By Skeptik Sinikian
Skeptik tries to find out if true love can be found through a computer
So last week I decided to venture into the world of online dating for Armenian singles. I must admit that I haven’t had the time to conduct this experiment in the most scientific way possible. I had it all planned out to the last detail last week. The goal was to register my friends on these websites–monitor their activities–and see if online dating really works for Armenia’s. My prediction is that the idea of finding love through the internet is a pipe dream but we’ll have to wait and see the results before passing final judgment.
Before I get into the actual details of my experiment–I have to tell my readers that of all the columns I have written–last week’s column elicited the greatest response yet. I didn’t know whether to smile or cry–so I laughed until I cried and then sat down to begin my great experiment.
Day 1: Monday–November 15–2004–Registration–Wow–it’s free! Since there’s no cost to registering on these websites–I decided to register on one of the many Armenian singles sites in order to do some further research before creating my friends’ profiles. I registered as myself–Skeptik Sinikian on "Hye Singles" (HS). I put up the best picture of myself I could find and began answering the questions that HS had presented in order to determine who my ideal match would be. After reading some of the questions which included such gems as "If you had magical powers–how would you use them to help society?" and "How do you feel about the ethnic Armenian separatist conflict against the Azeri government?" I decided that this will take a little bit more thought than I had originally anticipated. I logged off and went to grab coffee. By the way–I chose "Skeptik" as my HS profile nickname. So much for creativity.
Day 2: Tuesday–November 16–2004–There’s no such thing as a free lunch: I had had a full breakfast of cold lahmajoun and an apple. I had read the morning paper and was in a good mood. I logged onto my profile and had already received 2 "flirts." For those of you who don’t know what "flirts" are–they are a method for users of HS to contact one another in what will be interpreted as the internet equivalent of "Can I buy you a drink." My two "flirts" were from individuals who thought I was apparently "hot." Here is a sampling of the "flirts" I received: "Hello Skeptik. Wow–you’re hot! I feel as though we have know each other for ever. Email me! I’m waiting for you… "
So in spite of the fact that this message gave me visions of some quiet–innocent looking Armenian girl breaking into my apartment to boil my pet rabbits–I decided to respond anyway. Interestingly enough–if I wanted to send this young–potentially psychotic girl who claimed to feel "as though we have know [sic] each other for ever," I would have to upgrade my membership to the platinum level. The least expensive of these services would cost me a mere $29.95 per month with a $29.95 initial fee. Apparently the best things in life aren’t free. The only thing standing between me and my potentially psychotic soul mate was a mere $59.90. I decided to continue living the frugal life and not respond to my "flirts."
Day 3: November 17–2004–Answering life’s difficult questions: I finally got around to answering HS’s questions. Here’s a sampling of the questions and my responses to them. I tried to be as honest as I could. By the way–these are actual questions and my actual responses.
Describe the perfect evening or weekend: Mid 70s with a slight offshore breeze.
Do you believe in love at first sight?: I believe the question discriminates against blind people and since true love is blind–I will not answer this question.
How do you feel about the ethnic Armenian separatist conflict against the Azeri government?: I fully support the right of the people of Karabagh to seek self-determination and relinquish any ties to the illegitimate Stalinist Soviet borders imposed upon them.
What do your friends tease you about the most?: My friends tease me about my punctuality. They are always making fun of me for being on time or early to everything. They also tease me about my SARCASM!!!
Interest for using this site (to find a cyber pen pal–lover–etc.): Yes–my motivation is to find a cyber pen pal…idiots!! What the heck is a cyber pen pal!? Here’s the deal. I’m on this website to conduct an experiment to see if it is indeed possible for Armenia’s to meet each other using this medium. For more details on my experiment–you can refer to my blog at www.sinikian.blogspot.com. I’m also seeking actors and actresses for an Armenian Soap Opera I’m working on called "Ashkharuh Bududoomah" (As the World Turns). Any interested aspiring actors or actresses should email me.
Okay–satisfied with my answers–I log off. I have yet to convince my friends to create their profiles and join me in this experiment.
Day 4: Wednesday–November 17–2004–The Profile Nazi censors Skeptik: I try to log on only to find that my profile has been suspended. I wonder if HS has caught on to the fact that I’m doing an experiment and not in search of TRUE LOVE like everyone else on the sight. I begin to panic thinking my cover has been blown and the Hye Singles Security Squad will break down my door and take me away to re-education camp where I will learn to give more conformist responses to questions like "What is your ideal age for marriage?" or "If you had to identify with one animal–which would it be and why?" I start packing a small suitcase of clothes–a sock full of change that totals $37.48 and my passport–just in case I have to flee the country to Canada or Mexico. After great deliberation–I decide to email the World Single Network and inquire about the suspension. I wait an entire day with no response. Potential lovers are being denied access to Skeptik. This is wrong on so many levels.
Day 5: Thursday–November 18–2004–Back on track: I log on and find an email response to my previous day’s inquiry. At least someone is working on this website every day. Sort of reassuring I suppose. Here’s what the email said.
Hello, As delineated in the terms section–member profiles may not be used for commercial promotional purposes (casting calls). You may however use the Message Boards to raise this topic. Your profile has been reinstated. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation. WS Staff
Apparently my mention of my fictitious Armenian soap opera was enough to shut me down. I removed the information about my potential program and continued my experiment.
Day 6: Friday–November 19–2004–One is the loneliest number: Thus far–I have received 28 hits on my profile. I have received one email from a loyal reader of Asbarez and have received two more "flirts" bringing my "flirt" total to four. I’ve received some encouraging and supportive emails from Asbarez readers–mostly women. The experiment may have hit a snag. Tomorrow I will create the other profiles and make them appear as genuine and generic as possible. Where it asks the ideal age for marriage–I will put down 19–25 for women and 30-39 for men! Where it asks what animal I most resemble–I will put down a Mercedes Benz! I will play their game and I will find out what makes these Armenian singles tick…
End of Week 1 log. Be sure to read next when I begin to reveal some of the more bizarre dating experience stories that people have emailed me during the course of these last two weeks.
Skeptik Sinikian is not a licensed relationship counselor or a psychologist. The last experiment he conducted was adding basturmah and string cheese to a home made Hawaiian pizza. The results were inconclusive. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.