Episode 60: IRL

The Overthinkers tackle Quentin Tarantino and online dating.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, and Mark Lee to overthink Inglourious Basterds, welcome Tracey from Chicago, and construct an online dating profile.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment, use the contact form, email us or call 20-EAT-LOG-01—that’s (203) 285-6401.

Next week will be a listener feedback episode, so get your calls and emails in!

Download Episode 60 (MP3)

21 Comments on “Episode 60: IRL”

  1. Daniel #

    One thing I have noticed from my personal experience on online dating sites (and it’s entirely possible that it’s due to me being 17, therefore the majority of the potential matches are 2-5 years older than me) is that there is a vast over-representation of the seems-nice-when-you-chat-online-but-is-actually-on-something-illegal-and-has-2-fatherless-babies demographic. Seriously, it’s happened to me more times than I’d care to admit.


  2. Daniel #

    BTW, loving these longer podcasts, you guys are generally interesting enough to approach 2 hours without quality dipping so you definitely have my approval if you are considering doing these longer shows more often!


  3. fenzel #

    I dunno, Daniel, 17 seems a bit young for online dating. Don’t you have pretty girls all around you at school whom you can talk to without paying a subscription fee? And, failing that, don’t those girls have friends,

    School is one of the best dating resources you can come across. Any dating site I’ve been on seems pale by comparison.

    One thing I would advise against is doing online dating thinking it’s easier than meeting people in real life. If you have any sort of broader social connections, it really isn’t – it’s actually quite a bit harder. Riskier, too. Having mutual acquaintances to vet people for you or to provide some sort of observation or recourse in the event you get taken advantage of can be a pretty big benefit for both guys and girls.

    Of course, you may be thinking, “Man, I HOPE I get taken advantage of,” you really don’t. I suspect you’re better off with the cute girl in class than with the 22 year old baby mama trolling for teenagers on the Internet.

    Be careful out there.


  4. Genevieve #

    I had a bit of experience with online dating, back in the day (like, 10-12yrs ago.) Frankly, I got along just fine by following the TMI model that you warn against in your discussion. I found, and have always found, in the world of dating and friendship, both online and IRL, that giving more information than anyone could possibly ever want to know about me might scare off the majority of people, but the ones who are left are the ones worth bothering with.

    Plus, I’m pretty certain that I was saved from the typical pitfalls that girls in their late teens/early 20s experience in online dating by the fact that not even a date rapist wants to sit through dinner with a Rush fan, if he can avoid it.

    Really, though – I was painfully shy, clumsily awkward, and more comfortable communicating in writing than in speech. (not that much has changed…) Online dating made good sense. I had several nice dates that didn’t really click, and met one boy whom I dated for several months. All in all, a win. I’ve never regretted it, anyway.


  5. mlawski OTI Staff #

    “not even a date rapist wants to sit through dinner with a Rush fan”

    My quote of the day.


  6. Daniel #


    I’d normally agree, except for two factors really change that dating calculus:

    1. I’m actually in Uni, doing engineering. (which has about a 5:1 sex ratio, so the “ask out the cute girl in the class” advice is not really applicable)

    2. I went to an all-boys school so I have no female friends from school or real experience talking w/ women at all.

    ATM I’m basically going by something similar to the model Genevieve stated, talk a lot online so you get comfortable and already know the person quite well when you meet IRL. (which is at least partly as a response to the women I mentioned above) I know I’m not the only shy, nerdy person who’s ever had this problem though, so I’m definitely open to suggestions and this podcast was interesting in this regard.

    You’re definitely right about not it not being worth looking for that kind of risky gratification, but the women in question are usually overtly crazy enough to make that clear very fast.


  7. fenzel #

    @ Daniel

    Yeah, I mentioned this to my girlfriend (whom I met on Match), who is a preschool teacher, and she mentioned that big gender disparities in certain disciplines at school are a good reason to go the online route.

    Also, I have a 17-year old sister, which is the source of some of my overprotective instincts in the matter. Guilty as charged on that one ;-)


  8. Genevieve #

    Haha sure :)


  9. Gab #

    Damnit, Fenzel, now I feel bad for using my little American Flag avatar as often as possible, and I don’t even have a profile on a dating website… :(

    This online dating discussion made me think of people that join stuff like social networking sites in order to find a relationship. If having too much stuff or elaboration is a turn-off, my own profiles on the ones I’m a member of would probably make people run away screaming. Good thing I didn’t join them with the initial purpose of dating, though- I joined each with a specific goal in mind, and “love” wasn’t it. And, thinking about it, I realize the “friends” I made on them that were, actually, hoping to find romance in some way (even if that’s not why they “friended” me in the first place), have much more succinct and ambiguously specific profiles than I do. Although, I suppose the verbosity of mine could have a lot to do with my generally verbose nature.

    Question, though. If people meet online *without* the intent of romance, and then develop an attraction to each other because of the correspondence, would you consider them participating in online dating, too?

    Belinkie, have you ever tried speed-dating?


  10. fenzel OTI Staff #


    My take – no, “online dating” refers to the use of online dating sites like Match, eHarmonym, OkCupid, etc. Meeting on Facebook doesn’t count as online dating, just like making out with the repairman you hire out of the newspaper to fix your air conditioner doesn’t count as using the personals. Online dating refers to the product or service you use (“Have you tried online dating?”) not simply to dating that happens to be originated online.

    Also, Belinkie and went to speed dating events together back when we lived together, so I think I can answer in the affirmative on his behalf.

    Furthermore, as a woman, you should never be surprised if you meet a random guy online and it turns out he isn’t against the idea of sleeping with women he meets online. There’s a large enough proportion of men who aren’t against sleeping with women they meet anywhere, and there’s a large enough proportion of men who are online, that I’d imagine it’s a pretty common occurrence, even if the woman never finds out about it, on mathematical grounds if nothing else.

    Present company excluded, of course. Overthinking it is a purely cerebral, entirely platonic Web site. A sanctuary of the syllogism.


  11. Amy #

    Being old and married, I feel as though I missed out on this online dating phenomenon. While I met my husband IRL, I will say that my partner in life and crime developed our budding relationship online via those amazing conversations through e-mail and IM during college.

    To all the podcasters in regards to the “Seeking friendship option on online dating sites” point. Many, many, many women (and I’ll even include men on this one, but more so women in my experience) have been passing around this almost crippling mantra when it comes to finding the monogamous partner of their dreams… “the strongest relationships are borne of strong friendships.” I can definitely see why many people might choose the ‘seeking friendship’ option. This glaring beacon on your profile sends as strong message that you want to develop a friendship before delving into the tangled web of sexual conquest. In essence, basically dousing the flames of lust and/or passion, to get down to the nitty, gritty interested people by weeding out those who are looking for ‘da hook-up’ versus the long term relationship. Adding credence to the “friendship before relationship” theory is the fact that marriage counselors across this great nation have propagated the idea that, couples in marriages that see their counterpart as friends first and a couple second have a better chance are better at dealing with conflict resolution and thereby upping their odds on the 50/50 divorce rate.

    To me this theory loses steam when I think back to every wedding I’ve ever been to and know for a fact that somewhere during the ceremony the banal phrase “Today I marry my best friend,” was uttered. (And no.. it wasn’t in our vows!)

    I also want to pose a question about the effect of pop culture on dating in general,(Forgive me if I’ve brought this up before on the site, but I can’t for the life of me remember.) Does anyone feel that our culture has built up an unrealistic ideal of dating and finding a mate? I.E. what the perfect mate should or shouldn’t be? Not so much relating to looks, although that does seem to come into play, but more to the point, the prospective mate on screen becomes more of a caricature rather than a portrayal of actual desires. I have several single friends that have gone beyond being picky about what they are looking for, and it seems to me the idealized partner built up in the minds of said single friends has manifested itself into the unattainable caricature of films, thus leaving them lonely and asking the question ‘Where is my one true love?’. Any thoughts?

    Oh, and if I were back in the game, I’d totally rock my gravatar picture as my profile picture! :)


  12. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Amy: Yes.

    …But maybe I should clarify. Clearly movies give both men and women unrealistic pictures of twoo wuvv. In the woman’s case, it’s the idea that there’s one (and only one) Prince Charming out there for you, and if you just hold out and wait for that destined meet-cute to happen, you’ll find him and live happily ever after. Personally, though, I’m more worried about the man’s version of the romantic comedy, where the moral is that, even if you’re a schlubby, petulant manchild, all you have to do is stalk a hot girl long enough and be slightly less of an asshole than the guy next to you and she WILL have sex with you. Then you’ll get married (yay!) but your life will be awful (boo!) because wives suck and are nags with no sense of humor. (This is not true.)

    On the topic of dating your friends, I’m all for it! “Today I’m marrying my best friend” might be a cliche now, but it’s better than, “Today I’m marrying some guy I have nothing in common with,” or “Today I’m marrying some guy my parents picked for me.” The only problem I can see with this thinking is that it may suggest that your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse should be your best and only close friend, which is clearly a recipe for disaster. I’d assume this is more true for the mens, because, in America anyway, there’s this unspoken rule (bromances aside) that real men don’t talk seriously or share their feelings with anyone except maybe–sometimes–their girlfriends, and then only to trick them into having sex.

    Unfortunately I must admit this whole comment is very heteronormative, because I haven’t seen many LGBT romantic comedies in my time.


  13. Matthew Wrather #

    @mlawski — Totally: the way for a schlubby, petulant manchild to get a hot girl is to be slightly MORE of an asshole than the guy next door.

    There haven’t been a lot of mainstream gay romantic comedies, because discourse about gay relationships (as opposed to gay sex) has been excluded from the mainstream. This is partly a case of homopobia and heteronormativity; it’s also partly to do with some controversy within the gay community as to whether film should represent gay people having hetero-style relationships. (Especially during the heyday of identity-based critical theory, there was a “gayness as radical political statement” movement within both the academy and the community.)

    Also because the real “will he or won’t he” question in a lot of gay movies has to do with coming out and not about dating a specific person.

    Also because of AIDS, which kind of took over gay movies for a while.

    But I digress. Watch Jeffrey, written by Paul Rudnick (also of “In & Out” and, um, “Addams Family Values”), which not only has Brother From Wings but also has Captain Picard.

    @Amy — The trouble I see with becoming “Best Friends” first — before getting down to the shtupping — is that developing any friendship takes a lot of time and shared experience. People who are really attracted to each other often don’t want to wait that long. I think the preferable model is to see all these aspects of a relationship — friendship, trust, respect, and shtupping — as developing in parallel.

    People with an unattainably long and specific laundry list of desired traits in a partner don’t really want a partner at all (or aren’t ready for one or whatever)… but, for whatever reason, want to seem like they’re available and looking.

    It’s kind of like people who won’t take a job because they can’t find the absolutely perfect one: These people don’t actually want a job at all.


  14. fenzel #


    The men’s version of the romantic comedy _is_ the bromance — the buddy cop movie, or the sidekick adventure movie, or the teen buddy sex comedy, or the “two or more guys learn to accept each other for who they are” movie, if you’re being serious.

    I definitely don’t think the American stereotype is that men don’t share their feelings with anyone but women. I think the American stereotype is that men share their feelings with their buddies, especially in extreme circumstances, and the downside of being with women is that it takes men away from the only people in their lives who, up until this point, have loved them and accepted them for who they are.

    Like, ask a guy which movie better reflects what they like and want – Hitch or Superbad? Knocked Up or Saving Silverman? When is it more acceptable to cry – in bed with your girlfriend or after the Super Bowl or NBA Finals? Which room would they rather be in – Joey and Chandler watching Baywatch, or Ross and Rachel doing pretty much anything other than intercourse itself?

    Then ask them the last time that sharing their feelings with a woman with whom they were not already heavily involved actually improved their chances of having sex with her (as opposed to TORPEDOED them).

    A lot of the stuff men are accused of doing to spite women (being bossy, being emotionally distant, not caring about feelings, not communicating, getting all weird about money and professional stuff), they really do FOR women. They do it because it’s what they think women want or expect from them, because women confirm by their behavior and sexual selection that this is what they want or expect from them.

    Guys among guys want meaningful friendships, they want intimacy — guys who tend to be defensive or standoffish show their guy friends vulnerabilities they would never show women.

    Do you think super-douchebags dress up like super-douchebags and make snarly faces at each other when they’re hanging out around the house? No, they do it when they are out among women.

    They just don’t use these words because they are afraid that appearing immasculine will make them less sexually successful — that they will be rejected by women for it, which in turn really only matters because it leads to them being held in lower esteem by other men.

    I think a lot of people miss this because they are so eager to bust open heteronormativity that they assume any intimacy between otherwise masculine male characters must be a sign that they are gay. By calling out guys like Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, or Frodo and Samwise as closeted, people actually do more to confirm heteronormativity than diminish it — because they deny men self-identification with cultural exemplars of their emotional, intimate frienships.

    The romantic comedies with the schlubby guys getting hot girls are concessions to guys (because who wants to watch footage of a guy more attractive and successful than you being adored and chased by women who wouldn’t give you the time of day?), but they’re not for guys. Guys in general don’t like romantic comedies. That’s pretty basic film audience demographics.


  15. Amy #

    @Mlawski – I agree. It’s a patriarchal stamp on the already proven double standard on gender roles and stereotypes in pop culture. The schlubby hubby and the “Bangin’ hot” wife has particularly caught fire on the small screen; ‘King of Queens’ or ‘According to Jim’ for example. Some say that the show ‘Less than Perfect’ was a great equalizer. In my opinion, Sarah Rue is far from the schlubby equivalent of say, Kevin James. The titles of said shows speak volumes: Fat guy + Hot Wife = King of Queens, Chubby girl (by Hollywood standards) – life partner = Less than Perfect. Which “life stye” is regarded with more esteem? I feel films still portray the sexy, debonair leading man with an equally sexy and elegant leading lady. Or at least falls closer in line with the idea that you pair off with your numerical equivalent on the hotness scale. I guarantee you won’t see Robert Pattinson macking on the Creature from the Blue Lagoon or some Swamp Beast anytime soon (of course if you view Kristen Stewart as either one of those frightening aqua beasts, I stand corrected.)

    If I went a wedding and heard, “Today I marry the guy who I met a the bar six months ago, and I don’t think I can do any better” or “Today I hope I’m marrying the man that I believe knocked me up.” I would find it quite refreshing. My cynical mind guesses that more often than not, they’re saying the “best friend” line, but are actually thinking about one of ours.

    Mlawski – I think we need to tag team these guys on the podcast, Show ’em what for! LOL

    @Wrather – I stand with Mlawski on the dating a friend issue. My not-so-schlubby hubby and I were friends long before we even remotely thought about dating. We weren’t best friends, but friends nonetheless – in the same circles, classes and activities.

    But I think that it the question not being asked, whether it be online or IRL is, “what you’re looking for? Shtupping or long term?” If it’s long term, does it really matter whether or not you spend time becoming friends first? Think of how many people fall for their friends regardless of how the felt on the way in? The cornerstone is already set. How often have you learned more about someone and they become either more attractive to you, or less attractive to you. Physical attraction will be a constant, you’re always going to be attracted to someone, but not every someone is going to b eable to provide the support in a relationship. In the long term it’s the the substance that is more important.. so all the schtupping in the world won’t make you a good long term couple.

    You’re parallel theory of friendship, trust, respect, and schtupping developing as one is a nice thought, but I think we often forget that all bets are off when it comes to matters of the heart. Because males and females process emotions relating to intimate interaction in different ways, these actions don’t always develop simultaneously, but develop in stages whether we want it to or not. I’m more inclined to believe that the order you have here is listed in order of importance for women, and that for most males they would prefer the reverse order.

    But I feel it is my duty to pause on the up with friendship parade and mention the pitfalls of the friendship first… the dreaded “Friend Zone.” Anyone have any comments on that?

    Please excuse my epic comments! I’ve been out of school too long, and need to practice editing and conveying my ideas more succinctly.


  16. J Wood #

    I would like to share my story of online dating and hope that others that listen to this fine podcasts can emulate my technique and be successful. I also fairly over thought the entire process, as such feel it is appropriate for this crowd. When in University (I have recently graduate) I discovered I wanted to be in a relationship, but could no longer meet girls. The ratio of men to women was horrible in most of my classes, and I was no good at talking to girls at places like bars or clubs. I was also fairly busy and did not have the time to go out to parties often (which would be my normal method of meeting women). I felt I was too young to go on a dating website so I used facebook and zoosk (the largest flirting program I could find on facebook) to solve my problem.
    I set up my profile, honest but didn’t reveal allot of information about me, and put up two pictures. At first I would scroll through people, carefully select who may be a good match, and talk to them. This yielded no results after many weeks. At this time I decided to take a step back and think about how to exploit this system of the flirting program as best as possible to achieve my ends (get dates with attractive females) while minimizing my time commitment.
    I first made the assumption as this was a visual medium there would be a certain percentage of women that would dismiss me off hand independent of what I said solely based on my picture. I also made the assumption that there would be girls that would reply to me no matter what I said solely because they were attracted to my profile picture. I also assumed there would be women that would use my profile picture and what I typed in to determine whether to reply. In this sub category I decided that those who would judge me by what I wrote would be more likely to respond positively by me making a random comment about what they have written in their profiles then their looks. In cases where there was nothing I could quickly pull from their profile to talk about, I would complement their looks anyway. Also, I knew from sending flirts and previous dating in general that the hardest things about talking to someone you don’t know is to think of a subject. As such I would always ask the women that I flirted with a general question they could reply to and mirror back at me. So that any women that wanted to talk to me could easily continue the conversation. Finally, I decided that women who would reply to me are essentially random. That looking for common interests had little effect on respond rates. As such, I would only generally look at profiles, removing those I found completely un-datable, and flirt with all others.

    From these assumptions I decided to spam the community of females I found attractive with a general message that would randomly compliment something in the women’s profile and ask a general question. The question occasionally became specific if a good topic revealed itself in the woman’s profile on a quick glance. If not it would ask what they studied or where there profile picture was taken. I did this usually while eating dinner and watching downloaded T.V shows during study breaks. Any women who responded to me asked to add me to instant messenger messenger for further conversation. Within one week I would ask for a date. If this did not occur I promptly moved on and no longer dedicated time to them. Further screening would occur and the dating stage to weed out crazies that were not weeded out through msn. Within 1 month of implementing this system I was in a relationship. This method worked whenever I was single and wanted a relationship throughout the entirety of my University. (4 times).
    This technique was incredibly efficient as, when in university in a small town (Waterloo, Ontario), the vast majority of women I contacted lived near me. So quickly arranging dates at mutually agreeable times was easy. I highly recommend it to anyone in University in a relatively small town. Now that I am located in the big city I do not know how effective this method will be. Also, zoosk has disabled its free user ability to reply to emails. As such is no longer any use to me. If anyone knows any good dating websites for Canada please post them. I would like to see how effective I can be on a real dating website.


  17. J Wood #

    Ahh crap I typed this in word and assumed when I cut and pasted my comment the spacing would remain. Now I know better :S. Oh well, ignore my giant block of text above, its painful to read in that format.


  18. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Fenzel: Very good points. I guess the difference between our comments involves the definition of “emotions.” Yes, guys are more likely to cry at a football game than with their wives. I guess that’s a real emotion… I just don’t care enough about sports to understand that reaction.

    That wasn’t what I was thinking of, though. I was thinking more along the lines of, If a parent or your beloved childhood pet died, who would you cry to? My guess is, not your football buddies.


  19. Megan from Lombard #

    My experience with dating web sites has been with only one; Trek Passions and was actually one of the first girls on there when it was set up back in ‘05. The male/female ratio was about 10:1 and contrary to what you might think I got very little e-mails wanting to get to know me.

    The ones that I did get I chatted to for awhile but then the emails would suddenly stop (although there was this one guy who was slightly stalker-ish but that’s another story).

    I think that there might be something said with friends fixing you up on a blind date because your friends know what you like/don’t like and can find a person that they also know who likes the same things. However they can get it horribly wrong and you go on the date from hell, but if you do survive the date you can tell your friends what exactly went wrong so they don’t do it ever again ;)

    And there’s also speed-dating, which Fenzel sort of brought up with the dating during work. You can see what works and doesn’t work in “pitching” yourself and you find out what you like and don’t like in a person. Although with speed-dating it’s mainly based on looks since you don’t have that much time to get to know someone.


  20. Gab #

    Ah, the “Friend” category. Cake has a great song, “Friend is a Four-Letter Word.” Look it up.

    Here’s the problem with that idea of marrying your best friend: if you try it because you think it’s what you *should* do as opposed to what you *want*, nobody is going to be happy in the end. You won’t because you’re lying in some way, and they, unless they’re totally dense and/or selfish, won’t because *you* aren’t happy. I seriously had this happen to me in college: the guy had never been in a relationship, wanted to see what it was like, and thus picked me to “court” (as best as kids in a college dorm can) because I was his closest female friend (read: I watched football and played Mortal Kombat with him and his buddies AND I had boobs, oh my GOD). Unbeknownst to me, of course, there was never any actual romantic attraction on his part, and while I had suspected there had been something wrong once that courting period was over, I had never thought it would be something like *that.* But he was “doing what [he] thought [he] should” and “acting how [he] thought boyfriends are supposed to act” which all had me fooled. (Yes, I sound bitter. Sorry, but, well, I was used, and who likes that?)


    AAAAAALL that being said, I still think getting to know a person a bit before “deciding” about them is a good idea, and prefer it that way. As has been stated, you have a much deeper cornerstone for the relationship to rest on, a better knowledge of quirks and characteristics that could make or break it for you. Nonono, it really shouldn’t be your BESTbestbest friend, because we should all want a break every now and then (or else maybe it’s an unhealthy obsession a la _Twilight_). But to back up some other comments, I do think different people approach relationships differently, although I wouldn’t necessarily ascribe the differences to gender- I’d like to think it’s an individual thing. But, personally, I’ve had very, very strong feelings for guys/men that were physically unattractive because I knew their personalities and found *those* to be dead-sexy- so I’d be much more willing to go on a date with one of them over the hottie sitting next to them I didn’t know. And I know a number of my gal friends have done and felt the same. Hell, two are married to men they weren’t attracted to at first (and attraction is no problem now, by the way). This isn’t the same as the _King of Queens_ schlubby hubby thing, either, because these men are actually decent people on the inside.


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