One of the best reasons for living a singles lifestyle is that society licenses you to approach and meet completely random people in your search for a partner. Internet dating sites have proliferated, and increasingly target niche markets ranging from the raunchy to the reverend.
Most try to provide the market with mechanisms to give greater insights than just a photograph and core statistics as to age, location and employment.
Having engaged in the rituals of internet dating I have become quite cynical of the ability of the cyber world to appropriately convey anything other than the message that there are a massive number of people at any one time looking for some brand of association.
Recently I came across a dating brand that must have had its roots in the HR industry - the whole focus was on personality profiling. Questions that I'd answered years ago in my searches for employment reappeared in slightly gentler formats.
After slaving away for two hours describing what I'd do at the approach of an angry bull or disclosing what my favourite breakfast cereal might be my responses were collated into five bell shaped probability curves that were said to describe my conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, extraversion and neuroticism.
Apparently these are quite significant and discernably different parts of our personalities.
I suspect that like most of the respondents I was pretty comfortable with the outcome I was rated as being easy going, cautious, inventive, extroverted and emotionally stable. I can't begin to imagine that anyone else would be described on the flip side as fraught, reckless,unimaginative,introverted and unstable?
The descriptions are a nonsense - pandering to the clients need for reassurance that they are highly desirable objects of attention. - in order to ensure that the client will continue paying substantial fees to the web site owners.
Rather than trying to describe subjective personality traits there seems to be an aversion to describe what the client has actually participated in and achieved in their lifetime.
People who are described as adventurous and independent by the profiling techniques invariably list gardening and trips to the supermarket as activities in which they engage.
Its hard to find credibility!
For those of us who believe that we are best described by our outcomes the content presented on most dating sites serves little purpose.
We shouldn't judge books by their covers but a nice photo will do - thank you.