Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Everything You Need to Know About Online Dating

Some scientists looked at all the studies and all the statistics and all the graphs about online dating in order to publish a super-long article in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest (what a sweet journal, thank you). In short:

– If you're a homebody, parent, new in town, or a weirdo, online dating will help you meet more single people than you normally would. If you are a "normal," you'll meet the same number of singles just going about your daily biz offline.

– Meet an online prospect in real life and don't agonize over their stupid profiles. No, this doesn't mean you have to go to their creepy house and take a roofie on your lunch break; be smart. But nothing in a dating website profile can alert you to romantic chemistry; you have to get IRL and, like, smell each other. Or something.

– Unfortunately, the matching algorithm thingies can't predict relationship success.

In conclusion (mine): everyone keep doing what you're doing. There is no right way to find love and only three wrong ways. (But which three!?) [via]

113 Comments / Post A Comment


I am sending this each and every wonderful person in my life who will not stop giving me shit because I'm not interested in meeting someone through online dating, although I am keenly interested in meeting someone to date in a real life scenario. Thank you Jane!!


@sox I feel this way too. One of my coworkers met her husband on OK Cupid. I am sooooo creeped out by online dating even though I know multiple totally normal people who do it. I'm so terrible, I totally feel like I'm too good for it! And yet I don't think Craigslist is creepy at all, I don't know what accounts for this cognitive dissonance.


@sox I'm not going to add to the chorus of people telling you how to live your romantic life (because, seriously, those people can just shut the f' up and you should proceed in which ever way you find the most comfortable) but I will say, in favor of online dating, that once you meet the person in person...you're dating in "real life". I think "online dating" is kind of a misnomer, it's really more like..."online potential date finding(?)" or something. I "found" my current Manfriend online, sent him a message, he messaged me back, we decided to meet up in person, and so we went on a date, and then another date, and so on and so forth. We dated, and continue to date, in person and in real life.
But, I know, everyone's different, and what works for me doesn't necessarily work for everyone, ymmv, etc. I just think it's a shame that there's still so much of a stigma against online dating, since it can be damned convenient.


@sox I've done a wee bit of online dating myself, and it was really fun for me because I met a bunch of bizarre dudes. And some of them were really funny, and others were quite gay, and it was all just fun for me. Not that I've managed to get a long-lasting relationship out of it. (Just one that lasted 6 months.)


@Ellie - Do you mean buy things on Craigslist or meet people? If the latter, then yes, that is a funny cognitive dissonance! :)

@Jinxie - I know, this is the hard part for me. I personally know SO MANY people who have had success with it! And I think it's awesome! It's my hang up, and some of it has to do with my fear of dating in general...but you know how people can get really pushy sometimes with how if you would just FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE, you would succeed, because they know better than you? Those are the folks I'll forward this to. And super congrats on meeting someone and it being convenient for you!


@Ellie I feel like I'm creeped out by every kind of dating. Not really the dating itself, but the meeting people. (and like Jinxie said, online dating isn't really online once you go on a date) When I was single, my life basically consisted of work, going to the gym, and a couple of groups (mostly book-clubs) I joined to get out of the house and meet people. As much as I was interested in dating, I was and am very strongly anti-dating at work (particularly given the options at my job), had no interest in hitting on or being hit on at the gym, and realized that I did not want to be "that girl" who joined a book club solely to try to get laid.

I guess there was the friends option, but I didn't have that many friends in town and they didn't have that many friends (and also spent a lot of time hanging out platonically with guys I used to date so... yeah). For early-twenties single me, online dating was easily the least sketchy option.



Back in Olden Times (pre-Match.com, if you will), online dating was considered kind of pervy and the people who did it tended to be smart, fun, early-adopter types. Or perverts, but they weren't dull. Now it's every lazy lonely bastard who wants a girlfriend but doesn't want to have to put on pants to find her.
Speaking as an Old, I've been happier since I gave up on it.


@arrr starr People join book clubs to get laid?


@City_Dater I get that online dating by no means works for everyone, but I'm really disheartened that it's still frowned upon as something for "lazy lonely bastards" by smart, savvy people in 2012.


@Kirs probably not. Which makes it even creepier, I suppose. I stand by my "all dating is sketchy" hypothesis.


@sox Yeah I don't get the "lazy lonely bastards" thing. I met my current boyfriend (we've almost been together a year now) on OkCupid. I went on the site because all of my friends were in relationships, or on OkCupid themselves. Everyone I know from my personal circle is pretty cool and successful (a judgment I'm not at all biased in regards to, I'm sure). After a few dates, the boy and I discovered we actually had a bunch of the same friends IRL, but we might never have been introduced through them because they were all coupled-off friends who didn't tend to throw gigantic parties. And STILL occasionally when we remember that we met through the internet, the boyfriend will be all in awe like "why were YOU ever on a dating site? you're so good looking, I bet men asked you out all the time!" (he isn't biased either).

Well, yes, I got asked out in real life. But why not get asked out online too? I was single, I wasn't going to limit my options. Do what you're comfortable with. For me, the big benefit to online dating is it's pretty upfront. There's much less "does he like me? does he like me only as a friend? is he asking me to book readings because we met at a language conversation group and he knows we have similar interests or might he want to sleep with me too?" internal dialogue.



I haven't seen that it's "frowned upon" at all anymore, which is the problem with doing it now, from my perspective. Weirdly, back when it wasn't considered safe, the percentage of creepers and bores was far lower and the people doing it were generally pretty honest.


@MissMushkila LIVE and LET LIIIIIIIIIIVE is all I'm saying!


@City_Dater Back in REALLY olden times, before the intertubes, there were personals ads. You would send a snail mail to a person; if they liked what they read, they would send a snail mail back; and you would do this a couple of times, perhaps, until someone provided the other a phone number and then you would meet. By this time you had a pretty decent idea of how their brains worked, and you knew something about them, and you had the added benefit of getting some graphological sense of who they were by their penmanship. Chemistry was a complete unknown until you actually met (it was not customary to send photos, because, you know, film, developing, what a hassle). Sometimes it was delightful. Always you at least knew that you sort of liked their minds, so at the worst you could spend an hour (perhaps) of pleasant convo, stand, thank them, shake their hands, and that would be that. Other times it worked out wildly better. I kind of liked the slowness of it all (since, at the some time, being a young, I would also be out and about, so it wasn't like I was just sitting around in my PJs staring at a computer screen). But -- as they say -- vat vas, vas.



I remember those! And funny how the slowness of it worked back then(at least for developing a rapport even if it didn't lead to a romantic relationship), whereas the online thing is most effective when people don't email back and forth much before meeting. Something, something, attention spans, Oh The Youngs, etc.


@City_Dater If I were wearing pants, I might feel worse about this than I do. But since I am wrapped in a towel post-shower, I guess it's only a medium-crummy feeling I am having.

Also, have any of you read the London Review of Books personals ad book? It's called They Call Me Naughty Lola? It is pretty fantastic and very, very endearing.


@sox The thing that I hate about online dating is that it feels so false. I've met a ton of friends on the internet! I've met people I've dated on the internet. But I've met them in the way that I meet people in "real life" -- we go to the same online places, we learn about each other, we become friends, we email, we go out for drinks, etc. But online dating to me seems like the same as going to a speed dating event in real life -- a situation where you only see one little slice of a person, and so none of it is natural.


@arrr starr Wait, book clubs are where you can get laid? I've been doing this all wrong.


@sox I don't really see the difference between it and, say, going out to bars with the possibility in your mind that you could end up in someone's bed at the end of the night. In a lot of cases it's more like... well, a lot of women I've seen through OKC and the like don't outwardly take it seriously and use it and its endless lists of questions as time-wasters, essentially, and so I like to think of dating sites as being for them like some stodgy mandatory thing that you do, and just like any work conference or modern dance recital or wedding or whatever, you show up and you seek out other people who are as bored as you are, and maybe you get a date out of it. At the very least you have a common talking point in the absurdity of your circumstance.


@arrr starr I know what you mean. I work in an office with 6 people, then I do theater, where I meet a lot of awesome people, just not a lot with relationship potential. I hang out with my friends (who don't have a lot of eligible bachelor man friends that I don't know but may be interested in) so my options for meeting people IRL are pretty limited at the moment. I finally sucked it up and joined OKC because I found myself crushing on people that I would never typically crush on and who were ALL WRONG for me, but they were THERE. So I guess I just decided to give myself a change and cast my net wider? If nothing else, it has given me some pretty hilarious stories thus far. (Like the guy who wore a tshirt that said "Blow Me" the first time we met up and the other guy who told me that even the idea of working 9-5 in an office gave him "carpool tunnel syndrome.")


@Elleohelle I was invited to go on a first date with a dude, wherein he would wander around in his Cradle of Filth (or whatever it was) T that reads Jesus is a C*nt, and document it as a social scientist.

He was mystified when I said "no, thank you." And then he argued with me about why I was closed minded and should do it anyway.


@PistolPackinMama Sometimes, people are the coolest.


@PistolPackinMama Well, carpool tunnel syndrome is pretty funny. If he meant it as a joke.

Jesus is a c*nt guy got mad when I said I really, really hated the use of the word c*nt in a derogatory way (it took some adjusting to get used to people using that in their usernames as a positive in places like the 'Pin, but I got there). He was all "but it's just a word. Which is when I told him never to tell an anthropologist it's just a word.

By the end hand to god he sounded like a whiny 15 yo. But why can't I wear it to school, mooommmmm.

Oh! Typo. *I* was supposed to do the documenting. Right. No.

Judith Slutler


(it took some adjusting to get used to people using that in their usernames as a positive in places like the 'Pin, but I got there)

This makes me happy... even if my name is just the result of a drunken conversation about the best philosophy-based potential pornstar names.

Other names that came up in this conversation:
Gilles Da-Loose
Friederica Kegel
Judith Smutler


@Emmanuelle Cunt I am dying here laughing into my coffee. And let us not forget the famous French porn impresario/self directed icon, Michel Fuckault. And the Enlightenment era John Lick.

Judith Slutler

@PistolPackinMama I'm loving Michel Fuckault.

Another metric of this game is, could you use the unaltered titles of their work as a porn title? Some of them are kind of too obvious to be funny (Gender Trouble, Discipline and Punish...) but I'm telling you right now that A Critique of Pure Reason or A Thousand Plateaus would probably be REALLY AWESOME porn.


@Emmanuelle Cunt An Outline of a Theory of Practice.


@arrr starr I'm creeped out by people in general.


@City_Dater I've noticed this too - since online dating became universally accepted, the quality has gone way down. I went out with a lot of socially awkward weirdos before the online thing was mainstream, but I also met a few awesome freethinkers. Now it's all "normals."

Bro-lo El Cunado

Ahhhh... I have been waffling over whether to online date now that my Relationship is officially over (backslide included). I'm a homebody and have pets, which can sometimes make you feel like a pseudo-parent, so ... sign me up? I dunno.


@Bro-lo El Cunado Do it. This homebody with pets finds it a lot more manageable to screen potential gentlemen callers via the interwebz.


@Bro-lo El Cunado You could always test the waters with Meetup.com! There are singles groups on there, but it is also just a way to Meet People in general, even as friends.


@Bro-lo El Cunado I am unapologetically in love with online dating and find it endlessly entertaining. But I think everyone's level of success/enjoyment definitely depends on the attitude they bring to it.

gin twin

@Bro-lo El Cunado Ahhhh, I just ended the backslide period of my relationship too! I'm also a homebody and I want a dog/dogs but I'm worried about how much I work. Anyway, I bit the bullet and am filling out an OKCupid profile. We can do this!

Bro-lo El Cunado

@gin twin Backslides are the WORST, right? So dumb. I am biting the bullet, too, this weekend (with help from friends). You all convinced me!

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

protip: be sure to make clear that you're 'sarcastic' somewhere in your profile.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood:

Sure, okay.

Holden Cauliflower

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood
Great advice. Really, it's super.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Also, "laid back." Not sure why almost every male profile I've seen includes that phrase, and "I try not to take myself too seriously." Those phrases make me think of someone with no personality who just wants to sit on the couch and play his video games in peace, OKAY brah?


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood
Perhaps you are the sort of person who likes going out some of the time, but also staying in some of the time? Oh, and do you like to have fun?


If you are a "normal"

If only...


Hmm. . .it's like, you might meet the same number of single people but it's a hell of a lot harder to end up on a date with them. Based on what generally has led to success for me when meeting people in person, I would literally have to be drunk all the time to get the same results in person as I do online.

I'm still burned out on online dating though. Every boy I like starts to look like the same person.


Three wrong ways to find love:

1. In a hopeless place

2. In the time of cholera

3. In an elevator


@Gertrude I don't know man. In an elevator you can live it up while you're going down.


@Gertrude also:
in a dangerous time
in a trashcan


@stonefruit Is it weird that the title Love in a Trashcan immediately brought to mind Oscar the Grouch?


@dtowngirl I want someone to make a hilarious YouTube vid about this NOW.


@Gertrude Most recently: in a foreign place


@Gertrude I made the effort to login just to give you another thumbs up here


I'm an online dater. Have been since before it was considered okay to do so- way back in 1997!

I'm slightly socially awkward and hate crowds, so it's hard to meet cute boys in real life. I also work long hours and have a dog- which means most of my time is spent at work then rushing to get home so I can take the dog out. I dig the screening process okcupid gives me. And I've had mostly excellent dates/meet ups. No creepers yet!

I say do what you find comfortable. Although I also don't think one should completely rule out one method over another- if I'm out and see a cute boy it's not like I'd not go up to him just because I wasn't hiding behind my okcupid profile.

Plus, as a lady, it's a huge ego boost. Ladies get messaged at a higher rate than the men on dating sites (or so I've heard). I just ignore the creepers, the old dudes, and the 21 year olds looking for "hot older woman sex" and, so far, it's kinda been fun.

Katie Heaney

@Kirs everyone always says it's an ego boost, but then you go on it for a one-month trial with two friends, and the three of you get at least a dozen IDENTICAL MESSAGES, one of which is about how your beauty is "powerful like a drug"

Sunny Schomaker@twitter

@Kirs Meh. I've never found that ego boost. I'm a lady, and I consider myself to be quite a catch, but I've found both the number and quality of messages I receive to be quite underwhelming. So eventually, I gave up on it; after all, I was getting enough Lack of Interest in my real life.


@Kirs Not that I get a huge number of messages, but I don't find it to be much of an ego boost because I feel like a lot of them are just like WOMAN! MUST EMAIL WOMAN!


@Kirs That just makes me think of Animal from The Muppets, and if that's the case, sign me up!


In the past, whenever I did online dating it seemed like I would sign up, hand over my credit card info, and then immediately meet someone IRL. Then I'd feel like I wasn't getting my money's worth or something? Like I was cheating on all of the internet by meeting someone at a bar.


Every time I start to seriously consider online dating, I meet someone IRL before I get around to setting up a profile and finding decent pictures of myself.

And by "meet someone" I mean "we got drunk together with mutual friends." The internet might be better for my liver.


@Poubelle I don't think I've met anybody, ever, any other way than getting drunk with mutual friends.


@Brunhilde TRUTH.


You can use fancy algorithms all you like, but ain't nobody going to online-date someone who accidentally brings raw eggs instead of hard-boiled ones to work for breakfast. *stares mournfully in the direction of the egg container*


@frigwiggin Read this five minutes ago. STILL LAUGHING.


@cheapchampagne I was really looking forward to those eggs, too!


i'm moving to a different city for the summer (cough dc pinup soon please cough) and i just signed up for an OKC account, i'm excited! if nothing else it's a fun way to meet people, right?


I think OKCupid is particularly good for people who are bad at flirting but generally awesome otherwise. My current bf is amazing, but if we had randomly met at a bar or some other public place, between the two of us (but especially me), ohmygoddisaster. I don't think that ship would have sailed.

Nicole Cliffe

I tell everyone this: if you do not really care about height, then search DELIBERATELY for short guys when online dating, because they are heavily undervalued by the marketplace, and you can get a really good deal.


@Nicole Cliffe "a really good deal" --> why I love Nicole.


@Nicole Cliffe Also works if you really do care about height (I will theoretically date tall guys if they have some really amazing qualities to compensate for their physical imperfections but really it is probably more respectful to let them find someone who finds that kind of thing attractive.)


@queenofbithynia DEFINITELY works for tall ladies who want to date a tall dude. My bf is 6'5", just made me dinner (and scones for breakfast tomorrow!!), and I met him on OKCupid. I get the hang ups about online dating, but it's just the most efficient way to meet new people...chemistry and all that stuff aside.


@Nicole Cliffe One night whilst out getting schnockered, this guy was telling my friend and I about his 'bad' online dating experiences as a way of hitting on us, I guess? Anyway, the only thing he actually had to say was that they both (he'd had all of 2 experiences) "lied about their weight" and thanks to The Awl's super helpful online dating survey results which were released just that week, I was able to shoot right back with "YEAH, BUT DID YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR HEIGHT? YOU DID, DIDNT YOU?"
Yay, thanks you Awl!


@chevyvan It's TRUE. I got so excited when I saw you could set a height minimum. As a 6 ft tall lady, this is the dream.


@Nicole Cliffe yeah, but as a tall girl who has gone out with short dudes, they always make a huge fucking stink about my height and I don't need the grief. Secure short dudes - cool, haven't met a lot of them, especially online when the first sentence out of their mouth would be "I know you're probably too tall for me but..."


@Nicole Cliffe This is excellent advice, except that nobody should ever go out with the 5'3" guy I went out with once from okcupid. His height was not the issue at all (I am short and love shorter dudes). The issue was that he suggested performance art at some weird coffeeshop, showed up an hour late, lived with his mom in Staten Island, was not at all entertaining to be around, and then seemed offended when I wanted to go home without him, pointing to the backpack he'd lugged with him all the way from Staten Island and protesting "but I brought DVDs!"


Got it! Will be sure to sniff my next online date quite thoroughly.


Hey, when you're over 30, and EVERYONE you know is married - and maybe you just got divorced - online dating is a good way to meet other single people you wouldn't otherwise. Especially if you're looking for more than just a hookup. And OKCupid is free, mofos.


@cdog Hey, you don't even have to be over 30. I made an OKC profile when I was 23, but had pretty much met all my friends' friends and wasn't interested, and my life was too busy to join yet another club or organisation on the off-chance there'd be someone I fancied there.


@glitterary Good point – really, I guess as soon as you're out of college, your odds of meeting that many available people drop pretty far. Online dating is just another way to find out where all these people are that you could possibly date. I agree that you do have to meet them in person though!


Oh, so many things to say about online dating. Maybe a bullet point list is needed.

- I did online dating because after age 25 I found that life is couple-focused and gender segregated with little to no chances of meeting men.
- For example: lived alone, drive to work, work in office with 6 older women and 1 gay man, go to dancing classes, it's all baby boomers... I live in a regional area. Sure I go to community events, live music, participate in work events, but people don't want to make new friends there, they go with people they are already friends with.
- My brother and my sister in law met online dating, on www.rsvp.com.au. Since we live in a regional area, and this was 4 years ago and they were quite young, I maintain they were the only two in their age group, but whatever, they're happy.
- I have done 3 bouts of online dating over 5 years.
- My last two bouts lasted 10 months each.
- The most recent one, I decided to take a break. I left my profile up and contacted people who contacted me and seemed normal, but cut my own initiation of contact down by about 95%. It was just too exhausting. Guys I had nothing in common with would message me; guys who I messaged, who I seemed to have heaps in common with, would ignore me.
- I got to the point where I felt I was going to punch the next person who said 'I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE SINGLE'. omg.
- I'm glad I had a policy of always accepting offers of coffee dates from normal-ish guys, even if I didn't think we had enough in common, because that is exactly how I met my lovely boyfriend.
- now I'm one of those annoying people who actually met someone wonderful online.
- I would say just try it to anyone. However, here's my maths... it is definitely a numbers game. I had 4 different profiles, probably looked at about 2000 profiles, wrote hundreds of emails, went on about 20 dates, liked about 6 guys, and THEN I met my boyfriend.


@sevanetta I have had the exact same experience! Seriously, I had been online dating on and off since I was 25 (I'm almost 29, now). I had done it in spurts, either taking a break exactly the way you mentioned, no activity other than responses to interesting guys, or going at it gung ho and going out for a drink with any guy who seemed remotely decent to "give him a chance." It's been fun, really! And I have been on dozens of dates without meeting super creepers, and I have some terrific hilariously awful dating stories for bar nights.

You are so right about the couple-focused and gender-segregated thing. I don't live in one of the major U.S. cities, even though it's decently full of young people, so I think single people in places like NYC, Chicago, etc. may not have those issues, but for me it was virtually impossible to meet guys at parties, the bar or events (everything I go to was super coupley or all the single guys were close friends I would never date). I also find all my friends in relationships always wanted to have "girls' nights out" whereas I would rather do a co-ed thing and have their significant others bring their friends (opportunity!).

Anyway, my point is, please give it a shot, people on the fence! I had a ton of fun doing it, but I also dated A LOT. However, now I am very happily in a relationship with a guy I met on a dating site, and it's only been 5 months but it has lots of promise!


@grammarqueen I have met and been approached by heaps of weirdos, but there were also plenty of nice blokes and we just weren't a match.

I lived in a bigger town in Australia (the capital, Canberra) that had 330,0000 people, and a much younger population. Where I live now the town has 46,000 and the region has about 100,000 permanent residents all up (we are a tourist area so we get lots of people through on top of that).

Oh god yeah... 'girls night out!'... they're fun but when you're single, every night is girls night out, lol. (or worse - couple parties and you go with your one other single girlfriend so much you start to feel like you are a default couple)

Do you find now you're in a relationship you try not to do things you know single-you hated?

PS I love your username, I have a linguistics degree and have been known as the Word Nerd before :)


@sevanetta Oh, I definitely got messages from total creeps. Way more so than guys I was into. I actually messaged my guy first and it turns out he never messaged me because I had listed guys taller than 5'9" under the height preference, which I didn't even remember Filling out. I'm only 5'2".

Yes on the other single friend who ends up being your date to everything! We totally became the default couple everywhere we went with all our couple friends. I feel bad now, though, since she's single and also on dating sites, and I'm even more painfully aware of how difficult and annoying it is to be the token single girl in your group of friends since I was single for years. I definitely try really hard not to be that couple who single me hated, and I do think being single for so long helped me discover who I really am and what I really want as an adult, as corny as that sounds. I have friends who have never even lived alone, having gone straight from college roommates to living with significant others.

Sorry for the long ramble, I've clearly thought a lot about this.

And, thanks! (I'm a copy editor)


@grammarqueen I'm single in NYC and I still have these issues. (I mean, as has been documented on other hairpin threads, I am defective in multiple ways, but still.) I feel like I'm missing out on this wonderful social swirl that everyone thinks happens in NYC, because pretty much everyone I know is too busy to hang out, pretty much always, and that doesn't seem that rare a situation here, from what I can tell. If you're not a model, nobody's going to notice you on the street here. In some ways I really miss living in places where the standards were a lot "lower" and I could actually get dates with non-psychopaths, online or off!


@WaityKatie I'm terrified of online dating, mostly because I have talked so much shit about friends and coworkers who have done it. But I'm slowly coming around, as my father (who has never talked to me about boys in my life) has suddenly been asking whether or not I'm seeing someone. And then I've realized I'm almost 30 and I've never had a bf. FML.


@JP I am also single in NY.


@WaityKatie I think you're right. I live in a hip (sometimes so hipster, it's like mini Williamsburg) suburb right outside Detroit so there are a lot younger people around even if the majority are manchildren, however, I just always assume it's easier to date in larger cities. But my friends in those larger cities say the same thing as you. Everyone is always so busy and a lot of the guys have way high, nearly unattainable, standards.

I think we can all agree, dating post-college in your late 20s and 30s, sucks for all involved, whether you live in a big city or a small one, online and IRL.


@WaityKatie ahhh, WaityKatie, I love hearing your experiences in this stuff because it is so similar to what mine has been. I actually moved from the larger city back to the smaller area (that was 1/7 the population) because I had this theory/hunch that since people were friendlier in the regional area, I would be more likely to meet someone or meet nicer people at least. And make some new friends, because all my friends in the bigger town were coupled/married/babied and didn't have much time for me anymore.


@sevanetta So tell me...did it work?? I don't know if I could live in a really small place, but I am contemplating a move from NYC to DC...kind of the same thing? (Of course I lived in DC before and still went on legions of crap dates there, but at least I could GET dates.)


@WaityKatie Well actually, it did work. This is what happened. I had lots of reasons for wanting to move: renting/buying property is much cheaper (so I could afford to live on my own), it was close to my family and some old friends (high school) (my parents had health problems), the weather is much nicer (warmer), it's near the beach and the bush (I've never been a city girl), the general vibe is very relaxed, there is a lot to do culturally given the size of the area, and I wanted to switch jobs to a slightly different industry. Plus, I wasn't meeting anyone in the old town, so the only reasons to stay were a permanent job and the friends I had made... who were never going to buy a house or have a baby with me, so although I love them and miss them, I had to do what was right for me.

I thought, I am single, I can live wherever I want in the world, so I choose to live in this beautiful place. I thought, you meet people and make friends (or I do) wherever you go, so although the first year will be hard (it was, I was lonely), even if I don't meet someone, I still have like ten great reasons for moving.

I met the lovely boyfriend through (stupid fucking) online dating 3 months ago (that was 10 months into my first year here), but I had already decided that I was going to take another contract in my job here, for 2 years, because I was just starting to settle in, feel like I had made some new friends, etc.

My theory is - do something different, even if it seems like a step backwards to go somewhere you lived before, because with the simple act of moving you are putting yourself into lots of new opportunities. I think DC sounds really cool (from the little I know of it). I never regretted moving once, and it felt like a really positive aspect of being single to me - like hey I can live ANYWHERE, so I'm just going to please myself, thanks.

Oh and two other key things about meeting people. It's taken time to make friends, but this place attracts lots of tourists / seachangers, so there are always interesting people around. I have also read lots and lots on how to meet someone nice, and I sort of had this idea that I needed to go out with someone with a similar background - I only realised as an adult that my experience of growing up was really shaped by this region. The new bloke also grew up here - he went to primary school with people I went to high school with, they lived on neighbouring farms, my mum is friends with a teacher he had, etc - and we do have a similar outlook on life, something I haven't had in a relationship before. So if you have connections to DC (even if you didn't grow up there), if you feel like there are people there who are 'your people', you've got a better chance. (and trust me I had plenty of crap dates last year!)

Mannnnnnnnn that was long but I really hope it's useful to you!


@sevanetta It is, thanks. I think I'm going to go to DC for work reasons anyway, but I'd like to think that my personal life might be better there too. It just sucks because living in NYC was always my dream, and it didn't turn out to be the magical place I imagined. Life wisdom, I guess. I thought I would meet really awesome and amazing people here, but I have hardly met anyone at all. Maybe I'm just not "amazing" enough to really fit in here I guess, ha. And also my job blows. Which is the main thing.


@WaityKatie I reckon if you think it will be better, it will be. I moved to The Big Smoke when I had graduated and just turned 22, and I definitely grieved a little and felt like I hadn't achieved something I wanted to, because I always thought I would meet someone there, and instead I chose to leave. (instead I had a bunch of different boyfriends who mostly married the girlfriend they had after me.)

I am CERTAIN that you are amazing and awesome, just there aren't enough of your people around to be amazing and awesome with :) and getting a job that you like will help you feel much happier! DOOO EEEET :)


I met my husband on OkCupid six years ago. My former roommate met HER husband on it four years ago. Hell, I have a cousin who met her husband online in 1998. They had a computer wedding cake. It works sometimes.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

I wish online dating was more accepted in Ireland. It's getting better than it was, but I still come across the common prejudice that you'd only be online dating due to a 'failure' to meet someone IRL. Also the population is so damn small you can't be guaranteed that if you have a terrible date and you never want to see the guy again that you won't run into him in Tesco eight times a week...


To "homebody, parent, new in town, or a weirdo," I would add gay. Because unless you base your entire social life around the GLBT community center (thus becoming the subject of a letter to A Queer Lady), you're actually not going to have access to as many single gay people in your normal day-to-day life. I'm involved with a number of activities/groups and while I have a rich social life, it doesn't expose me to a ton of single ladies. I know that seems like it'd be super-obvious, but I can't tell you how many people say things like, "I can't believe you don't date more--you have so many friends!" or "Why don't you join a club to meet people?"


@EternalFootwoman I hate when people tell me to "join a club" to meet someone. The type of person I want to meet doesn't belong to "clubs".


@Slutface I know! And that's a good way to meet people who are interested in one aspect of your personality. There is so much more that goes into a successful relationship (values, life goals, domestic and house-keeping attributes, ways of handling conflict and stress, etc.) than whether or not you both like to read or ride bikes or knit.


@EternalFootwoman Well, sometimes. But I met my best friend at dancing, and I've made friends with other gym goers at my workplace. But you do have a point, because I took up plenty of activities with the hope of 'meeting people', and then I still didn't meet anyone to go on dates with. lol.



No seriously, I can think of nothing more dreadful than dating a 'normal' person. What does that even mean???


I've met all my boyfriends in the last ten years online. Granted that's only two people, but it works!


Okay, but what if you've technically been a member of Match and OkCupid but never had the gumption to write a profile? What if you sit down, intent on writing, and get paralyzed by the thought of defining and advertising yourself in a bite-sized narrative? WHAT THEN?

(I mean, the answer is obviously "Get over it," but I'm feeling dramatic this morning.)


@TheLetterL I have looked at it as an on-going scrapbook, really. Or craft project. Or something. How much fun can I have talking to the great silence of the internet about meeeeee?

I mean. At least my father isn't sitting in the local brewer's guild with a rough painting of me and the size of my dowry on paper, talking to some merchant of no small means who is 35 looking to marry a 16-yo local beer barrel maker's daughter.

Also, and call me cynical, but seeing the way perfectly lovely women can act around men they want to date is enough to make my eyes melt sometimes. It's not like we don't perform for dates in person.


@TheLetterL Have a friend write it for you and press "submit" while you hold yourself in fetal position on the chair next to him/her?


@PistolPackinMama I like that way of looking at it - the profile is like a Pinterest for one's heart-vagina. It doesn't have to make big conclusive statements about identity. And word to the public performance part of it all, whether there's a written script like a profile or it's improv'd at the local bar.

@beeline96 Add a few strong drinks (and possibly hand wringing) and that sounds like an ideal situation!


@TheLetterL I couldn't even decide on a username, because that seemed like way to much pressure! But then my bestfriend gave me a gin & tonic, locked her front door, and told me she wasn't letting me out of her apartment until I finished my profile. (this may sound scary, but I had been talking for MONTHS about the idea of maybe someday sort of starting an account) It really helped to be loosened up, and my bff looked over my shoulder for typos and vetoed one, very predictable joke, which I totally appreciated.


@adorable-eggplant I don't think she sounds scary at all. She sounds like the best type of friend!


I've online dated a few times before. Met a few creepers and also an awesome guy that I dated for a while.

And because no one has posted this yet (get on it 'Pinners!), here is the world's greatest tumblr:


@Jennifer@twitter Looooove that site!

serpens kaput

So I'm gonna be real - I joined OkCupid after a devastating break-up exclusively for the purpose of finding people to have casual sex with, with no expectation or intention of getting an LTR out of it. It worked (surprise!) and I had a fabulously slutty (in the most positive sense of the word) phase for a few months, which was exactly what I needed to move on. The algorithms seemed to work for at least some kind of compatibility. Even when there was 0 chemistry & no interest in dating, we'd both have a great time & I made some friends. When I was ready, I quit. It was a strange time in my life, but awesome too. And that's one heck of a first comment, wheee!

fondue with cheddar

@serpens kaput YES. I found online dating to be great for finding cute young guys to bang after my marriage went kaput but never got anything serious out of it. Well okay, I sort of did. I dated this one guy for about 8 months but it was really just friends with benefits. He was a smoker and had kids, both of which were dealbreakers at the time for me, but we really hit it off and he was hot, so we fell into bed together anyway, and we turned out to be really sexually compatible. So we kept dating (banging, mostly) until it felt like it was time to move on.

HOWEVER, my brother and his wife met on match.com and they've been super happy together for 8 years. It works for some people, so I figure it's worth a shot.


The one good thing about online dating was that it forced me to date outside my type, which was awesome because it was getting to be like fucking Groundhog Day around here and I could not date the same emotionally crippled loser with the same taste in music again and again.

The bad part--some of those out of my type folks were god awful boring. Plenty of them already had girlfriends. And the vast majority made me wish I had spent my time doing better things than hanging out with them.


OKAY, The Hairpin, I just got DUMPED, I GET IT, now stop bringing it up!

Even my other friends have forgotten about it; now it is my job to respond to every, "How are you?" with, "I just got dumped, how do you think I feeeeeeeeeeeel;" you don't even have to mention it anymore, I promise

thomas morrison

Awesome! Immense information there.
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