ISO Wife update
Some life lessons in looking for love.
Thought I should give an update on this whole ‘wife set up’ thing.
I have some new readers now, who probably think that this newsletter is about dating and wife “tournaments”. But I just wanna manage your expectations…
Part of this newsletter is focused on ‘experiments’ (as well as community/ collaboration/ crypto, art, tech, etc.) and not about me… or dating. But, at the same time, I want to share some personal lessons. Because, yeah, I’ve learnt a lot.
And I want to use this opportunity to help others explore new ways of finding connections.
So, here are some lessons from my ‘experiment’ so far.
Lesson 1: Money as an incentive introduces complications.
I should have seen this one coming. Offering friends, and friends of friends (FoFs), money to set you up on a date borders on mail order bride territory… I was a bit shortsighted here. First, it can just come across as icky. Second, it can (and will to some extent?) interfere with the courtship. Though, I’m hoping I wont let it cloud my judgement.
I chose to use money as an incentive for FoFs to share my profile. Cash is easily transferable. I had considered making art, but not everyone may be interested in my art. I decided to use cash prizes like Weekend Getaways and Used-Cars (or the equal amount) for fun and flare. This was silly. And confused people.
In the future, I would recommend offering something unique to you that doesn’t involve a cash transaction. For example, maybe you could offer to walk their dog once a week or forever be indebted to them. Or maybe a simple thank you card. Or maybe something in between? Open to discuss ideas.
For the record, money is still on the table for this one. I’m good for it. But if I were to do this again, I would offer something different.
Lesson 2: Control the narrative - be careful of media
I’m assuming most people trying this ‘email setup’ experiment wont run into the same problem of media attention. Unless, maybe you offer more money;).
For starters, I did not anticipate getting any media attention for this whatsoever. I had assumed my email would reach 50 maybe 100 inboxes.
The fact that this “story” was featured on CBC’s The National, on Sunday night, the eve before a federal election was very silly. And it made me feel a bit sheepish in two regards: 1) Had I not been a ‘young’ white straight male, this wouldn’t have been a story. Can you imagine CBC running a story on a 45 year old Filipino woman looking to be setup? 2) There are obviously way more important stories. Even for myself, I have crazier stories. Or more interesting things I like to talk about, like DAOs. I wish I just got to talk about DAOs for 2min. Heck, even this story of a guy who ran into someone travelling is a bit more interesting. ;)
[Side note, I’m also just kinda kicking myself b/c a few days later this story on CBC came out about a hamster who is trading crypto and outperforming hedge funds. And I had this exact idea a few months ago but never acted on it. subtle brag. note, they really should have used a ‘hedge’ hog. ]
But alas, I agreed to do an interview with the CBC. I didn’t know to what extent it would be shared. And the final story was not what I envisioned. They used language like “competition” and “contest”. And the narrative was changed*. I didn’t feel like it captured me or my story. But I realize (now) that that’s a hard thing to do. Someone who works in media described it to me that it was done in a way you’d cover a burning house story. Sick burn. CTV did a story that I much prefer.
And watching myself was hard. I can laugh at it now, but the man on the screen looks pathetic and desperate. lol. CBC managed to edit this story in a different way, so I decided to do the same.
*I don’t view this as a competition. But I can see how it can be perceived that way. Which brings me to another lesson…
Oh but wait. First, some sides lessons about media and attention:
1) Be more critical of the news stories you read. And understand their motives.
2) When you’re leaving comments online about someone you don’t know, maybe consider the fact that they may read them, and how you’d feel to read it. Also, maybe consider the person a bit more. Try to understand them.
(Came across this quote^ from Lincoln today. Also, check out @trungtphan on twitter. a must follow. also a fan of Hacker News (spoiler alert). and a friend of Rich’s :)
3) Being exposed and not having control of your ‘narrative’ can feel scary. Try to avoid reading comments. Oh and try laughing at yourself. Even if it’s about your moustache.
4) I was lucky that my newsletter and personal information wasn’t tied to the news stories. For one thing, I didn’t want to receive emails from complete strangers. I was hoping to just reach these FoFs. Oh and funny. My story was picked up in some Chinese online media last weekend, and I received dozens of personal emails from mothers and aunts in China and Taiwan asking multiple questions about my employment records, height, weight, etc.
5) If you’re going to appear on TV, shave and wear a nice shirt.
Lesson 3: Be mindful of your approach
OK. This lesson is a bit vague. But I think a lot of it comes from the language you use and being clear about your intentions.
Hearing people describe this as a competition was a bit surprising to me. When I sent out the original email, I viewed both myself and the ‘date’ as an applicant. I’m sharing my bio and putting myself out there with my friends, and trying to encourage others to do the same.
I didn’t want to create any power imbalance - or treat this as some kind of competition. Or interview process. And I still don’t know the solution for this.
But here’s why I don’t consider this a competition (and I could be wrong):
My intention was to meet new people that lie outside of my friends circle - by sharing my profile via email. This friends of friends circle - which, is an even bigger pool than my friend circle - is a group of people that IMO has lots of potential. And maybe even FoFs can introduce me to other Neatos and Weirdos. Or maybe Randos and Strangeos.
With a pandemic, and the closing of many activities, it’s become harder and harder to meet these people. And, as you get older, I think the opportunities diminish*. But maybe I have to get more creative.
I went to one ‘party’ this summer*. (Heck, maybe even the only party in the last 2 years). A backyard bbq with eight or so people - I only knew one other person there. I think everyone was maybe hitched; I didn’t care. It was just so refreshing to meet new people. So maybe instead of sending out emails looking to be setup, I should try to make new opportunities. Open to ideas here. And if you’re reading this, maybe can you invite me to your backyard party ; )
* I’m not here to complain about this. And a few friends have pointed out to me that being a woman, it’s much harder. I don’t disagree.
Anyways, I’m just ranting here. But, I am looking for solutions on how to navigate this.
Oh, I also want to add here that we should be mindful of our language too. I use the word “wife” sort of as a joke / shock value. To be clear, I’m interested in meeting new people. I’m also interested and open to the idea of building a relationship with someone… and hopefully even a long-term one.
But, I’m also quite content on being alone. So, yeah.
Lesson 4: Vetting process
Sorry, I lied. I don’t have a lesson here. Because I’m still not sure how to tackle this problem.
Unless you have unlimited time, you’re going to have to decide on how to choose potential dates. (Can I just use the words candidates, for simplicity? Sorry).
How did I handle this? I set up a committee. I wanted to recreate the idea of friends setting friends up on a date. Does this negate my personal responsibility? Sure. Is this the best approach? Probably not.
Maybe it’s better to read the emails myself. But, part of me wanted the surprise element. Again, to recreate this blind date aspect of a setup.
But, maybe this could be done with just one friend vetting, instead of a group. I was fortunate to have an interesting mix of friends volunteer to help me.
It was also special for me because my ‘friendly committee’ each know me from a different part of my life — e.g. childhood best friend, first year university res floor mate, grad student friend, tennis buddy, hiking buddy, Jet’s hockey team player, etc.
I also received some feedback to include single people on the panel. Something to consider. (Oh, side note, if you’re interested, I was interviewed on this “Set up” podcast. I still haven’t listened to it. Partly b/c I’m afraid how I might come across in the interview. But, for people interested in the art of setting up, dive in!)
Overall, there are 7 women and 4 guys on the committee. I wanted to recreate numbers from a BC jury. I haven’t had much contact with the jury, but I think the process could be streamlined better. Maybe easier if you had less people. And a plan in place. haha.
I still haven’t had any dates or contact with anyone yet.
Lesson 5: Hacker News is a cool community
I made the mistake of reading the comments online about my ‘story’. It was full of criticism. Which I understand. And most of it I agree with.
But one community I was blown away with was Hacker News. People actually had interesting discussions on the plausibility, merits, and shortcomings, etc of this experiment. You can read them here.
This was exactly what I was hoping to achieve with this ‘experiment’. Well, that and finding a lifelong partner.
But I was very impressed with the conversation this sparked. And felt grateful to have people take the time to consider this approach more deeply.
I think there is a stigma attached to asking to be setup. And I can’t offer solutions there. But I do want to help others to find creative ways to put ourselves out there. #noshame
So if you have ideas or thoughts, let me know.
*by the way, I’m not going to edit this. Or organize this. It’s just something I want to put into words and then move on. There are other things I’d rather be discussing with you guys. Turns out, I’m not very interested in talking about personal things like dating. And I’m not sure if I’ll be giving update on my ‘wife search’. Unless there are some personal experiences that I think can be good lessons for us. Or, if I do something really embarrassing or stupid on a date; I love talking about that stuff ;)