Hi Brooke,

Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful response. You pointed out some things that I should have caught, some blind spots in the writing. I’m going to paste your words in below so that what I’m saying makes sense:

I know you do not shy away from comedy, and am trying to discern if this is satire?

I struggled with whether to tag this “humor,” but in the end I did, probably because my sense of humor is a little dark (or a lot dark, and probably *too* dark). I may still change that tag.

Bad apples are present across the spectrum of types. That is a reality, but kind of bleak approach, don’t you think?

I do think it’s a bleak approach; I also think it’s a realistic one. I’m not trying to demonize all men, and I knew that would be a danger of writing this piece. But the (sad) truth is that we live in a world where going out with the wrong man even once could be a grave mistake with dire consequences (I’m not talking about an awkward dinner here).

Mostly I hate to think of the negative response this might trigger, if others (by that I mean men) were to read this . . . . Like the guy expounding on honesty as a given and learning from bumps in the road. He doesn’t necessarily talk like that.

Right, and here’s where I really appreciate your feedback, because I clearly didn’t do a good job of explaining what my beef was with that guy’s comment — it wasn’t his writing style or even the content of what he wrote — it was that he was writing in in the second person. I just completely re-wrote that part of the article using a different guy-quote, and I added more explanatory discussion in the analysis. It’s pasted in below, and I’d love to hear if you think it’s clearer now. Thank you again for reading and for engaging with this — I really do appreciate it.

“You should be positive, open-minded, and willing to try new things. You should enjoy staying fit, staying sharp, and truly believing that the best things are still ahead! You should be well-read but not take yourself too seriously, responsible but still fun!, and take good care of yourself but still be able to enjoy good food and a few drinks now and then! If this sounds like you and you’re ready to jump whole-heartedly into love, send me a message!”

This one is also tricky. The content of what he’s saying, while cliched and overly exclamation-pointed (!!!), is not the real problem here. The real problem is that he wrote this text in response to the question “A Little Bit About Me.” The problem is that he’s writing in second person (“you” should be this, “you” should be that, etc.).

If he’d written it in the first person (“I’m positive, open-minded, and willing to try new things . . .”), we wouldn’t be analyzing this text. But this guy took a question about him and co-opted it to tell YOU exactly what you need to be to be worthy of his attention.

This guy is mansplaining to you in his dating profile. Imagine what it would be like to live with him. Good god.

English professor and humor writer based in Green Bay. McSweeney’s, Points in Case, HuffPost, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Human Parts, others.

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