I just got back from the Jersey Shore this afternoon. I had an amazing time, got a bunch of freckles, and sunburned my chest, despite constant re-application of SPF 50. My amazing friend Boh came to stay with my family for a few days, too, which was lovely.

While I was at the beach, I got a message from a lovely man on OKCupid.

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That was nice. And, it’s true, I love black licorice. So I checked out his profile, and it was so, so, so obnoxious. I obviously didn’t want to date this person. But a profile that obnoxious required some serious interpersonal contact – for the blog. I showed it to Boh, and Boh agreed.

Here are some highlights of the profile, just so you get some impression of what we were working with before we started messaging.

First of all: gender identity.

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Now, let’s be clear. I don’t give one fuck what gender people identify as. I have tons of trans friends, blah blah blah, that’s a stupid thing to say. But I am totally on board with gender being a spectrum, and being fluid.

What was obnoxious about this was that this human being (who I had been misgendering as a man) couldn’t just say that they were genderfluid, or gender non-conforming, OR non-binary, but had to include all three – plus “other,” because the three other descriptors just weren’t enough. They were just too fucking complex.

It felt like a straight guy trying to appropriate being queer, or some shit like that. Like, someone who needed to demonstrate JUST how queer they were. And desperately.

Secondly:

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We can skip over the fact that this person definitely, definitely speaks, like, six words of Catalan and twelve words of Portuguese, but felt the need to include 5 languages in their profile.

Let’s focus on “Other religion.”

Boh was convinced that this meant that our friend was a witch.

“Every queer person in New York is a witch,” Boh told me. “I’m always going on dates with fucking witches.”

Now, let’s explore “My self-summary.”

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I respect my readers enough to trust them to know exactly what is so fucking irritating about most of this profile. I will, however, point out a few choice things.

First, crypto-fag? What the fuck is a crypto-fag?

And then, “I live life in all caps lock!” Who thinks this is a good thing? Caps lock should never have been invented. Has anyone ever received an email written in all caps and thought, “Hey, this is so cute!”? I certainly have not. Shoot me now.

Ok. NEXT.

“What I’m doing with my life.”

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PROFESSIONAL PUNK ROCKER.

This person is right. All caps are required to interact with them. Because it is impossible to express how appalling this profile is in lowercase letters.

Oh, also – note the second mention of sharks.

And, finally, “I spend a lot of time thinking about.”

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Note a third mention of sharks, and then – phew – we can move on from the profile.

After reading this abhorrent mess, Boh and I decided that we definitely, definitely had to learn more about this queer, sapiosexual, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, non-binary other. Because this person was clearly the fucking worst.

We had no idea what we were getting into.

We decided to start with a series of questions, to see just how horrible any illuminating conversation about the profile could be. I responded to the licorice query with, “I love it!” Then I asked our friend if they could tell us some shark facts.

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How clever. A fact about a fake shark, a fact about a real shark, and a fake shark fact. It’s the sort of thing that’s, like, almost clever? Almost funny? Maybe it could be if done right? But, this way, it just seemed like the person was trying so hard.

So we moved on to our next question.

Boh and I both spent a lot of time in precious, progressive liberal arts schools, so we were familiar with the question, “What’s your PGP?” “PGP” stands for “Preferred gender pronoun,” which is a perfectly fair question and not necessarily obnoxious. But we had already flagged this person as fucking irritating and potentially obsessed with gender to a performative degree, so we wanted to see how obnoxious the gender identity thing was gonna get.

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Jesus Christ.

“It.”

That is so fucked up. Like, what are you, an inanimate object?

At this point, Boh and I started referring to our friend as “it.” Which is fucking absurd. I have enough trouble using “they” in the singular, because it often makes for awkward sentences and just raises a flag in my writer’s brain every time the grammar is incorrect. Generally, with genderfluid or non-binary friends who prefer “they,” I just use their names and avoid pronouns altogether. Saying “it” to refer to a person felt so fucking absurd to Boh and me that we laughed hysterically every time we had to call him/her/them “it.”

Anyway, next question. If you will remember, it had mentioned that it was a “professional punk rocker.” Musicians are almost universally fucking annoying, so we thought it was important to explore this matter further. We asked about our most pressing concern.

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Notice that I did not ask about what being a “professional punk rocker” entailed. But it decided to explain, in detail, what it did when it had been one. Basically: dumb shit, like getting people’s groceries or doing their dishes. Oh, and buying them weed, which it clearly thought was a little racy.

It sent three or four paragraph-long texts about being a PPR (professional punk rocker, obviously), which I chose to ignore. I was beginning to understand that my friend was incredibly self-absorbed and just wanted to talk incessantly about itself.

Also, let’s remember it identified as an “it. We couldn’t get over how dumb that was. So we decided to keep nudging, a little bit, with a more irritating and kind of (well, actually) offensive question.

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DUDE. Come on.

I was sure that this question would ruffle feathers, and that I’d get an answer along the lines of, “No, I’m a person.” But no. Apparently, it sometimes feels like a thing – but not always. So, sometimes they are a person, sometimes it is a person, sometimes it is a thing, and sometimes they are a thing. This is so complicated.

The worst part was – the thing obviously thought it was being intriguing. It considered itself this special enigma that any human being would find fascinating.

I did not. Boh did not. We just hated it even more.

The next question addressed my favorite phrase in the thing’s profile: “crypto-fag.” Boh and I Googled the phrase, and nothing came up. Literally nothing. So we knew we had to find out what obnoxious meaning it had.

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Full. Stop.

As obnoxious as “I like being cryptic” and “I’ve always kinda identified with the term ‘fag'” are, let’s jump straight to the stand-out sentence of this message.

“I like the secretiveness of things sometimes (like, in general).”

What. The fuck. Does that mean.

Nothing. Like, actually nothing.

“I like the secretiveness of things sometimes (like, in general).”

Seriously, if any of my readers have any idea what that’s supposed to mean, please tell me. Or maybe it’s just meant to be cryptic. Such a fucking crypto-fag.

Next, and on our last question, we decided to ask about religion.

At this point, Boh was still convinced our friend the thing was a witch. I thought that it definitely had a special worldview that it had invented all by itself. It didn’t subscribe to any religion – not even a fringe one – instead, it had its own system of spirituality that was just too complex for anyone else to have thought up, or to share.

So I asked.

“What’s the “other” religion in your profile?”

The thing’s answer did not disappoint.

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I win.

Then it turned the conversation to me.

“I have a question for you,” it wrote. “How good is Moby Dick?”

I mention on my OKCupid profile that I thought I’d hate Moby Dick, but it’s actually a masterpiece. So the thing was trying to relate, right? After all, the whole conversation had been about it, and I really hadn’t shared anything about myself, or what I liked, or who I was as a person. So it was reaching out!

Oh, wait. Its “question” was actually a rhetorical one. Basically, it just wanted to talk about itself more, and didn’t really want to know anything about me. It didn’t ask, “What’s your favorite part of Moby Dick?” or, “Why do you think it’s a masterpiece?” No. Just a rhetorical question that would take the conversation nowhere and facilitate more of the thing’s wise and insightful thoughts about the world.

I spent five or ten minutes trying to figure out what to say to move the conversation along, but I couldn’t think of anything. It had brought the conversation to a halt. So I just said, “I love Moby Dick!”

Fortunately, the thing didn’t actually care what I wrote back, because it had more to share about itself.

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How lovely. It reads Moby Dick every August. A special ritual, a delicate homage to a masterpiece that is really, really hard to read and a pretentious book to say is your favorite, anyway. And it had to make sure to brag that it took it longer than usual – a whole two weeks! – to read the tome this year. And it had to make sure to share (entirely unnecessarily, and entirely unprompted) that it had ADHD. This time, after a full fifteen minutes, I had literally zero idea what to say other than, “That’s cool.”

“This is the most unbearable creature in the world,” I said to Boh. “Obviously I have to keep talking to it, but I’m just getting irritated, and it’s not really fun anymore.”

“Why don’t we change gears?” Boh suggested. “Let’s just get weird.”

And thus ends Part 1: The Questioning. Stay tuned for Part 2, in which the messaging turns fun again by taking an absolutely ridiculous, absurd turn.

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