The website targets “farmers, ranchers, and country folk” and insists that “city folk just don’t get it”. As city folk we found it hilarious and immediately called over our friend who comes from one of those square states in the middle. Eventually our curiosity got the better of us, out came the smart phones, and before we knew it we were cobbling together a fake profile. What transpired was a quick trip through these five stages.
One of the first options FarmersOnly gave us was our gender, and the gender of whom we would like to date. (It, like most dating sites, did not include an options for us fluid folks). But, we were excited that this dating website, targeted at what we presumed to be (incorrectly it turns out) a pretty small-minded market would include a gay option. Well done FarmersOnly, your inclusion of gays and lesbians impressed a bunch of judgmental east-coast, big city liberals, and maybe opened our minds a bit. Next step: bisexuals…we need dates too.
We could not stop giggling as we moved through the options to complete our profile. As we guffawed at our clever puns about husbandry, butternut squash, and rolls in the hay more and more of our friends joined the circle to see what was making us double over with laughter. Sometimes they joined in an offered their own jokes about organic farming and dried kale chips. (Believe me, lesbians think this is hi-larious, there was almost a pants peeing incident). Sometimes they just laughed, said we were crazy, and went back to their table. A few eyed us suspiciously. And I bet one or two made a mental note of the website. Mostly though, it was jokes. The profile was exceptionally long, with all sorts of options to choose from. Everything about it just seemed so foreign to those of us who’s idea of living in the country is anything more than a mile from the subway. For the girls who know the rural lifestyle more intimately, they explained the choices to us (what exactly is the difference between a rancher and a farmer?) laughed along too, and made jokes about how us city-folk really didn’t understand.
I am always baffled by the specificity and balkanization of dating sites. While I appreciate that you may want to spend your life with someone who shares at least some of your beliefs, the idea of agreeing with someone for the next 50 years sounds tedious and horrible. At first, I thought the same thing about FarmersOnly. Why do farmers need their own website? It’s not like all farmers would have share universally similar ideologies, and it seems like they would likely be interacting with people much further away then if they used a dating site geographically oriented. Charlie lives in the suburbs and I consider that long distance.
But yet again, once of my square state friends clued me in. There is something ideological about rural life, if only that some people prefer it. What countryside may not matter to them, but the number of stars visible in the sky might be. Alright, fine. I’ll buy it – although I still think everyone should open their horizons a bit.
As our profile got more and more detailed I started to feel terrible about this exercise. A cursory search showed 2 women within 100 miles who fit our age bracket. I thought about my own experience with online dating and how difficult it is when you feel isolated from potential mates by your social circle. Here is a website for people that might be geographically isolated as well, and who are we to make fun of them. At this point, my insistence that someone was going to fall in love with us and that we were terrible people was bumming everyone out. I was banned from the circle.
With my conscience still needling at me I moved on to other events of the evening and put our sort-of cruel, sort-of funny joke to the back of my mind…until a few hours later when I noticed a forwarded e-mail from one of the masterminds of our escapade. Our profile was REJECTED! The e-mail was terse, simply saying they were sorry but our profile was rejected. Not because we were obviously fake and making fun of this business, but because we, “gotta keep it clean.”
This is a website that is designed for the explicit purpose of putting people who are far apart in touch – and maybe they want that touch to be a sexy one. I was livid. FarmersOnly was cool with homosexuality but not puns about casual sex? And that’s the thing I really hate about all these dating websites (aside from, of course, all the other reasons I’ve already said I hate them).
They are this great modern tool for finding someone in this big, scary, world who might be just like you in all the right ways. They might seem like a progressive, evolved, challenge to the status quo, but really, it’s just the same old ideas with flash animation and a Comic Sans font. They assume that everyone is looking for a monogamous relationship, so that’s the product they sell. And they filter their users to ensure the only thing available is exactly that. Having a dah is fun. Non-monogamy is exciting. Casual sex, sometimes, feels great. More than that though, it is really normal. It’s what we are all doing.
While I get my share of feisty feedback on my column, a lot of you tell me things like, “I had that exact conversation,” or “I didn’t think anyone else felt that way,” or “I went through the same thing.” There has been a recent trend in my Facebook feed of people posting how they met their partner on their anniversaries. One said something to the effect of, “ten years ago I met a man when a group of us went to the movies” while another said, “I made out with a fireman in the bar and now we are getting married.” So why can’t the story be, “I post a less-than-sophisticated pun about oral sex and now we are having a commitment ceremony on our llama farm”?
Why can’t we use these websites for what they really are? A tool for networking, for exploring, for figuring out if we want a long-term commitment and with whom we might to have it. Instead they are forcing antiquated ideas in a modern forum. You can try to find love on our site, but only if you do it in a way we approve of. Well no thank you FarmersOnly and Match and e-Harmony and all the others that think that way. I’m going to stick to my dodgy, half dating half social networking site that lets me identify as bisexual, meet up for casual sex, look for couples to swing with, or, if I want, seek out a monogamous-commitment, long-term relationship. A website where I can build and maintain my dah, because that reflects reality.
Susan Bi Anthony writes about all things gay, straight, in-between, and outside of the box. You can follow her @SusanBiAnthony for snarky witticisms and updates on her adventures in non-monogamy.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
Follow Dating & Hookup on Instagram
Follow Jess on Instagram
Follow Becky on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter