When I wrote earlier about whether I should try online dating, you guys had a lot of great advice. It was pointed out that perhaps I wasn’t ready to date, and that my list was just a big list of excuses.
I can’t say that those commenters were wrong. I wasn’t ready. But then I got ready.
And I’m here to update my list based on my experiences in the wild world of dating people on the internet.
Pros of Online Dating
- I get to meet new people.
- Most people who are into online dating are fairly normal. Some are even cute.
- It just changes how you meet someone, the rest of the rules are pretty normal.
- I can meet people in my pajamas, and strike up fun conversations even when I don’t look presentable enough to go outside.
- There’s always that chance that a spark will ignite, even when meeting people online.
- I get to try new happy hours, or if I get to pick, I get to go to my favorite Portland places.
- There are good dates, there are mediocre dates, and there are dates that make for amazing stories (that I’m too kind and gentle to post here!).
- In 2013, there is no stigma associated with online dating. So there doesn’t have to be any kind of fake story about how we “bumped into each other at a happy hour” (not that I’ve ever fibbed like that, ahem!).
Cons of Online Dating
- It’s a lot of work. I mean, I work in marketing, and my hobby is blogging, so I have to be charming and witty and on my game most of the day. The internet dating thing just adds more to that. There are back and forth emails, then there’s the “let’s go have a drink” conversations, and sometimes, I just want to hang out with my friends or by myself. Even extroverts hit their limit.
- There are two kinds of people who are looking for dates online: those that can’t get dates otherwise because of some limitation, and those that are too lazy to go meet people in other ways. I’d like to think I’m in the latter group, but that might just be wishful thinking. Unfortunately, I have found that there are many people in the former group, who can hide some limitation for a while on the internet, only to have it blatantly obvious within one minute of meeting.
- I am, frankly, not very good at dating. I think it’s way too obvious that I don’t like the game, so I tend to get excited too soon, and then get far too disappointed that he never called/texted/sent a postcard. Ever since I realized this trait, though, I’ve lightened up, and decided to take things slowly. Now I’m no longer thinking, as I get ready to go out, will this be my last first date? and turning that “crazy” off has done wonders for me.
- Some people give off a very creepy vibe. I take my privacy (and safety!) very seriously, so when I get the feeling someone is kind of creepy, it makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing being online.
- It’s not always fun. Of course it isn’t. There is a real temptation to try to cover all my bases and join up with all the sites, but the idea of that is repulsive. Andrea already did the legwork to let me know never, ever, to do Plenty of Fish, so I have it narrowed down to two.
My Experience with Dating Sites
I don’t know what finally made me decide to try, but I think, honestly, I clicked an ad on an NPR article. It was for a different kind of dating site called “How About We” and instead of an intense profile, you just answer some very basic questions and then suggest a date. “How about we… check out xyz at the something or other”. Fun! They let you do a few things for free, but then if someone emails you, you have to pay to see it.
But it’s fun — you get to look at fun things to do in your city rather than see about someone’s income level and education and number of children. And also you have to pay to read messages. So the instant I got a message, I pulled out my credit card. Vanity, right?
And, even though I am in marketing and I know how to price things, the dating pricing structure totally works on me. It’s only marginally more expensive for three months than for one. So, of course I signed up for three months (even though in the back of my head I hoped that the message that was waiting for me was from the one and I wouldn’t need that long! — I told you, I’m better now).
Then I realized something. This site is really new. So, as cool as it is, there are only 100 guys in my area on it. While each and every one of them is awesome in his own way, I don’t think I’ll be going out with very many of them.
So, I thought, while I’m here on the internet and interested in online dating, I’d diversify. I signed up with OKCupid as well. That is a free site, with everything that goes along with that. My user name has the word frugal in it (are you surprised?) so sometimes I get really good lines, like, “you’re not very frugal with that smile” which… does that work? For anyone? But there are some nice guys on there as well.
My sister thinks I should give Match a try but I have this feeling that I do not need to be on three dating sites.
Something about overkill.