To The FemmeMobile! Away!

{January 26, 2010}   The fun of online dating!

So, I’ve been emailing several people back and forth in a maybe-we-can-date sort of way. A few I met off a dating site, one I responded to off craigslist. I’m noticing a pattern in myself: half a dozen emails get exchanged, and then I get bored.

Except for the person off craigslist. We shall now refer to this person as the Charmer. (This person is presenting as VERY masculine, but I don’t actually know if ‘he’ or ‘she’ is correct. I’m waiting on an email. In the meantime, I shall use them interchangeably! Heh.) (Yes, I could use ze, but unless told to I’m not going to. For me to use it on someone else feels… pretentious. Someday I’ll probably decide I was dumb not to use it, but that day isn’t today.)

I look forward to her emails, I totally have a crush, and I know less about him than I do the other people I’m email swapping with. I started analyzing (because that’s what I do best) what it was, exactly, that I liked so much.

Part of it is that the Charmer is much more butch than the other people, and I recognize that. (And mmm, butch.) Part of it is that he’s more put together, more grown up, than the others. Part is that the masculine quality comes through even over text — same written patterns as the guys I know, if that makes sense. Fewer emoticons and exclamation marks, less detail, less storytelling. Charmer is more likely to say, “I went to a play,” and then move on, whereas most of the women I email with say, “I went to a play, and it was about x, and I thought x,y, and z about it.”  But that doesn’t explain why I like her more. In fact, her lack of detail means I have to think more about what to ask, which is generally something I DISlike. All these makes me wonder what, exactly, it is that I’m reacting to.

I’ve got some theories. *grins*

First off, Charmer often asks questions. And not the typical FOR questions (Family, Occupation, Recreation!), but rather questions where he picks up on something I’ve said. For instance, I mentioned living in Toronto at one point. Instead of asking when and why, which is what people normally ask, Charmer said, (paraphrased) “The only reason I can think of for doing that is love. Or school.” It wasn’t even a question, but it was an invitation to talk about it. Another one was that when I mention I’d moved up from SoCal, most people ask me why I moved away. The Charmer asked that (or I just explained — I don’t remember, now), but then also asked why I’d chosen San Jose specifically. Very few people ask that question. It’s a question that takes a little extra attentiveness.

He also picks up on things I said in earlier emails and echoes them back to me. I mentioned at one point wandering city streets and smiling (don’t ask; part of a longer thing); later, he asked what part of the City I’d explored (ie, wandered the streets while smiling). It wasn’t much, but it told me that she’d marked what I’d said, and remembered it. This isn’t hard to do — we’ve got the former email sitting RIGHT THERE, but it still impacts.

Another thing is that she uses my name. My name is Jenna, but I sign everything J. When I start emailing people, they almost always ask what the J stands for. I tell them, and I explain that I’m just too lazy to sign my whole name, but I keep signing things J and they usually forget. I don’t have a problem with this; if I wanted them to remember, I should use my name! Charmer, however, always uses my name. It makes me feel like he’s paying attention.

She’s looked me up in a non-creepy manner. I write books. I have four published, and if you email me and I email back, my sig line says:
“Now available! [List of books] Check them out at [author website]”

So in a PS the other day, Charmer mentioned that she’d looked them up on Amazon. It was a quick little line — that she’d looked them up, and well done me or something like that. But usually people don’t even register the sig line, and if the fact that I write books comes up they ask me to send them one.

Okay, guys. Here’s the thing. If someone is just starting out, the likelihood that they have copies of their own books is slim to none. Small press pubs often don’t send you more than one copy, because it costs them money. I would rather get royalties than copies! I certainly don’t have a million copies sitting around. When I do get copies, I give them away in contests and things, to drum up reader interest. You are NOT doing a new author a favor, or even showing that you’re supportive, by asking to read one of their copies. Being supportive would be BUYING a copy.

But most people, upon hearing that I write, ask if they can (borrow and) read one of my books, or smile and nod and then not think about it again. Take into consideration that it takes a LOT of hours to write a novel in the first place. Prolific professional authors write two books a year. That means it’s six months to write a book, if you work at it full time. If you’re starting out, you’re carving out time in between paying jobs. You’re taking out time from seeing other people, hanging out with friends, relaxing. You love it so passionately that you’re willing to do this in the vague hope that you MIGHT get published. It’s safe to say that if someone spends this much time and effort on something, it’s a big part of their life! If you know someone who writes or does art or does anything else it’s difficult to get paid for, and you’re trying to court them, pay attention to that thing! Don’t ask if they’ll loan you this thing they slaved over, the whole time implying that you don’t really care, you’re just trying to pretend like you do. Furthermore, if the person you’re speaking with writes in a genre you don’t really like, don’t bash it. To put that much time and effort into it, they obviously do like it! The amount of people who belittle me or are disdainful because I write romance novels and gay romance novels… SERIOUSLY.

Anyway. End rant, really. So one of the things that impressed me was that the Charmer went and looked up my books. It was non-creepy, because I had the link right there. She didn’t even ask me about them first (this is good: I did no work to spark her interest, she was just interested because it was something I liked). She just went and did the footwork, I’m guessing under the assumption that if I wrote them I cared about them. And then she didn’t belittle or disdain because they were romance and gay romance — she said well done! And then we started talking about books. (We didn’t even have to talk about my books and plots and what I was working on to make me happy — the fact that she gave a nod to my success without any kind of “I don’t like romance novels, but good job!” made me feel so much better than anyone asking after my plotlines. Especially if that person hasn’t actually gone to look at what I’ve already done.)

I have another person I’m emailing with who asked me about writing, and asked if she could read an excerpt. See the difference, here? One person goes and does the footwork themselves, looks up my books (on Amazon, even, which is an extra step than just clicking the link I supplied) and makes a “go, you!” sort of comment. The other doesn’t do the footwork despite the fact that the link is right there, and instead asks me to do work — send her an excerpt. Not only is she showing that she doesn’t care enough to click the link, but that she expects me — subconsciously, surely — to do the footwork for her so that she can support me.  I would rather the former, who does the work even if we don’t talk at length about it, than the latter who expects me to provide her with what she needs so she can talk about it. The former did something kind, something extra. The latter is asking me to do something extra so she can look good.

…Okay, obviously I lied when I said I was done ranting. But now back to what appeals to me about Charmer’s email that I don’t see in other emails. 😀

The other thing that’s nice? Proper grammar and paragraph breaks! YAY! (I have one other person who uses this regularly. It would be nice if everyone did.)

There’s also very much the sense of the solicitous gentleman about the emails, but I haven’t quite figured out why, yet, or what it is I’m reacting to. I’ll let you know if I do. 😉

Anyway. Obviously, I’m having fun. We have a make-sure-this-person-isn’t-crazy drinks date on Wednesday, and I’m really excited about it! I find it very interesting that I’ve responded so strongly to his emails, and not any others.

My little sister made a good point while visiting, that I’m going to have to remember for all future relationships. She said that she started doing for her boyfriend the special things he’d do for her, working under the theory that we do things for other people that we, ourselves, would like. Ergo, if he did it for her, he probably liked it. So she started mimicking back to him the sweet things he was doing — and sure enough, he was all pleased and flattered and so on. Something I’m keeping in mind, especially when it comes to things like “Do the footwork,” and “Ask questions that are the flip side of the usual question” (You know — “why’d you move from SoCal/Why’d you choose this area”).

Something to remember. 😀



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