Several weeks back into the world of online dating, and I'm suddenly reminded again of how much crap you have to wade through just to get to someone remotely dateable. (Forget about all the frogs you have to kiss before you find your prince; what no one ever tells you about are all the leeches you have to first pick off your body as you slog through the swamps looking for the damn frogs). I've written about this before, and I'm sure it won't be the last time, but in the vein of full disclosure, I present to you Letters from Leeches: An Online Correspondence.
In the first category we have the foreign leeches, who actually make up roughly 95% of all leech correspondence. These leeches can generally be identified by the fulfillment of any one of the following requirements: a) their place of residence is anywhere from several hundred to several thousand miles away (and as a general rule, the farther away they live, the more excited they are to correspond with you), b) they are looking for their "soul mate," a "forever relationship," their "best friend," or some combination of the three (and apparently have lost hope of finding such a person within the narrow confines of their own city/country/continent), and c) their deplorable lack of understanding of the intricacies of the English language.
And now, some examples of what you may expect when corresponding with foreign leeches:
31 m Brazil
how are u ? nd ur beautiful family ? u know u are nice so much ?
i´d like have a contact with u , of course , if u want too .
well , i see u like soccer too , but i stay happy .
i search find an american woman , but could be u , of course , i think u´re an France woman . in the case , i admire the france , italian and , of course , the usa too .
u´re so nice , sweet nd sexy , u know that ?
can i know more about u ? if u want know more about me , but ask me i´ll go answer all . i wait a email come to u princess .
I can't decide which part of this e-mail is my favorite; whether it's i think u're an France woman (always nice to be mistaken for an France woman), or if it's u know u are nice so much? or if it's the uber-delightful nonsequitur, i see u like soccer too, but i stay happy. I kind of want to put the last two on a t-shirt.
25 m Netherlands
hi how are u i wish u are good im from egypt graduate from college live in holland now i like to talk with u and know u more im honest and serious lets talk and who is know what will happen may be we complete each other thx and sorry if i annoy
This leech at least seems marginally polite, although apparently his fear of annoyance did not prevent him from sending me the same e-mail again when his first did not elicit a response. And I understand that English is not everyone's first language, but even in Egypt they must surely have punctuation, no? Am I wrong? Although I guess he is not entirely to blame as apparently all the English he knows he learned from watching Jerry Maguire. But alas, his penchant for cheesy movie lines means that we will never know if we do, indeed, complete each other.
37 m Thailand
hi, i was searching through this site and come across ur profile and it comes to my liking then i decide to write u to let u know that i'm interested in u. i'm william from congo, but live in thailand now. i'm honest and sincere like u said. i will like to make an intimate relationship with u. meanwhile i'll be vary grateful to see ur positive reply to me.
Well, William, thank you for trying to pretend that you've actually read my profile, however I think you may have me confused with someone else. Honest and sincere? Blech, ew, who wants that? But I can see how it would be easy to confuse that with my one stated requirement of someone who lives within 25 miles of me. Thanks, but I'll pass.
31 m Côte d'Ivoire
i hope you are having a nice day,my name is Erick,i am from westhern part of africa,Cote d ivoire.you have a nice profile which interests me,i believe we will be good friends.my dear can i trust you,i need some one i will trust and call him my own,i need a trust worthy person.tell me about yourself.i believe so much in honesty..i am on my serious searching for a friend, partner or lover,. i am a single forward man with full of love and romatic...reach me with my email... [redacted] i am hoping to hear from you.your friend erick
All his talk of trust (three times in once sentence) leads me to believe that his next e-mail will detail a sad story involving a large sum of money left to him by his dead grandfather that he will not be able to access unless he can deposit it directly in my account, and would I please be so kind as to forward to him my bank account, social security number, and my mother's maiden name. Thanks but no, Erick, and good luck to you in your search for a "trustworthy partner."
27 m England
To live a life i need heartbeat, 2 have heartbeat i need a heart, 2 have heart i need happiness, to have happiness i need a friend, and 4 a friend i need U.ALWAYS
Umm, no thanks, but if I ever need someone to sign my yearbook I'll look you up.
24 m Turkey
come on you cant be real,what a cuteness is this:)
This one at least made me smile. What a cuteness is this!
31 m France
i am new in france couple with my little undrestandin,g of french and my resolve meeting the like minds i ll like to ve you has my friend
While this leech actually lives in France, I've included it in the foreign leech category for its delightfully head-scratching huh? factor.
Which brings us to our next category, the French leech. The French leech differs from the foreign leech in that his motives are geared neither towards best friendship nor soul matehood. So what are the motives of the French leech? It depends. Sometimes they are easily determined, and sometimes you have to read between the lines, and then the lines in between the lines, and then you have to get out your magnifying reading glasses and squint very hard, and even then, you're not entirely sure. But let's start with an easy one. And, as always, I hope you'll allow me the liberty of translating for you.
37 m France
i am 37 years old and i am a virgin. It has become more and more difficult as the years pass, and i dread the moment when i will have to admit to a partner who would like to do it with me. I am in a vicious cycle because i think that unconsciously i ruin the moments when i would have the chance to lose my virginity because i am so afraid of "unmasking" myself. I refuse to go see a professional, and so that is why i have decided to advertise here to fix the problem. The ideal would be someone who would take my virginity while "teaching" me how to be a good lover (or as much as that can be taught) so that i will no longer have this block the next time someone comes on to me and so i can be in a couple like everyone else.
Wait, wasn't there a movie about this? And didn't it teach us all that being a virgin is at the same time sweet and hilarious, and that the moral of the story is you just need to find the right person? Yeah, listen up: If you actually are a 37 year old virgin because you're afraid to admit you're a virgin - that's lame. And if you're actually not a virgin and are posing as one to try to get women to sleep with you out of pity and/or dominate you in bed - that's lame, creepy, and a whole host of other adjectives that still can't do justice to the slimeball that you are. One word for you - ick.
Next we have Sim, a 26 year-old male from France. Now this one gets a bit more complicated, with exchanges back and forth, as initially I found him inoffensive enough to reply to. But the motive here, that is what we are looking for. What is his motive? Let's read. He starts:
hello! i hope you are doing well. have you been on this site long? how is it going? i am just starting out. there are some interesting people but not many that I really want to talk to at the moment. good luck!
I replied that I, too, was just starting out, but in the interest of full disclosure said that I had been on the site before, when I lived in Boston. I said that I had just recently arrived in France and had exchanged a few e-mails with users on the site, but hadn't met anyone yet. Then I asked how he found the site. He replied:
yeah I don't really like online dating sites, in fact waiting patiently for the next party or going to a bar to meet girls suits me 1000 times better. i don't like sending e-mail to get to know someone, it doesn't really suit me at all. anyway, i wish you lots of happiness. bye.
Er...ok? What I want to know is who twisted his arm and uploaded his picture and filled out his profile? And anyway, why bother to send an e-mail on an online dating website just to say that you don't like sending e-mails and you don't like online dating websites? Motive, anyone? What is the motive here? It seems like he sent me an e-mail just to tell me how he's too cool to be sending me an e-mail. Why are you on here if you don't like it? I replied. Have fun at your bars.
And that's the thing about online dating: the possibility of rejection lies around every corner, even for something as inoffensive as replying to someone's e-mail.
So, as I've learned, you can change your zip code, and you can even traverse international borders, but the leeches are everywhere. If you're careful, though, and you know what you're looking for, you can get rid of them before they have a chance to latch on. So good luck, everyone, and happy frog hunting.