Last week, during a quiet moment at the office, I completed a “Dating Profile” Quiz on OKCupid.com. After I filled in my age, gender, sexual orientation, and general views on dating etiquette, I came across the following question:
Who would you rather walk in on you while masturbating?
a) your mother, or
b) your father
I’m sorry, what? Where is secret option c) – I’d rather tend bee hives naked with a daisy in my arsehole?
The wording of the question wasn’t crystal clear either. Are my parents barging in with their hands down their pants while I calmly sit and drink peppermint tea, or am I wanking with the door open? And which scenario would require the greatest number of therapy sessions to combat the resulting drug and alcohol addiction and chilling nightmares?
When I completed the quiz, it told me I was “The Window Shopper.” Apparently, I am slutty with my eyes, and then discerning with my hands. I figure that’s better than the other way around. But then this high-brow evaluation told me, “You tend to obsess over men who you have only recently met.” I snorted and shook my head in disgust, then read every wall-to-wall Facebook conversation of the guy I picked up the weekend before.
Unless I appoint myself a title, I generally do not like to be assigned labels or slotted into any particular category of society. Earlier this year, I announced to my boyfriend at the time that I was planning on stopping smoking. (Note: “Stopping” sounds easier than “quitting”, as I stop things constantly – my car, the dryer, anybody unbuttoning my jeans, etc – while “quitting” implies defeat, and “giving up” has connotations of abstaining from something desirable. I am fussy with my verbs.) “Don’t worry,” the boyfriend said supportively, patting me on the head, “You’ll smoke again. That’s what smokers do.”
Smokers. Excuse me? Who’s a smoker? Admittedly, I enjoyed the odd cigarette – up to half a pack a day – most days since I was fifteen, but that did not make me a Smoker. Did it?? When asked whether I smoked, I would usually reply, “Only socially. And alone.” There was nothing false about that statement, but it generally did not sit comfortably with others.
How many times does one need to commit an act before being assigned a title and stuffed into a pigeon-hole? I have kissed girls, but I’m not a lesbian. I have prayed, but I’m not a Christian. I have stolen, but I’m not a thief. I’ve taken drugs, but I’m not a junkie.
To be honest, I find it offensive that the internet so often requests me to define my entire self by ticking a bunch of boxes. And whenever it graciously allows me the freedom to “describe myself in a few paragraphs”, I usually respond with the only thing genuinely applicable:
I am Annik.