After several months of blissful OKCupid deactivation, curiosity got the best of me and I reactivated. You know, just to see how things were doing in Mordor.
Good news you guys, turns out I am still sexy and interesting as hell and everybody cool wants to date me. Oh wait, just kidding, most of OKCupid is comprised of grown-up Garbage Pail Kids and members of improv troupes. That's totally unfair and hyperbolic and I've met wonderful dudes there. I also have nothing against improv. But anyway, I reactivated.
And then I remembered why the fire of a thousand suns rages in my heart when I cruise profiles. It's the goddam travel brags. Guys who claim to be traveling all around the world at all times and taking goofy, cliche pictures in the process. Seriously, where do I find one of these unicorn jobs where you have enough time off to go to both Thailand and Costa Rica in a calendar year? And are they hiring?
There are legitimately unpleasant and problematic things that go down on OKCupid so I know this seems like a non-issue. Go ahead and file this under the "Alana Would Prefer to Have A Perfect Dude Arrive on Her Doorstep With a Bow on His Head Rather Than Actually Go Through the Trouble of Dating."
But seriously, if I have to endure one more "What I'm Doing With My Life" paragraph that says "Trying to fill up my passport on as many continents as I can" I'm going to do something very...local. You know what my section says? "'Workin for a living.'- Huey Lewis and the News,'' because what most people are doing is goddam working.
Don’t get me wrong, I love travel and think people should do it as often as they can but what’s with it being the ONLY thing they can talk about or document?
Below are the top offenders in the Travel Braggarts Hall of Fame and why they bother me so much. It is not so much the travel itself but the way it's presented. Also, I present sweet alternative travel photos from my friend Casey so that this article won't just be a bunch of selfies of me eye-rolling at the computer as I read about trips to Cozumel.
The Hippies of Macchu Picchu
These are the least offensive to me but they bother me due to sheer volume. Now, True Confessions of a Fairly Educated Women: I didn't know what or where Macchu Picchu was until a few minutes ago. So it might seem that this article is really an unwitting exposition on just how provincial I am. Fair enough. I am still tired of seeing bearded dudes in cargo shorts with arms outstretched in front of the Krag or whatever. Seriously, why has everyone but me been to Machu Picchu?
If you are unfamiliar with this trend, type "Machu Picchu" in the search bar on OKCupid and see how many pages of dudes come up. Once when I did this, I stumbled upon a guy with whom I had almost nothing in common who made fun of the phenomenon and almost messaged him just so we could commiserate about it.
Also, Google "Machu Picchu in danger of destruction" and realize that this is a site that really shouldn't be trampled all over by tourists, no matter how environmentally conscious they are being. Quit your hippie trampling and show me that you're cool in other ways!
The Baby Tiger Handlers of Thailand
I was flabbergasted by these pictures when I first started seeing photos of men, usually giving a thumbs up, next to a baby tiger. Have you seen these? They're everywhere. Now tigers are going extinct at an alarmingly fast rate so I was befuddled as to how there was so much overlap between people who online date and people who happen upon chilled-out tiger babies.
I was then made privy to the fact that this is a popular tourist attraction in Thailand and that the tigers are so docile cause they're HIGH AS KITES ON HEROIN AND OTHER OPIATES. So thanks for contributing that to the "People Are the Worst Species" exhibit.
Seriously, have you ever seen a dope fiend jonesing? It is some seriously sad and aggro shit. And when that baby tiger gets older and you try to get it off junk, you're gonna have one angry tiger that has no opposable thumbs or access to legitimate currency. And it knows you have it. You didn't really think this one through, did you?
Jetsetting in Terrible Regimes
Ah, the charms of Dubai! Sunshine! Synthetic and eerily clean beaches! Larger than life skyscrapers that put other cities to shame! The cruel enslavement of nearly all its blue collar and domestic workers! One of these things is not like the others.
Am I the only one that has come across plenty of profile of folks sitting on the top floor of some swank hotel in a country that brutally oppresses women, intimidates voters, and “disappears” dissenters? Why would you be proud to have given such a place your money and your selfies?
Now, I understand that if we only traveled to locations with clean democratic records and spotless maternity leave policies, Scandanavia would sink under the weight of millions of tourists. And that would be terrible because we would lose Robyn and ABBA and the geniuses behind IKEA. But sometimes the crimes of a state are so egregious that to travel to that country is to tacitly endorse its actions.
The "LOOK IM HELPING AN IMPOVERISHED CHILD" Photo-op
And now, to the opposite kind of travel-photo braggart. First, a confession: I have TOTALLY been one of these. I studied abroad in Ghana during undergrad and worked in an orphanage. I'm not sure if you know this, but babies are hella cute and I wanted tons of pictures.
In my defense, I was 20 years old and hadn't yet learned just how problematic it can be to use people from other cultures, particularly those in poverty, essentially as props to tell a story about how CULTURED and GIVING you are. And while I wasn’t doing that consciously, that’s kind of how clueless privilege works.
Honestly, I really respect people who are in the Peace Corps and other volunteer roles worldwide and am happy that people have taken advantage of those opportunities. I’m not happy that they’re posting photos of other people’s children on a dating site without their consent. That the photo exists I don’t even mind, but to use it to construct a charitable narrative about yourself I find upsetting.
So I don’t cruise that many lady profiles but do women do this too? Do others find this as obnoxious as I do or am I just being a picky jerk? I had five dates last week with people who managed not to do this on their profiles so there’s hope for me yet. One of them had pictures that all clearly took place in his apartment. Man after my own heart, I suppose.
I have since deleted my account entirely and hopefully for good. It’s the only vacation I can afford right now.