiative eventually, but I feel no rush at this point. Besides straight up formal dating just doesn’t appeal to me, I much better at showing who I am over time and conversation then condensed it to an actual “date.”

    You know I thought coupling would be more common in the BDSM world as BDSM allows for a very deep connection between people when I started, but I guess a lot of people get what they need form play. Or perhaps the nature of what we do means that people are more apprehensive of giving such trust too easily. I still smile when I think about those that enter this community thinking it’s an easy place to find a partner in by assuming a dominate persona. In reality submissive are far more picky when it comes to partners then people have been lead to believe.

    Meh, I’ll march to my own tune and have fun doing it. I’ll leave the the messy bits to other people because I know I’ll find what I’m looking for eventually and when I do I finally have someone to point to and say “look that what I’ve been looking for!”

  3. BenJMHart says:

    I have done an awful amount of online dating, and I think when people write a profile, they often post not just how they see themselves, but how they aspire to be. and that’s okay

    On a fetish website, they might write about themselves as the brainy sub with a law degree, for example. and they might communicate extremely well on paper (people with law degrees generally do). but in person, most people fall flat, maybe it’s their social skills, maybe they just aren’t as stong oral communicators as they are written communicators, maybe you gave them the benefit of the doubt when you really shouldn’t have. Or maybe they have hair in unattractive places (LIKE THE FACE, OMG! Not a fan of stealth lady mustache/mutton chops).

    anyways, i think there’s something noble in falling for a person based not just on who they are, but who they aspire to be (within limits, lets not get TOO crazy)

    1. Heather says:

      I dunno, I would consider someone really disappointing and maybe even dishonest if presented themselves as already *being* a certain thing, when it turns out that’s something they’re working on.

      Few reasons behind this:

      1) Dishonesty with oneself is a seriously unattractive quality to me.
      2) Most people aren’t actually interested in doing the work required to get them from what they are to what they aspire to be; so it’s not a bare with me while my work is in progress, it’s false advertising.

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