So recently I decided to venture into the online dating world since I have both a male and female friend who utilize the technological means of meeting someone and with some luck. Neither of them has had a serious relationship come of their forays but none the less they have met members of the opposite sex and gone on dates–and that’s more than I can say I’ve done in the past few months (with the exception of one boy whom I met at a bar with his dad…long humorous story for another day).
Anyway, I created a profile on the site plenty of Fish by uploading a few pics and writing a few blurbs about myself and what I’m looking for. You are asked to answer a series of standard questions including your gender, what you are looking for (everything from serious relationship to “intimate encounter”), your age, hair and eye color, and your ideal first date. Within a few moments you are done and you picture is available for all the world to see should they so choose along with some personal info and a tad bit of shame.
I’m not sure where the world stands with online dating. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone who met their husband or wife online these days yet it still is a rather embarrassing endeavor to admit engaging in. Why? Well I will tell you why I personally feel a bit embarrassed…the connotation of online dating is that you are too much of a loser to meet someone in the real world like people traditionally have for centuries so you troll the internet looking for someone with the same quirks or who can at least stand your quirks enough to have sex with you or enter a relationship with you. I envision lots of men watching Star Trek in their mother’s basements, virgins at 30 meandering the web in search of a hot girl or any girl to date since they are too timid, weird, or acne-prone to find one out in reality. And that’s just it…online dating isn’t reality. It’s your best photos of yourself with the right lighting. It’s enhanced descriptions of your more attractive characteristics and omissions of all your flaws. It’s cheesy one-liners and maybe a few of your quirks shine through should you choose to be verbose enough to actually fill out all the questions but in reality you are highly filtering what info you are allowing individuals to see. I suppose that this is in hopes that someone will get to know you digitally prior to your in person encounter, should you choose to brave that route, and maybe he/she will get to like you enough to get past the fact that you are older, balder, and paunchier than your photo depicted. In my experience looks still matter and if you aren’t attracted to the person it doesn’t really matter what great conversations you had via a website’s email system–no attraction means it’s going nowhere.
I actually had tried online dating twice in the past (both times on Match.com) and had very little luck. Sure I went on a number of dates and met a few people I thought it might go somewhere with. Yet every time there was a sense of desperation in me. I feel as though many people who online date are either players looking to score or are really hard up for a relationship and just can’t find anyone, or at least that’s the perception of those who online date. It’s no secret that I fear being alone and want a relationship, anyone who has read my blog knows that, but I think the difference in me now is not that I just want a relationship, any relationship with someone I am attracted to, but rather, I want a real relationship with a guy who is truly right for me. Will I find that online? Doubtful but it’s worth a shot.
So, I set up my profile and began searching the available bachelors with my ideal characteristics (no more young ones as my cougar days are officially over) and no one too old (why exactly aren’t they married yet?). Amongst 95% ugly, creepy, lonely men I found a few seemingly sane cute ones who actually seem like normal guys. Sure a few of them are only on there to get into my pants (or some girl’s pants that is) but there is a solid 1% that actually are caving and trying a new method of meeting people other than the tried and true bar scene or the friend fix-up. This one percent actually is normal, cute, and looking for a potential relationship but isn’t desperate or hard up. The trick to finding the right man on an online dating site is much like that of shopping at TJ Max, Ross, or Marshalls. You have to dig through racks of crap to find the few items that actually are cute. Then, amongst those items, you still have to find your size and fit. Well, online dating is about weeding through the players and uglies and basement dwellers to find the few guys or gals who actually are normal and compatible with you. Then the only real problem is one that shopping never leaves you with, these select few have to actually like and want you back. So, much like interviewing for a job you send out your “applications” to men in hopes of getting a response and only a select few get back to you and spark up a conversation. Worse yet, the crap actually reaches out to you and attacks you with great force. I’ve been on there all of two weeks and have already been propositioned for sex, offered a wet willy as punishment for not writing back, and been told by some creep that he wants to “fuck me hard.” My friend within two days got a penis picture and was informed by this man he was going to fuck her brains out on the first date. My guy friend went on two dates with a girl, no sex, and already she’s in love and sending him late night messages about the tingles he sends down her spine. What is it with the face to face detachment of the web that allows people to somehow think it is ok and socially acceptable to do and say things that no one would have the balls to do in person on a real date or first encounter? If a guy walks up to you and whips out his dick or tells you he wants to fuck you hard he could be arrested for indecent exposure or at the very least you’d slap him or run away screaming. Yet, on the web, they expect you to swoon and hop on their dicks, I just don’t get it.
Online dating is a whole other world outside of the real world that I will never fully understand. We look at a pic or two and a paragraph about someone, decide they are worthy of our time, send them an email, await a response like the olden days of awaiting a call after a first date, then if all goes well spark up a conversation with a complete stranger telling them all about who we are and what we do. Should this go well and they don’t proposition you for sex or utterly creep you out, you then have the nerve wracking experience of meeting them in person. Will they abduct me? Do they look like their picture? Will they kill me like the Craigslist Killer? Oh please don’t let them be creepy. Our minds race with fears and concerns that no one has on a normal old fashioned date. Sure the chances of being murdered by your internet beau is slim but nonetheless it’s more of a reality than the chances of being killed by your friend’s cousin whom she’s been trying to set you up with for months.
Aside from all the scary nonsense, there is just an overall weirdness to online dating. You’ve talked to this person way more than you would that guy at the bar and yet you don’t even know if you are attracted to them yet. Sure you’ve seen a pic or two but with the right lighting and camera angles virtually anyone can look good and there is no substitution for that face to face encounter and sense of attraction. Looking at a pic is not the same as seeing someone in real life. Period. Now if you meet a guy at a bar and he asks you out, you will instantly know if you are attracted/interested and will either say yes or no. However, online dating is far trickier. You chat with this person and get to know him or her for a week or so before you actually meet face to face for a date, all without knowing if they have good teeth or what their voice sounds like. Then, God forbid you meet in person and they are heinous, you’re stuck on a date with them for at least an hour, trapped with someone with whom it will go nowhere. You can’t just get there, say “next” and walk away. You are stuck going on the date even if that feeling isn’t there. What’s worse is they may really like you and now you’ve got this person pestering you who has your number and means of contacting you while that ugly guy at the bar accepted your brushoff, moved onto another lovely lady, and has no means of getting in contact with you or stalking you.
So, all fears and abnormalities aside, how exactly do I feel about online dating? Well, I guess I’m not really sure. Certainly I’ve had enough experience in it and I must admit it is nice going on dates and meeting people but I’ve never really found anyone that I had a true spark with. No experiences of sensational chemistry like I’ve gotten from friends of friends or sexy strangers, just mediocre dates and decent conversation–along with a few weirdos. I’m not a huge fan of being the center of attention but I must admit, when I get an email saying that someone has written me a message I light up just a bit in hopes that the person is cute, normal, and potentially the one. Of course I’m thoroughly disappointed when it’s just another creep but there is still a semblance of hope in me. I feel like a less crazy version of Ginnifer Goodwin’s character in He’s Just Not That Into You, trying all means to meet a good guy to fulfill some inner void. It’s not that I’m desperate, I just like the company, friendship, and comfort of a relationship. Plus it’s also no secret that I love sex so having that readily accessible doesn’t hurt either. I’m also a 27 year old work-a-holic who really doesn’t have any great means of meeting someone. Sure I go to clubs each Friday but the chances of my meeting a great guy at a club are rather slim, plus I don’t really get approached as much as I’d like and when I do they tend to be drunk and creepy–I apparently am a creep magnet. If they are not creepy drunks, they are barely 21 and I left feeling like Mrs. Robinson yet far less seductive–in fact it is them who try to seduce me! How that is I’m not quite sure but the young ones are drawn to me and I guess I am like a moth to flame as well because most of the guys I’ve dated are younger than me. I guess that is one plus of the online dating world, you can adjust your search parameters by age, body type, hair color, eye color, etc. So, I have faithfully decided to not go lower than 23–and even that seems far too immature for me. I’m getting old (yes I know 27 is not OLD but it sure feels it…that clock I never thought I had has started softly ticking). I need someone who can keep up with me and is willing to settle down in a few years, no 21 year old is remotely ready for that–they haven’t even found themselves yet.
So, I guess the jury is still out on my opinions of the online dating world. Pros: you get to search by your own desired parameters, you get to know the person before meeting them, it’ s a decent way of meeting people in your post school days. Cons: People lie, people are creeps, people deceive you with cleverly photoshopped pics, and players are rampant. Ultimately, if you decide to venture down the online dating route, be wary of those who fall in love to quickly, stalkers, players, murders, and weirdos but, all that aside, just have fun because it is quite enjoyable to meet new people, go out on dates, and live a little.