On August 13, 2013, The Huffington Post published an article I wrote called, Date Me If You Dare. I wrote the article as an experiment; my intention was to speak bold truths about myself and place them in such a way that, were I to be looking for a date, this would be my truthful version of an online dating profile, à la eHarmony, or Match.com. I'd seen the profiles of others before and just about all of them seemed to either be missing huge chunks of information, or they came across as fairytale fabrications that might lead one to think the person in question is someone they're not.
It was a top story and featured a quote of mine on the front page. My article was placed in a prominent position and received a lot of attention. But, as it goes with just about every single piece of published work that hits an Internet audience, the reactions always weigh in to the negative. Always. Unless you're writing about kittens, a writer these days can bank on the fact that no matter what they write about, the public will tear it to shreds simply because they can.
Just to recap, my pseudo online dating profile spoke of both my good qualities and my less than desirable traits. I mentioned that even though I am a very loving person, sex is not my ultimate goal (as it is with some), how I could use some financial assistance (as in dinner) and how I was cursed with an inability to cook. I also put up a recent and realistic photo of myself at the end.
I decided to take advantage of my access to millions of people, via my friends at The Huffington Post. I was sincerely curious as to whether someone could find me appealing enough to date -- if I came clean and represented myself as I really am. The results were disastrous, as the majority of readers found my honesty worthy of their scorn.
But as a dear friend of mine said, "There is no failure here. You make people think, whether they react positively or negatively. Your job here is done." He was so right; my job here is done. Another close friend asked me, "What did you learn from this experience?" I learned that not only are people afraid of the truth, they prefer pretty little lies any day. Simply, they cannot handle the truth.
When I expressed that my experiment looked like a huge fiasco to me, one woman suggested that perhaps I might have done things a different way, in other words, it might have been more of a "success" had I created a more attractive profile by not being so... truthful about myself. Well, that was the entire point; I wanted to be completely me, because, if I were serious about trying to find a date through online means, I would only be interested in someone who would find me attractive for who I am, not for who I'm not. Not Dori the "maid in the living room, the cook in the kitchen and the whore in the bedroom." That old quote is attributed to what a woman must be in order to keep a man. And by the looks of the reaction I got to my article -- where I expressly admit I'm not a good cook, nor do I care that much about round the clock whorish sex (I am tidy in the living room, I must admit to that...), apparently both men and women felt it was best to take me to task, condemn me and basically make me feel ridiculous for even bothering.
To which I say, people... go back to your world of lies. Go pretend you've got the better way. Go retreat into your perfect palaces of pretense where you can tell yourselves that women like me don't exist, or that one could do so much better. We do exist; not every woman on earth feels she needs to be a sex slave and a cook, and as an artist who makes a living solely through selling creative works, yeah, I could use a hand with money every once in a while. At least I admit it.
I am who I am. If you're so offended by the fact that I can't cook, then don't eat my food. If all you can see in all I've written is that I want a man to pay for my dinner and that I can't expect to have that dinner without paying for it with sex, then please -- take your ancient mentality and use it again and again in comment boxes so that for that half a second when the spotlight is on you, you can make sure you come across as hateful and jealous. I'm the one with the esteemed position of being able to write for an audience of thousands, you're the one with the anonymous username and the moderated comment. Go you.
I'm not saying that my list of credentials makes me a good person, but it certainly does make me an interesting one. Between my starting the Rocky Horror Picture Show cult in 1977, starring with Christopher Walken on stage at the Public Theater in 1984, touring the country while promoting my CD, Blue Djinn (which has seen consistent sales since 1996), graduating with two degrees in arts and science, surviving breast cancer and becoming an activist on the subject, living as a single mother who adores her child to pieces, writing a novel, working every single day as an essayist, an editor and a painter, not to mention that I'm the best friend anyone could ever ask for -- if all you can see in me is my less-than-rabid sex drive and my inability to impress Gordon Ramsay, then all I can say is thank you for sparing me you.
So, do your worst. Rise to the top of your stinking heap and bellow out your slimiest insults. At the end of the day, you can snuggle up with your lies and your fears and feel really, really good about yourselves for not being an "asexual, gold-digging bad cook."
Above all, I want to thank the kind people behind the scenes, with real names and real stories, who supported my efforts and cheered me on -- none of which took place in tiny little boxes awaiting moderation.