First of all, yes, I’m admitting to succumbing to the Internet to date. I’m not going to defend my decision to do so farther than stating that I don’t like to meet guys in bars or clubs as they’re only looking for one thing, and with my work and play schedule, it’s hard for me to meet anyone outside of, well, the Internet.
Second of all, it’s hard. Really hard.
Step 1: Creating a profile
How can you accurately sum up your life in categories? My life is not necessarily categorized by “what I’m doing on a Friday night,” or “what I’m really good at,” or even, “my favorite books, movies or food.” Nope. Sorry. There’s more to me than all of that. Not to mention, I have to sound interesting enough for a guy to actually message me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interesting. But, the fact that I’m 5’3”, only drink occasionally and own a cat might suggest otherwise.
Along with answering these mind-numbing questions, you’re presented with even more of a challenge. You have to choose a photo. Lucky for me, I’m fairly photogenic, but it’s still a crapshoot when trying to pick the perfect one. Do I pick one that’s a little sexy? Then what message is that relaying? Do I pick one of me outdoors? Dressed up? Dressed down? Out? In? Short? Tall? Clothed? Not clothed? AH!
Then the tests they want you to take (you know, in order to increase the ability to match you with someone you might get along with) are absolutely ridiculous.
“Some friends invite you to go camping where there are no showers, no toilets, and no services. The only luxuries would be those you could carry in a pack on your back. Do you go?”
Can someone please tell me how this question will impact my dating life? Thanks.
Step 2: Finding “matches”
Ok, so your profile is set. You’ve taken the dumb quizzes and tried to be as honest as possible in answering the questions. Now what? Well, some dating sites actually attempt to perform some sort of ninja analysis of your answers to the dumb quizzes and find others’ answers to the dumb quizzes and POOF! you’re a match.
Sometimes, these “matches” seem like they might be right on. And others…just…don’t. Like, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in a 4’11” little man who is an emo poet in his parent’s basement in Timbuktu, California. But! But! But the site says he’s a 97% match! Bologne.
Chivalry is dead
With online dating, there’s no “wait for the boy to make the first move.” I mean, of course, you can wait for them to message you, but with all the profiles to patrol, it’s pretty impossible for the guy you’ve been eyeing to know you’re eyeing and then message you. So, you have a couple options.
You can go out on a limb and message them. What do you say? “Uh, hi. I saw your…achem…profile. Judging by a picture that may or may not be you, I think you might be cute. Also, I think that we both like ice cream. Wanna chat?”
Ok, so you don’t want to send a message. Well, you can give them a high rating (stars) and then let them know that you gave them a high rating and then hope they give you a high rating, too. And if they don’t? Well, then you think you’re LOW-RATED.
Screw the rating. Instead, you can just “wink” at the person you’re cyber-stalking. Because that’s not creepy at all.
Step 3: “You’ve got mail”
Guys will message you. Some of them might even pique your interest. Others, will repulse you. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a gem like this one that’ll just make you laugh:
“Holy damm. So I Read you’re jewish,cool. Im 1/4 Jewish. My parents are from Ukraine- Moms is mixed.”
You see, if he actually read my profile, he’d see that I’m a writer. And if he had his head on correctly, maybe he’d take a little extra special care in crafting a message void of glaring grammatical errors. Then again, maybe that’s asking for too much.
Step 4 (not often reached): The first date
You find someone that can spell and looks like they might be interested in similar things, and doesn’t appear to be a serial killer, so you decide to meet in person. All you’ve seen of them is their profile picture (and if you’re good at stalking like I am, you’ve hunted down their Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.) BUT, all you’ve seen are pictures.
You arrive at the predetermined location. You scan faces, looking for a spark of recognition. You come to the conclusion that he’s not there, when all of a sudden, the scrawniest of scrawny guys perks his little ears up and recognizes you.
“SuperDude49?” you question, hoping he’ll say no and you can just chalk the night up to a blow-off.
“Yep! That’s me! Gosh, you’re gorgeous!”
Bottom line is that photos are deceptive. Like, there’s no way his “Body Type” is “Athletic” unless starving yourself has somehow become a professional sport all of a sudden. And that picture? Yeah, it must have been from 150 years ago, you know, before the potato famine.
Ok, ok, you get past the fact that the guy looks nothing like his picture. (I’m in no way, shape or form superficial). We had great conversations, right? We have so much in common? Well, then you find out that he’s not really a surgeon, he’s more of an insect dissector. He’s not really living in a huge apartment by himself, it’s actually the in-law apartment of his parent’s house. He’s not actually anything he described himself to be.
Step 5: Letting him down…
All right, the date is over (thank God) and you’re thinking, “ok, that wasn’t so bad. But, I’m not interested. I’ll just tell him and then move on!” Well, it’s not that easy, sucker. Why? BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS ENDLESS AND HE CAN AND WILL ALWAYS FIND YOU. Sure, you can block him from your dating profile. Yeah, you can unfollow him on Twitter. Yes, you can unfriend him on Facebook. But he is always lurking and you don’t know where or when he will strike again.
Unfortunately, I don’t see a way around any of these scenarios. And I know, dating (in general, not just online) takes risks. But, I think, at least for a little while, I’m going to try meeting people the “old-fashioned” way. You know, face to face. Or at the very least, blog about my silly online dating experiences. Ugh. I don’t know which is worse.