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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

171

The Pros and Cons: Online Dating

So you tried the bars and got a couple of whiskey-fueled makeout sessions. You tried being set up by mutual friends and got some new Facebook friends. You tried dating at work and are now updating your résumé. Time to try the internet. But first, consider this:

Pro: Dating's fun! Or at least, it should be.

Con: Only it's not. It's fraught with uncertainty, crossed lines, sexual mishaps, unrealistic expectations, and broken dreams. Sowwy.

Pro: Online dating has been around long enough now that you can match your site up with what you're shopping for. Marriage? Try eHarmony. Slightly serious hook-up? Try Match. Good times with a sprinkling of WTF? OK Cupid's your poison. Looking to shut your mom up? I think JDate is that way. Black and wanna meet black people? You're gonna want Black Planet. White and wanna meet black people? Afroromance is for you. Gold diggers, I haven't forgotten about you — check out Wealthy Men. You're welcome.

Con: You have to make a profile. Hope you're naturally gifted at summing up your entire life in a few adjectives separated by commas, because that's what we're looking at here. Don't make it too long or everyone will know you have nothing better to do than talk about your likes and dislikes on a Saturday night. Don't make it too short or they won't get to see the real you. You want to make it witty, because everyone loves a sense of humor, but not like you're trying to be witty, because no one likes wink-nudge girl. And you want to be specific, because we're looking for someone who really GETS you, you know? But not too specific because most people don't love 18th-century colonial architecture AND Maya Angelou. I mean, people say they do, but not really.

Pro: You know what's more relaxing than spending an entire Sunday hungover, in sweats, on the couch, eating Mexican/Chinese/Italian, talking to your girlfriends about what happened last night and watching reality TV marathons? Spending an entire Sunday hungover, in sweats, on the couch, eating Mexican/Chinese/Italian, talking to your girlfriends about what happened last night and scrolling through dating profiles.

Con: The goddamn profile picture. No matter how good your profile is, your picture is eleventythousand more times important. Don't believe me? This is what they're saying inside when they look at your picture:

- If taken in the bathroom mirror: This is the line for on-line dating. The MySpace line is over there.

- ECU of a single feature: You're hiding something.

- An errant hand around your shoulder or a side of a face: What kind of person crops their best buddy out of a picture? The kind of person that crops love out of their life after the third date, that's who.

- An avatar, album cover, or picture of something that's not at all you: Don't get all "don't judge me for my looks" on me. You're on a dating site. Judging is what we do here. Next!

- Posing in a bikini: Oh good, you're DTF. Wonderful.

Pro: You know that one picture that someone you love took of you when you'd just found out some awesome news or did some kick-ass thing at work, or maybe you were traveling and you're all glowing and the lighting's perfect and you're not wearing that much makeup because you forgot all about it that morning and yeah girl, you look TONED at that angle, you been doing pilates? Here's a great home for it.

Con: I don't know the percentage of people who post profile pictures of themselves from five years, two inches of hairline, and 20 pounds ago, but that number is HIGH. Watch yourself.

Pro: Unlike at the bar, where staring at anyone for more than six seconds can get you beat up or roofied, here you can stare all you want. Stare until his image is burned into your brain, and feel free to imagine if he'll go well with that sundress you just bought, and in your passenger seat, and with your faces squished together in a photo booth.

Con: So we're at the point now where everybody does it, right? Damn near 2012. Our entire lives are spent with our nose in a screen, and 90% of us at least have a dormant Friendster profile. So why are we still making up “how we met” stories and laughing awkwardly/adding the “actually” modifier to “they met online”? Because there's still a stigma, that's why.

Pro: Just when you're scraping the bottom of a Ben & Jerry's pint and complaining to your cat about how you're sooo bored and you've met everyone worth knowing in this dumb city a million times over, and you're gonna start looking for a place in [city college BFF lives in] tomorrow... ping! Well, lookee there. You met someone new!

Con: Coming across anyone you work with. You'll end up sitting across from Pam from accounting in a strategy meeting and only seeing “MBA ISO BBM 4 sum PDA, NSA” plastered across her forehead.

Pro: Great alternative for those who don't have time to go out every night in the hopes of “meeting someone” (blech).

Con: Do you have time to deal with that one guy that you went out with that one time, and is now phone/email/Twitter/Facebook stalking you? Because he exists, in every single city, on every single site. And he's more initially attractive than you'd think.

Good luck in out there in the sexy jungle, folks.  You're either predator or prey.

Previously: The Pros and Cons of Dating Old Money.

Allison Davis is a writer and TV producer living in San Francisco.



171 Comments / Post A Comment

ann aunamis

I just rejoined OK Cupid after deleting my account in frustration because I was only meeting total fruitcakes on that site. But then I realized that I hadn't had ONE date since I deleted my account and I decided I'd just try to be a bit more discerning. But you are spot on with the profile creation anxiety, it's been about a week since I signed up again and I'm still futzing with it and questioning the photos and the list of movies I have on there, etc. Does my profile make me seem casual or just brainless? I think it depends on your perspective. Honestly I think people look at the profile picture first, and if it's good enough much of the profile text can be forgiven. That's my philosophy anyway.

nogreeneggs

@ann aunamis Yuck I did OKCupid for a while. Like km1312, I got a LOT of weird/creepy/disgusting 'hey gurl heys', some of the things people say! One guy I went on a date with spent the entire time telling me how he was so glad I was hot because he had met some fugs and how we should hook up. I think I was supposed to be impressed and flattered ugh.

Now I just date my coworker :)

km1312

This is all pretty spot-on. I've only done okcupid, and here's my take:

*I get a ton of stupid "hey gurl u look good" messages. automatically delete.
*In two years, I've gone on maybe six total dud dates - came away from some with a funny story, one or two with a new friend, another one or two feeling icky. Nothing crazy or super-upsetting, though, and it was kind of worth it, because...
*I've met three guys (at different points throughout two years) whom I've dated for a few months each, including the guy I'm currently dating.

Bottom line: Some things about okcupid are pretty annoying, and you'll have to sort through a lot of rough to find diamonds, but if you're socially inept/bored at work like me, it's really not difficult or time-consuming, and once you've met someone you actually like for the first time, it's basically like regular dating. The last part is really true, though - in the immortal words of Liz Lemon, "there are so many ways for a boy to not call you these days!" OkCupid is another one.

arletterocks

OH MY GOD I CANNOT MISS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHILL:

http://www.pantslock.com

It's a stash for the worst online dating opening lines, and it's turned that "You have a message!" anxiety ("Oh god what am I in for if I open this") into "YESSSS I hope this one's a weird one."

saythatscool

@arletterocks That was really funny. Well done.

arletterocks

@saythatscool Yay! Thanks! And remember, we have a "send in your own" page: http://pantslock.com/submit

whatawonderful

@arletterocks I mention that I foster kittens in my profile. I got an email notification about a new message 2 weeks after I joined (punctuation and capitalization unedited):

(Omitted)'s message begins: hello my name is david you are really beautiful i love cats we have six at my house we had two but...

I stopped checking messages for about a fortnight after that. Thanks cat guy!

sparrow303

@arletterocks Omg, I'm reading this forever! I'm back to page 8 already!!

carpetblogger

@arletterocks o boy. I live in Istanbul and had an OKCupid account for a while. I got lots of messages, obvs, from Turks, who have an, uh, distinctive approach. I will win this Pantslock site forever.

sarahf

@arletterocks Dear God. That website definitely brings things into perspective. That guy that messaged me on OKC asking to pee on me is TAME to some of these.

My favourite (so far) is the one where the guy wants to stuff chocolate truffles up her bum and have her poop them out into his mouth. Wow. Just. Wow.

HungryGrad

@whatawonderful, actually, I met my bf via electronic dating, and I wrote in the "what have you learned from prior relationships" box, "I don't feel like talking about this," followed by the story of the time we had to take my parents' cat (who is a long-haired angora mix) to the vet for an enema and then lock him in the bathroom with his litterbox so he could shit his guts out in a confined space. There was poop EVERYWHERE.

...Speaking of poop. And cats.

adminslave

I feel like I must be the rare example of when internet dating goes really well. I joined OkCupid on a Monday in 2008, had a date that following Saturday, and have been with my OkCupid match since then (we live together).

The most important thing with the profile is to be honest about what you are essentially like in your profile--its more in how you write it than what you write. I am very sarcastic and deadpan, and I often feel like profiles, job interviews, application essays, etc, want me to ape perkiness and optimism that I've never had. Also, if you are worried about internet dating when you are a little curvy/chubby (as I am) just post a full body shot. And if you are still afraid of getting rejected/insulted for sarcasm or chubbiness, tell yourself that in the end you don't want to be with someone who would reject your extra 20lbs or lack of perkiness.

It was my first internet date (and I hope my last) but it was one of the best things I have forced myself to do. I would have never run into my boyfriend otherwise and we are really perfect for each other. The only thing we wish we had is a better story about how we met.

DrFeelGood

@adminslave Haha we lie usually... um yea we met in a bar. You don't need a meet-cute to have a great relationship though.

adminslave

@DrFeelGood Yeah, I mean I usually mention that he asked me out on the second date in the middle of the first. We had our three first dates in a week. I consider it a date cute.

brista128

@adminslave Are you me? I'm pretty sure you are because minus the 2008 and moving in together (too soon!!), your story is my story. We had our first three dates in a week, met on OKC, I posted a full-body pic because I'm a little chubby, etc...

E
E

Anecdotally, I signed up for 3 months on Match, and met my current partner the day after, at a bus stop when he recognised me from my profile. We've been together over a year. Just saying. Match may deliver. Results not guaranteed.

DrFeelGood

I met my husband on Craigslist 7 years ago... and I feel like that place is definitely the BOTTOM of the barrel, in every sense. I went on a lot of nutty dates thanks to Craig, but I also met my partner because of him - so yeah online dating! I used to think of writing Craig himself to thank him, but does Craig even own the list anymore? Craig where are you?!

nogreeneggs

@DrFeelGood OMG was it a missed connection? Because that would be adorable! Even though I'm happily coupled, I always wish one would be about me. And not be scary of course.

DrFeelGood

@DrFeelGood Nah... just a plain old personal ad that I wrote. Funnily, I remember thinking before we went on our first date; I'm done with this online dating - this is the last date... well it was by happy accident.

Katie Walsh

Con: You run into a boy on Match.com who rejected you IRL and he sends you a message saying "I'm just doing this for research for a dating website I'm starting up."

I can't make this shit up people.

parallel-lines

@Katie Walsh How about some dude chasing you down when you're out with friends and asking you if you're (insert your profile name here) on (insert dating website here) and then blurting out, "I didn't think you were hot enough for me but you totally seem cool enough to hang out with as friends and you have good taste." All while your actual friends are standing there, jaws hitting the floor.

Yeah, that happened too :(

km1312

@parallel-lines noooo

Katie Walsh

@parallel-lines Yikes!

victory, whiskey, x-ray.

@Katie Walsh I hope your friends ate him.

ribstbbq

Oh god, this is a can of worms right here. So many a'misadventure through this okcupid business, including the worst date I've ever been on (which also happened to be my first). Needless to say, she got wasted, began half of her stories with "I shouldn't be telling you this, buuuuuut" and revealed that she had cheated on her now exhusband. He took the photos she had online, which was later revealed to be over four years old. She looked nothing like them. Nothing.

What I want to know how many commenters have put together a google doc with the horrid details of e-suitors. While living in Philadelphia my tribe and I had quite the extensive spreadsheet detailing ladies and lads whom had dates with one person and attempted to get with another, sent first messages with a photo of his penis slathered in swiss cheese, and which dude would refer to his date as his girlfriend (while they were on their second date).

Online dating is the worst. And the best. I hope I can completely delete my award winning profile off of okstupid sooner rather than later.

DrFeelGood

@ribstbbq Maybe I shouldn't ask this, but how does one "slather" a dick in Swiss cheese? It's not really spreadable... I had some online horror stories, but I have blocked them out of my memory I think.

ribstbbq

@DrFeelGood Microwave, perhaps? Slather was the wrong word, I'll admit, but I love the word slather, so I'll just keep it there.

Anyway, Swiss has a lot of holes, so you can only imagine how the individual with names like swiss-cheez-4u maneuvered the stuff around his stuff.

noodge

@ribstbbq i think the philly okcupid pool is pretty dreggy. i also used it for a short time in '09, found a 3 month boyfriend through it, but then deleted it because it seemed to just be a waste of time. i also was approached by "swiss cheese man" as the ladies of this town refer to him. between that and the dude who got so drunk he puked all over my friend's apartment on our second date, and the awkwardness of all my top matches being people i already knew (and would never date), okcupid just sucked.
found my current beau drunk at a bar. whatever works, eh?

DrFeelGood

@teenie OK as a Philly girl I've never heard of this... but yea, the dating pool here is small and remember seeing the same 3 dudes pop up online all the time.

Jenelle Rittenhouse@twitter

@ribstbbq Hopefully our date made the spreadsheet. The internet is small, no?

QuiteAmiable

We totally need a Hairpin dating site.

likethestore

@QuiteAimable We can have sock hops with The Awl!

swxnw

@QuiteAimable With men from theawl

Katie Walsh

@QuiteAimable @likethestore @swxnw Did those Gawker personals ever work out? I never followed up to see what happened with that? Did anyone ever go out?

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Katie Walsh: Not only did it founder, the Gawker overhaul/implosion swept them away entirely.

OKC is pretty much The Hairpin of online dating, anyway.

QuiteAmiable

@likethestore YES! Sock hops with the men from the Awl, this is awesome! I will be the fuzzy-haired girl standing by the punch bowl hoping to be asked to dance.

joie

i've had some truly random dates thanks to okcupid. but in the end, i met my current partner in a bar. i can't ever seem to conquer the initial awkwardness.

michiganjane

I joined OKCupid because I moved to Chicago, where I didn't really know anyone. It seemed like a good way to meet new people and to take baby steps back into the dating world after the demise of a long term relationship.
I met a handful of total weirdos, a couple good friends, and my future husband- We're getting married in October!

adminslave

@michiganjane That's awesome!

sparrow303

@michiganjane You're giving me hope! Congrats!

shantasybaby

@michiganjane I'm about to marry someone I met on Okcupid too! He's still a little shy about having met online but I don't care- the only way to end stigma is to talk about it like it's no big deal. Also, I like to give OkCupid positive publicity because I think it's a cool site if you aren't all super serious about meeting THE ONE like EHarmony or Match.

Talking about stigma, I also don't mind telling people that my future hubby and I met under dirty, NSA sex circumstances and that people who say you need to wait to put out or that you have to date a certain sexless way can suck it! We fucked first and fell in love later and I'm not ashamed!

michiganjane

@shantasybaby Haha! I felt totally weird about telling people we met online in the beginning. But pretty much everyone I know who is single is doing the online dating thing right now so I feel less weird about it.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

I'm "a little bit nerdy" and I listen to "everything except rap/country".

Tuna Surprise

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood - Is bluegrass country?

DorothyMantooth

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood And you're a Futurama fan. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

sarahf

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood "I like going out to the pub but I also like staying in cuddling on the couch and watching a film."

femme cassidy

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood When I had an OKCupid profile, it included a big snotty rant about how much I hate the phrase "I like everything except rap and country." Looking back, possibly I could have saved some effort and just said, "I'm opinionated and obnoxious"? But I really do hate that one. It's not just that it's a cliche, it actively offends me.

melis

@femme cassidy Based on your username and the facts you have just mentioned, I would like for you to marry me, please. When are you free?

femme cassidy

@melis Well, since my wedding next year will be in no way legally binding, I'd say whenever you're available! As long as the DJ plays some Johnny Cash at the reception.

whizz_dumb

@sarahf they always say that! but replace "pub" with "bar" and "film" with "movie". Also, rock climbing is apparently the #1 hobby here on the west coast.

City_Dater

eHarmony is to be avoided at all costs, unless you enjoy being matched up based on the results of reams of BS personality tests administered by a bigoted Evangelical Christian.

adminslave

@City_Dater I filled out the profile/questionnaire once out of boredom, and it is all about religion (I'm athiest). Also, isn't eharmony also for people who immediately want to get married? Ugh.

City_Dater

@adminslave

There was a hilarious interview on Salon.com a while back with the assclown who founded eHarmony (he's in their TV ads). He basically told the (single woman) journalist interviewing him she needed to act stupid if she wanted a husband. Big believer in "conventional gender roles."

adminslave

@City_Dater Yeah I remember reading that! While certain generations of men may have been intimidated by equally educated women, times are changing. My boyfriend's mother is a doctor, he knows women can be his equal and he likes 'em smart!

Also, eharmony is notoriously anti-gay. Do they even allow same sex couples?

LittleMousling

@City_Dater They lost a lawsuit and were forced to create a parallel site for same-sex dating, last I heard. But--I mean. I can't be the only queer who would never, ever, ever, ever use them because, you know. They had to be forced by court order to include us. Ugh, no thank you, give me OKCupid any day.

LRMG

@City_Dater The founder was a prof. at a religion college in my hometown and he used some of his sweet e-cheddar to build them a ginormous library. I drive by it and think wow, love and broken dreams built that.

beeline96

@City_Dater I signed up for eHarmony following an article (maybe the Salon one, maybe another?) to see what my matches would be like if I answered questions from a completely non-religious standpoint (not looking for marriage, not a churchgoer, no belief in God). I did not get any matches.

phenylalanine

@LittleMousling Nope, you are not the only one! Plus I have heard lots of stories like @beeline96's - they don't give you any matches if you're non-religious. FINE. I CAN SEE WHERE I'M NOT WELCOME, EHARMONY. :P

Kneetoe

@City_Dater: Ohhhhh, the ladies are only ACTING stupid.

Leaving now.

cdog

@City_Dater also on eHarmony, you fill out the looong questionnaire, and at the end it asks if you're single, divorced or separated. If you check 'separated' it sends you to their marriage counseling site. No kidding. WTF

melis

One of the weirdest dinner parties I have ever attended included Neil (eHarmony founder). His wife brought a bunch of costume hats as an icebreaker.

Needless to say I did not mention the gay thing.

Also I did not meet a future partner there, which would have made for a great story.

cdog

@melis Still a pretty good story. :) God that sounds surreal.

winchesterwolcott

@City_Dater I've replaced the mental image of the eHarmony preacher with the preacher from Poltergeist because he was more inclusive ("all are welcome! ALL ARE WELCOME!")and less creepy.

Allison Davis

(I'm really loving these success stories ya'll.)

swxnw

@Allison Davis I met my soon to be husband on yahoo personals. We still don't tell people...we say we met through a mutual friend or met at a bar (our first date). I don't know, I think everyone does it, but no one talks about it.

I did it because I was tired of being single. My headline was "my grandma thinks I'm cool" (She does) and the instant I signed on the same guy kept popping up in my potential matches. My friends pressured me to just go out with him even though I thought he looked a little dorky (hey being honest) and finally did...I did almost bail though. I checked out his myspace - this was years ago and I was like....ummmm....but I went on the date. He had googly eyes from the second I met him and I knew he was into me. He tells me "I love you, I always have - from Braveheart and in that funny accent, and I believe him, because I could see it in his look (insert cheesy awwww here)

Anyway even though we don't tell most people, I've told a few close friends who are like "I'm done being single!" And I think you just have to do it, maybe try one or two sites, jump in, go on a date you might not expect to work out....you never know who you might meet.

So thats my success story for ya!

likethestore

I have a profile on OKC that I haven't really filled out and I just use it to lurk other people's profiles. It turns out that I'm compatible with my little brother's friend, who is a complete douche, which is worrying.

amusedgirl

I was PlentyofFish before I moved to Dallas from halfway across the country.. titled my profile "checking out the meat market".. and found the most amazing guy ever. We got lucky.

alliepants

Pro: If you look girlfriendy (like a "nice girl" and not pretty enough to be intimidating) you'll get a bunch of attention.

Con: If you look girlfriend-y you'll get a lot of attention. And then it's extremely easy to go crazy and overbook your schedule because it's kind of like a menu and you can say "oh I want THAT ONE and THAT ONE and THAT ONE!" and next thing you know you're dozing off at work because you couldn't turn down your second Match date this week even though the guy is more than a decade older than you -- because well, he seemed smart and decently attractive and WHO KNOWS WHERE IT COULD LEAD, and then it turns out he was bigoted and kind of a dick and overly excited about the fact you didn't grow up in a big city. But you still go out with him two more times, because why not, and what if he just made a bad first impression?

Related: I deleted my Match profile a month ago.

Ehjay

Damn, this site is totally reading my brain this week. First the breast reduction article and now when I'm currently thinking about dipping my toe into the online dating world again. Love it!

Lily Rowan

I love online dating! Because I hate meeting people in person -- I can have small talk with anyone, but have no idea how to start talking to a stranger. I joined match.com recently, and it's been a disaster, but have had a ton of good stuff come from OKCupid. Nothing long-term yet, but whatever.

And doesn't everyone meet online now? I don't think you need to make up a lie anymore.

Tragically Ludicrous

The only non-shitty person I've talked with on OKCupid was in Leeds, England while I was in Seattle, Washington. Good work, Internet!

LittleMousling

I met my girlfriend on Twitter (through a shared love of Adam Lambert, no joke), but we were both on OKCupid at the time--just, in different cities, so totally unlikely to ever come across each other's profiles by accident.

My impression of internet dating circa 2010 (women for women only, can't speak to straight dating at all): OKCupid has the interesting people and the sane people; PlentyofFish has the mean and/or batshit types. One woman from PoF I still to this day refer to as The Misogynist. Another I just call The Worst Date I Ever Had. Whereas all the OKC ones were pretty awesome people, even if we didn't click.

sarah girl

Yeah, I definitely got messaged on OKCupid by a coworker. Neither of us realized it because we work on different shifts, but a few days after he sent the message he came in to work early and knocked on my door to ask me a question, aaaaand... yeah. The silent "Why do I recognize you...? Oh god, that's why. Oh shit, don't let your face give it away" looks we exchanged were, frankly, magical. I thought about responding to his message with a "...Let us never speak of this" one-liner, but decided that letting it fade into the past would work better.

Aside from THAT, I've had pretty decent luck with OKCupid! No horrible dates (but a few iffy ones that mainly turned into great stories to share with friends later), ended up dating one dude for a year or so, and I've got a third date with a sweet guy this week.

My only advice: Don't do what I did, which is browse profiles, find a few that you're totally gaga over, then go back and selectively tweak your profile to match them better. No! I mean, if one of their profiles makes you realize that you've worded something like a creep then sure, change it, but resist that societal pressure for women to mold themselves to fit into what a guy wants!

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

My OKC plan:

1. Browse
2. Save girls I like to my favorites to message them later with the bestest, wittiest opening message
3. Never message them, and watch them disappear slowly over time

likethestore

@Too Much Internet This is my plan too. I'm really good at it!

ribstbbq

@Too Much Internet That's me to a T! Well, that, and doing the same thing and messaging them two minutes later with alcohol-infused wit.

atipofthehat

@Too Much Internet

Your slowly disappearing photograph,
In my more slowly disappearing hand.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@atipofthehat: Paradoxes take a few hours to come into full effect. Also, playing guitar righteously can reverse it for a short time.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

Also; surprised to see that the OKC girl graphic does not change to a guy when gender is changed to female.

Leila Jane

@Too Much Internet The OKC graphic swings both ways.

arletterocks

Another bit of advice for OKC: Don't mark "don't care what the other person thinks" most of the time when answering personality question, because you'll end up flooded with dudes whose entire pitch is "wow we're a 99% match didn't know that was possible so when are we hanging out." Bleah.

every tomorrow@twitter

@arletterocks BRB doing that on my profile I only use to look at profiles my friend who is actually using OKC shows me, SEEIN WHAT HAPPENS.

arletterocks

@every tomorrow@twitter Omigod lemme know how it goes!

nevermind

did nerve die? i met my fiance there... how embarrassing! this was pre-OKC...

Emma K@twitter

@nevermind I met my husband on Nerve/Salon/The Onion back when they shared a dating network. This was 8 years ago - they appear to have separate sites now. Makes me feel like a pioneer of online dating!

major disaster

So if this post had been written a week ago, I would have been all, online dating is awesome!! I met my awesome boyfriend online!! And then the relationship flamed out in spectacular, ugly fashion over the course of the past week. Not feeling so awesome right now.

For the record, we met via chemistry.com, which I think is somewhat like eharmony but without all the Christianity and the gay-hating. I liked it mostly because you couldn't just search profiles looking for someone with particular characteristics - I was always terrified people I knew would want to find mine so they could use it to mock me.

sparrow303

@major disaster-- The Hairpin's recovery advice helped me (and would've helped more, had I seen it three months sooner): http://thehairpin.com/2011/05/heartbreak-friendship-and-the-girl-whos-always-on-some-sort-of-restrictive-diet

I hope you feel better.

major disaster

@fishiefishfish Thanks - it's definitely good advice.

chevyvan

@major disaster I'm so so sorry. I would give you a hug if I could. Same thing happened to me a few months ago. Met him online, thought it was the ultimate success story and that the dating site would want to use our wedding photos in their commercials. Then it just imploded. It's hard. Just take care of yourself, okay?

sweetleah

@major disaster I had the same thing happen on OKC, met and fell in love with this dude who after telling me I was "the one" told me 2 months later he needed some time to think. 2 days later I re-opened my OKC account to find he was already back on! what a douche! it sucks, but time heals all wounds etc...good luck with the process xoxo

permafrost

I tried out random sites: OK, Match, (even E-Harmony as an experiment hoping for a "the last place you'd think you'd find someone" experience). I was in my early 40's and I kept getting matched with guys 55 and over who had interests and etc so far outside of my own. Almost zero in common except for locale. As a test, I then created a fake profile listing my age as 36. I got matched up with, surprise, almost the same guys 55 and over. Not even one or two in their late 30's or 40's. I deleted all the profiles and now just rely on the "chance and happenstance" method of meeting guys. I'm pretty social anyway so it's not that big of a deal but now I seem to get hit on by mostly 20 or 30 somethings. It's not horrible, but still, a bit frustrating if I think about it too much. Which I try not to do.

permafrost

@permafrost I should add that those 20 or 30 somethings are usually of the drunken frat boy type. So, yeah. Not really a stellar confidence booster.

inbed

Is it wrong that one of the top reasons I hang out with this one friend is because she has such hideous online dates? Probably. But c'mon: Chickens in the living room, many wallets "forgotten," super old men pretending to young. Oh, how I love it.

jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.com

MrComment

A while ago I misread plentyoffish as "plenty offish" and thought, hey that might be the dating site for me. Then I realized...

I've been doing OKC for a little while and I don't think the picture is really worth stressing about that much. Just have a decent picture of your face and show what shape your body is. I tend to stay away from the people who make their profiles too much of an advertisement.

Also, now that I've been reading the Hairpin, I know to throw myself in front of the woman if I catch her trying to pay for a drink.

foureyedgirl

I did the JDate but am over that. OKC skeeved me the hell out, I can't be the only one who feels super squicky getting flat out propositioned on the internet, right? Now I'm trying Match and have had two surprisingly good dates. But I'm not holding my breath. Dating makes my poor cynical heart more cynical, it turns out.

I am also concerned by the inability of so many people to master spelling and grammar in profiles. Shouldn't you proofread those?

nogreeneggs

I did OKC for a while and man, you know what gets you a ton of normal-ish messages/is a good conversation starter? Having a super random bit in your profile about how I love the smell and taste of pomegranate but I've never actually seen one in real life so I don't think they exist and they are just a marketing tactic to sell frozen fruit bars and hand lotion.

So many messages about the existence of pomegranate! Where to get it, how to eat it, and why I shouldn't eat it because I guess its annoying. Still have not seen one though.

arletterocks

@nogreeneggs OH MY GOD the LITERALNESS, people have no sense of humor. I mention in mine that I have three rows of teeth, "like a shark!" and got corrected about how many rows of teeth sharks have. And I'm like " ... actually I know that, and left it out because HI I WAS MAKING A JOKE, I do not actually have multiple rows of teeth, three or many or anything." It's like this THING where guys think a great way to hit on you is togo "Hi, um, nice to meet you and by the way YOU ARE WRONG, let me TELL YOU ABOUT IT IN GREAT DETAIL."

entangled

@nogreeneggs that's awesome!
In answer to one of the prompts, i said that the most private thing I'd put in my profile is my penis size (I'm a girl). It meant I got a lot of interesting guys with a good sense of humor and a lot of very strange messages. Did get a total success story in the end, though. Four years of nonstop dick jokes later, we're getting married.

alouette

@nogreeneggs I put something in mine about how I could poach eggs, and you wouldn't believe the messages it prompted. I didn't realize it was a rare skill, just a delicious one.

brista128

@nogreeneggs Haha, I made a joke about being an undercover spy (I am not*) and got _tons_ of messages about that. I think it's just having something random and/or silly makes it easier for the other person to start the conversation. I know when I was the conversation-starter, I would try to find something like that to start with...but then, I'd follow it up, "So I see you like all kinds of music except rap and country. Me, too!" etc.

*OR AM I???

OhMyGoshYouGuys

Am I the only one who worries about being knocked out with chloroform and cut up into little pieces? I figure I'm single, but at least I'm safe.

sp8ce

@Mere The guy you met at the grocery store could have chloroform and an axe in his trunk too.

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@sp8ce Wasn't that a story line of a Lifetime Original movie?

catwithglasses

Super internet dating pioneer over here. My now-husband and I can't even remember the actual site we met on. It was off of sparknotes.com and they had these quizzes and profiles you could make. Sparkmatch maybe? Or thespark.com? They closed the site a bit after though and we transitioned to AIM.

No, I'm not super old, we just met fairly young. As in, I couldn't chat that late because I had to go study for English AP.

ribstbbq

@kmc Oh, it was thespark.com. They eventually transformed that thing into okcupid, grandfathering everyone that took the "okcupid" test.

catwithglasses

@ribstbbq Oh no! So we really met on the precursor to the "good times but with a sprinkling of WTF" site? That makes me feel weird. But it's better than the precursor to eharmony I guess?

Also, every other year or so I get the idea that we should go online and see if we get matched again. But then I realize that's either the plot to a strange rom-com or a really really terrible idea.

steponitvelma

@kmc That should be safe as long as you both like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@kmc: It was Sparkmatch, and I e-dated someone for 4 years I met on that site. Those dudes went on to make OKC, and for kicks, take their 'which type are you' test to see which of the 8 potential types you are (the names have changed but the meaning is the same.)

mare-mare

I joined Nerve.com three years ago after losing a bet with a friend who loved it. (He eventually met his wife that way.) I agreed to try it for one month. I went on two dates, one awful and one nice, but no chemistry. Then I left the country for two weeks and met my husband. Deleting that profile when I got home felt so good.

clairedelune

Ahem...any Hairpin-reading single males...
I enjoy hot yoga, copious amounts of wine (as long as it's out of a doll's head) and am not actually a cartoon banana(grabber). Please only reply if you don't mind splitting the cheque and killing spiders.
Thank you.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@clairedelune: *Killing* spiders? The spider is Hairpin's power animal. I say good day to you madam!

clairedelune

@Too Much Internet: I much prefer pigeons to spiders. It would've never worked.

sp8ce

@clairedelune A/S/L ?

ann aunamis

I just used the "your best face" feature to let other users figure out what's the best main profile photo for me out of the six photos I had up - the consensus was the only photo not showing my face.

*sobs in corner clutching a bottle of Smirnoff Vanilla*

Leila Jane

@ann aunamis I did the "your best face" found out some users preferred a picture of a dog to me... sigh

Lily Rowan

For me, they preferred a picture of me with a friend, so I continue to be paranoid it was her they were preferring, even though it should be clear that it was her bachelorette party we were at....

cdog

Met my honey on OKC - it was after meeting many other people, but finally found a keeper. More proof it's possible!

cdog

Also, I messaged him first, and contrary to what the 'He's Just Not That Into You' dudes say, it was a great move. I saw no reason to wait around for someone to approach me first. I wanted to meet him, so I asked him out, and a year later we moved in together. So Eff eHarmony and their traditional gender roles!

Leila Jane

I did Eharmony for 3 months. got set up with a bunch of boring creepy dudes. No dates. The "guided communication" is wack, I decided I would rather spend my money on booze.

I did OKStupid for 6months. Had a fully fleshed out profile, answered 1000+ questions (was even made a moderator) but only had one (ONE) date. No one ever messaged me. EVER. (OK so not EVER, I did occasionally get the odd "What RU up 2?" message maybe once a month)There are a lot of supposed "liberal open" people on there, but no one wants a regular lookin', NPR/HipHop listening Black girl. I am not Tyra Banks, but I am not a fug by any means. They even wrote a "scientific" blog about it.
http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

I tried Blackplanet, but didn't like it. BlackPeoplemeet wants you to pay (again, no) Plenty of Fish is creepy.

le sigh...

zidaane

I had a profile I clipped off a prison pen pal site on my Salon profile for like 2 years because those guys are pro's. I don't think irony works well on a dating site though.

JoeyT

I seriously don't see why "I met my husband/boyfriend on the internet" is supposed to be any worse than "I met him at a bar." At least on the internet you can screen out most of the people that are obviously scary, stupid, or a combination of the two. At a bar it's far harder to weed them out before they have your phone number or know enough about you to stalk you.

DrFeelGood

@JoeyT True, I agree... my lies about "how we met" are mostly for my parents. They're kind of old fashioned and in the beginning might have been a bit ruffled at the idea of me dating online, but they met in a bar and probably now they wouldn't care.

femme cassidy

@DrFeelGood My actual "how we met" story is kind of hideously embarrassing and makes us both look like awful people... I should start saying "we met online," and avoid all the blushing and stammering.

wee_ramekin

@femme cassidy Ah! Now I want to know! Tell tell tell!

femme cassidy

@wee_ramekin Ummm, my now-fiancee was dating my best friend, and came with her to a party at my house, and then... stayed at my house. While my friend got a ride home with someone else. (I should mention that the friend in question is seriously the greatest person in the history of the world and is totally psyched that she played a part in getting us together. She's gonna be a bridesmaid in our wedding. And then she's going to ascend directly to Heaven in a beam of sunlight.)

Tammy Pajamas

@JoeyT I have no problem telling people I met a guy on the Internet, but I did actually have a boyfriend from there once, told my parents, and then my dad kept referring to him as my "Internet boyfriend," so now I'm reconsidering...

wee_ramekin

@femme cassidy Wowza (totally not judging; I've got some stories myself)! That sounds like something that could totally 'splode your queer circle (re: our other discussion on the A Queer Chick board). I am glad it didn't! Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and on having the Best Friend Evar!

parallel-lines

Is anyone here old enough to have had a makeoutclub.com profile? Anyone? Bueller? Sigh.... Now THAT was a bad scene.

I met my boyfriend on Nerve in 2009 after A LOT of dud dates and it took me a little bit to warm up to him (I think I was walking wounded a bit from aforementioned dud dates) but he's awesome and we're happy. If you're willing to put in some work you'll meet someone--it might take a couple tries. Just keep your standards high and don't take it personal if someone isn't a good fit.

Manatee

@parallel-lines No, I don't see anything that could go wrong w. looking for a lovah on makeout.com. Nothing at all; that seems like a pretty solid plan.

Lily Rowan

@parallel-lines You want to talk "old enough"? I put a personal ad in the newspaper once, back in the day! And people responded via voicemail!

parallel-lines

@Lily Rowan Me too! It was 1994 and I was living somewhere temporary for the summer and didn't know a soul, so I put out an ad looking to make friends. Got lots of creepy hand-written letters instead. It was an amusing experiement.

MollyculeTheory

@parallel-lines Ahhhh oh no MOC.

hotdog

@parallel-lines did anyone actually use makeout club for like...dates? We used it as more of a way to gawk at the current IRL dating pool...but like, online.

parallel-lines

@hotdog I guess? I knew a few people who had casual-ish encounters from the site. My only interaction was getting a message that said "U too old" (I was 23).

Paul Jenkins@facebook

I've used some online dating websites myself and I've noticed a trend with their users depending on the type of website you're registered with. Free websites have tons of people just looking for fun or just to meet new friends. Paid membership websites on the other hand has more serious users that tend to want lasting, serious relationships. Click here to read more about online dating.

sp8ce

@Paul Jenkins@facebook This is true. You get what you pay for.

sp8ce

I met one girl on plentyoffish (I think), who when I told her I was going to be riding my motorcycle from South Florida to The Panhandle, offered to let me stay at her place in Orlando for the weekend. I had never met her but we ended up going to a Magic game and Disney Animal Kindom, she had free tickets. It was really nice of her and I had a good time but she was kind of weird.

clairedelune

@sp8ce Motorcycle? Call me

fb100002429250017

I've tried all major dating websites and there's a big flaw: The founders did them only for the money. They don't really care of the people who are using their website... That's why I created mine, with a simple idea, it's to really help people. Yeah I do that in my free time, I have a regular job besides, so the costs are low and I can offer it for free.
Plus I find all those dating websites lack of imagination. There are so many cool ideas to add to a regular dating site to make it more relevant. By the way, don't hesitate to pay a visit, it's there -> http://www.takeon.me

parallel-lines

I should also mention that I was a serial internet dater off and on for years (I'd be in a relationship that would end and then go back to online dating in a very half assed, noncommital fashion) and the same dudes popped up over and over over the course of 8 years across a couple websites (nerve, okcupid, the onion personals). It was awkward - like oh, you're still here? I can't judge...I'm still here, too.

C-C

Online dating scares the bejeezus out of me! I tried it ever-so-briefly and met no one but really sketchy men. My friend is trying to get me to join one of those "alternative" sites... like flipme.com. Has anyone tried it?

clezy

One of the coolest and most well-suited couples I know met on OKCupid and they are still peddling one of those fake how-we-met stories. I only got the real scoop one drunky night a couple months into their relationship... If I met my man on the interwebs, I'd be shouting from the rooftops. But I totally like to spread the word on a good thing: DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IUD? OHMYGOD LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT.

juliannasays

@clezy Oh god yes I am just like that. I am the girl who gets drunk at parties and talks to anyone about her IUD and menstrual cup. You keep on keeping on.

dracula's ghost

I met my husband online. Not on a dating website, but rather a message board for a shared (non-sexual) interest. But still! And this was like 2001 or something, and people were weirded out that we'd met online. But now it's 2011 and no one is ever weirded out when we say it. The times they truly have a'changed. Own your online meeting! ONLINE IS REAL

These dating sites seem stressful, though. A friend of mine wanted me to look his profile over, and I got sucked into reading the entire OkCupid questionnaire that's like 11 pages long, and some of the questions blew my mind. my favorite one was "are clams alive."

bb
bb

one thing that probably other people have mentioned and who the hell reads the comments way down here anyway - girls, do not be afraid to message dudes! I got so many skeevy messages but not a lot of real ones. So I just emailed people I like. I've had a few successful relationships (both men and women - also OKCupid is one of the only sites that really seems to have a lot of bi people) including current. all were at my initiative.

HelloTitty

@bb I read all the "way down" comments, such is my commitment to Hairpinners. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to take your advice.

km1312

@bb very true! many, if not most, of my successful OKCupid dates have been with guys I've messaged.

Allison Davis

If any real-deal dates come out of the comments section of this post, I will open up and run a dating service out of my basement. I really will. (I hope I hope I hope I hope).

marz

I was on OKC on-and-off for about four years, and all the guys I met turned out to be wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am-ers and/or sociopaths, but it was still (mostly) fun. Also, the journal I kept during those years could be a bestseller.

Epilogue: I met my current boyfriend of two years the old-fashioned way: at a kegger.

c.cutestory

should i be surprised to find that i totally went on a date with one of the above commenters after "meeting" them on okcupid? maybe not. it's a small internet world after all.

heather

I met my long-distance high school boyfriend in a prodigy chatroom for BSB fans (we were both making fun of them!). We lasted almost a year, thanks to ICQ. I am also 100 years old.

gigglefest

@heather "I am also 100 years old" made me chortle like the dickens.

dothezonk

I met my boyfriend of 2.5ish years on OKCupid. He is super awesome. He told me I was the first and only person he messaged after signing up.

I don't mind telling people how we met. We didn't exchange TOO many messages before actually meeting - perhaps about a week's worth. No chatting or anything. I had dated other guys from OKcupid, but none of them clicked like this one. It's funny to think that this website that I signed up for while bored in college is how I met one of my favorite people ever. The internet is kind of cool sometimes.

every tomorrow@twitter

@dothezonk My boyfriend and I met on OKCupid when he was still in another country and trolling for friends before moving to the US, and just sort of periodically talked online until like 3 months after he moved here. I was pretty meh about him until we met IRL at which point we got along like a house on fire.

That was four years ago. We are still getting along like a house on fire.

ribstbbq

@dothezonk Hi!

L200

I didn't go through any of the dating sites, but did date a few guys I met online through mutual interest chatrooms, games, etc. Something I *hope* I've finally learned is that for a first meet to work, you can't have overly high expectations. In fact, it's probably best if you have low expectations because even "normal" expectations seem to be asking too much sometimes. Maybe it's me or maybe it's the type of guys interested in what I'm interested in, but suffice it to say, nothing's worked out yet after several attempts and some longish (months, years, etc. of knowing each other).

TimChuma

I have only gotten one date out of any online dating site. I had a friend who worked on setting up a online dating site and managed to get a long-term relationship out of it. I have disabled my OkCupid profile as it was just never going to happen.

YouRockRock

Adult Friend Finder? Anyone? I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet... it's like OKCupid, but with (a lot) more banging and fewer weird and awkward dates. It's freeing to go into a "date" with the sexual expectations/preferences already expressed. Also, since most people use pictures of their junk on the profiles, it's much more difficult to randomly come across someone you know IRL.

This might make me sound like a horrible person, but it also ratchets up the physical scanning to a level that makes it acceptable for you to potentially be like, "Oh, sorry, if you don't have curly hair and glasses and enjoying going down for hours on a 'pleasantly plump' lady, let's not even bother." Sometimes it feels a little bit whorey (on both sides), but maybe that's part of the appeal? And when you don't necessarily want a relationship but you really want to get laid, using AFF (or Craigslist) really helps you to bang outside of your friend circle and thus avoid unnecessary drama.

(AFF also enabled me to meet a dude who ended up being the best lover I've ever had and who taught me things about my body/orgasms that I never would've dreamed...we've been, uh, "fuck-buddying" for over a year now.)

Someone, please tell me I'm not the only lady who reads The Hairpin AND uses AFF...

night_cheese

I started a blog as well...it consists of OkCupid messages that people send me. I mean, really??? http://okcfacepalm.tumblr.com/

Matchgyver

Well I can tell you why we are ashamed of Online Dating. I live in Chicago -TONS of people, and I can't meet someone in a traditional fashion? We post our profiles, basically Mugshots and share personal information with the entire world. Rows & rows of smiling mughsots, how pathetic! We put up our best photos, we say something clever, we all LOVE to travel. Does anyone not like to travel? We all love a sense of humor too! Online dating is ridiculously pathetic, and we know it when we sign up! We SHOULD be ashamed to admit we met our partners online. It's laughable! It's like going to the grocery store for a prospective mate. We are ashamed because online dating, whether you admit it or not, is an act of desperation. By creating a profile we are admitting we are LONELY, and have given up on traditional means of meeting people. Online dating is EASY, and a cop-out. Try joining social groups, or getting out of the house more! Most guys just want to get la*d, and most women are just out of past relationships and looking for the PERFECT match that doesn't exist. Online dating is for suckers, and I've done it too! Send me your monthly check for $20, and I will set you up with my brother or sister! As far as the free sites go -those are for players and people without jobs. Chemistry.com and Eharmony's "tools" are laughable -I can't believe who they said I'm "matched" with. I look at all the mugshots on Match or OKCupid and just laugh to myself. What has our society become? If posting your success stories here make you feel better about your pathetic means of meeting you partner, well good for you! I'd rather go to the Blackjack table as the odds are 49% versus the 20% chance you will meet someone online ("1-5 relationships start online", right?). I wonder what the divorce rate is for Match.com? Online dating is just so irresponsible, lonely, desperate, and their Advertisements are permeating every orfice of media. I'm not buying it. Online dating is NOT the wave of the future. Its for lazy people with baggage, and or, desperate lonely people who have "given up", and throw in the sex addicts for good measure. "Wine tasting, travel, sense of humor, cats and dogs, chemistry, lazy nights on the sofa or a night out on the town." Good GOD, what have we become? Id rather be alone than post my Mugshot on a dating site. I'm sorry. Good job for the success stories, nothing personal.

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