Monday, October 7, 2013
Here's a problem I have: I am wasting too much time online. Know anyone else with this problem?
I'm a numbers guy. That's what I do all day long. I tend to look at things from that perspective. Spending a lot of time online and rarely meeting anyone is NOT an efficient use of time. Poor return on investment (ROI). Manhunt, A4A, Grindr...these are the worst. Log on and browse through profiles....you generally have to be there to connect. Guys on these sites tend to have a singular focus on one thing. It's not like I'm skipping work to cruise A4A. I'll watch TV in the evening and pull out my laptop. But I could be using my time better.
I could delete my profiles on these sites. That would solve the problem. It's just that I've met some great guys on these sites. But I'd liken it to diamond mining. You sift through tons of dirt to find a handful of gems. I don't feel like it's efficient, but why do I keep doing it? This is a great excerpt from a 2008 Out Magazine article:
Manhunt is, according to marketing director Henricks, 'addictive, like a slot machine. You keep hitting next, to see another screen of profiles, thinking you're gonna get lucky sevens.' This drive, according to Alan Downs, a psychologist and author of The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, lies at the core of the appeal of online cruising: 'Variable payout schedule, which is used in slot machine designs, is the most addictive form of psychological conditioning, because you never know when you'll get paid. It could be every 10 times you play, or every hundred.' In the same way, Downs adds, 'every time you log on, you never know what you'll find. That's why it expands to fill a person's time. Last night was a bust, but who knows who will be online this morning or tonight.'
What other options? Craigslist? At least there you only invest five minutes upfront to create an ad, and then wait to see who replies. I've actually met a few really good guys on CL, but again, it's diamond mining to go through all the emails.
PoF or OKCupid? Certainly more civilized and also likely the guys are looking for more than just sex. Again, just have to invest the upfront time in creating the profile. Unless you want to actively contact other guys. This option is harder if you are discreet -- if you don't put up a face pic forget it. However, I have seen some pretty innovative ways that guys got around this. A pic from 500 feet away was one. I did spot my friend George on there -- he had on a hat and sunglasses, and the pic was from a distance. Ok, I'm making the out people angry, I need to stop. This is probably a better option for me. I just haven't done it lately.
Anyway, this psychology of the "variable payoff schedule" has fucked with my mind. I can't bring myself to delete these sites. Maybe I should choose just one and delete the rest? Maybe I rationalize this as a fun vice, like smoking and gambling, instead of a serious means to meet guys.
Now to get serious -- friends have told me that I talk about things I should do, but then never do them. I haven't acted to make real change in my life where it is needed. Agree, fair statement. I need to make some changes here.