Don’t Be an Asshole in the Name of “Just Being Honest”
A few years ago, I met a guy on OKCupid (We’ll call him Patrick) and we went out a couple of times. It was clear from the start that we weren’t romantically compatible, but we decided to become friends. We would sometimes hang out, grab a beer or two and exchange dating stories. Neither of us were having much luck finding a partner, so we decided to get together and help each other with our online dating profiles. Maybe he could shed light on where I was going wrong and vice versa.
Before we met up, I looked at his profile and jotted down some ideas. He definitely presented himself well, so my suggestions were minor. I thought he should change the order of his photos, take out a snarky joke, and maybe add some anecdotes to paint a picture of his life as a Dad, an entrepreneur and lover of the outdoors. I wasn’t suggesting a major overhaul but I thought my ideas could make him more attractive online.
We met at a bar in his neighborhood and ordered a couple of beers. We sat down and looked at Patrick’s profile and I passed along my suggestions, giving him compliments along the way. Online dating can be tough for the ego sometimes, and I totally get that. Friends can always use a little boost, right?
Next, it was time to work on my profile. At the time, my major complaint about online dating was that men seemed to just reply to me without reading what I’d written. They wouldn’t try to connect with me on anything of substance, and that was a bit disheartening. I had a lot to say and it seemed like guys were just looking at my pictures and writing me generic notes. I was really curious about his suggestions.
“Ok, so what do you think?” He wasn’t looking at the words on the computer screen, or even at the photos I’d posted. But he was looking at me.
“I think you should get that removed.” He was pointing to a mole on my left cheek. A mole that I’d been born with, see every day and pretty much never think about.
I was confused. I was embarrassed. I wanted to cry. I wanted to leave.
He explained that he thinks I’d look a lot better without the mole on my face, and that having it removed would improve my chances of finding a boyfriend.
Deflated, I went home. At the time, I was living with a female friend of mine. I told her the story and she was livid. “What an asshole,” she retorted. “I can’t believe he said that to you.” I agreed. I wasn’t ready to talk to Patrick, so I decided to write him an email and tell him how hurtful his statement had been. After all, we didn’t plan to get together to critique each other’s physical appearances. We got together to help each other with our OKCupid profiles.
He replied quickly, telling me that he “was just being honest” and how sad it was that I couldn’t handle the truth.
Patrick used the old “I was just being honest” line to tell me something hurtful, rude and unnecessary. Unfortunately, I hear people use this excuse all the time and I think it’s utter bullshit. I once met someone with a laugh that really grated on me, and I knew I couldn’t date him. Should I tell him how annoying his laugh is just because that’s honest? Absolutely not. It’s his laugh, for God’s sake, an integral part of him that makes him who is. Telling him that would have been mean. Instead, I told him I wasn’t interested in a way that was honest and kind.
I recently saw this set of guidelines to consider before speaking, and I think it’s relevant here.
A couple of years after the Patrick incident, I met and fell in love with a man who accepted me just as I was. In fact, he told me I was beautiful every time we saw each other, mole and all.