The Dating Profiles

Web series chronicles the good--and the bad--of online dating.

by Sebastian Fortino
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There you are. Sitting at home. Just you and the dogs, or you and the cats. You sip your wine or chamomile tea. Everything is just fine. Even if, you know, you’re...single. Just then, as you contemplate a book or a movie, your phone goes off. It’s an alert from OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, Grindr, Scruff, Hinge, or Bumble. You’re single but, maybe you don’t have to be! At least not for the night.

Oh, the possibilities! Oh, the swipes! Oh, the glory of it all! The series is brutally honest, from the very opening of the first episode.

“Tinder can be the most magical thing on the planet, as long as you don’t have an expectation for it. And then,” the subject gives pause, to give we the single some hope, “you just meet the most magical creatures on the face of the planet.”

 

Rachael Solomon, filmmaker behind The Dating Profiles. 

Filmmaker Rachael Solomon, is based in the New York City area. She has also worked in queer media, as she was once a photo editor with Go Magazine, which focuses on queer women. Having spent much of her time professionally and romantically in the city she is well-aware of the highs and lows of online dating. Her new web series, The Dating Profiles was recently picked up by Seeka TV. So far in the series, she has interviewed single professionals and artists in New York. She spoke with PQ about the series, and her inspiration behind filming.

“I would say, one motivation was, when you’re in your 20s and 30s most of your time is spent focusing on your career or relationship, and building those things,” Solomon said. “So that dominates everything you do, especially your social media posts and your conversations.”

So far six episodes have been produced. Solomon looks forward to a second series, and would like to work with colleagues in the industry to interview subjects in other locations. PQ will certainly welcome Solomon should she come to Portland.

Solomon pulled writers, comedians, and actors from amongst her friends to be interviewed for the series. She feels there are really only two sides to dating as presented in the media. On one side, a very Sex in the City experience, where dating is presented as a revolving door of romantic or sexual partners. The other side is a very sanitized depiction, that doesn’t reveal too much. Solomon wanted to showcase the reality.

“One of the subjects, Jamie, had a blog in which she shared the asinine comments she would get back. We just don’t get a lot of things that are genuine about the reality of dating,” she said. Like many young women in New York, she knows a lot of heterosexal women and gay men. “That seems to be my social pool, so I want to diversify the people whom I interview.”

A straight guy, who looks like the a young Jason Schwarzmann in Rushmore, lets you know all the urban angst he feels about dating and working in New York. He says he’s a waiter and hates it. The contempt on his face is priceless. He recounts how a friend of his changed his Tinder settings, with surprising results.

“So, one day I left my phone at my friend’s house, and he switched my online profile from straight to gay,” he said. “In three months as a straight man on Tinder nobody messaged me back. Within two hours of me being gay on Tinder, my inbox was bursting. I didn’t switch it back to straight for a while, because I was honestly flattered by the attention. I loved it.”  

He descibres himself as average, normal looking. Apparently women in New York do not appreciate a young Jason Schwarzmann! Come to Portland, I'm sure your luck will improve!

Two of the men profiled, Alan Jude Ryland and Justin Zirilli, are both gay writers and cat fathers, living in New York. I am familiar with their dating woes over Facebook, but as they are both droll, funny guys who appreciate a little bit of self-deprication in their words, it’s hard to know whether their lamentations are real or imagined. Zirilli is also a comedian and comedy show host in Manhattan. According to their appearances on film, the struggle is in fact real.

“I don’t believe that sex needs to be that complicated. We’re on an app, where sure...if you get a date out of it, cool. There’s a date. But predominantly people use it for sex. Right,” Ryland asks viewers. “If you can hook up, great for you. And if not, well that sucks.”

Ryland’s statement, “and if not, well that sucks” reveals there’s a competitive aspect to the dating apps. Not only are we competing with our friends to be able to say we are actively looking for someone, we're gettin' some or at least trying to, but also we’re competing with ourselves.

Zirilli admits he’s on Match.com, but it’s not him that’s paying for it. Poking fun at himself, he reveals what his family found more believable in terms of his lifestyle choices and decisions.

“Apparently, like me making out with guys was more believable than like...me not eating pepperoni,” Zirilli told Solomon at his family's reactions to going vegan.

In terms of filmmaker Solomon’s romantic life, does she use any dating apps?

“I did when I was dating,” she said. “That’s how I met my boyfriend, but I had many different, varied experiences before. I am very happy with him, but my experiences before are a reason why I wanted to do this series.”

I have avoided the apps lately. The weather is getting nicer, it’s been lovely to be outside. Today, it’s a typical rainy, gray day in Portland. So, left to my own devices, writing this with the dogs on the couch, and my chamomile tea: I bit. I reopened my OKCupid account. The first thing it said is that they are insisting on real first names now, no more user names. This they said is to humanize the dating experience. I literally laughed out loud.

You can view The Dating Profiles here. ProudQueer Portland will keep you posted about any local interviews.