Online Dating Experiment: Preliminary Results

October 17, 2007 at 4:04 pm (Dating)

The summer is over. 

With fall semester finally in full swing, it’s time for the summer dating experiment to come to a close, or at least take a back seat to more important things like work, writing, my diet and exercise regimen, origami, laundry, whiskey, and sleep.  I canceled all my dating site subscriptions and de-activated my profile on the free sites.  I’m done.  

So, what have I learned?

People don’t read profiles.   I specified strict geographic limits in my profile, but it did not prevent me from getting winks and emails from men in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas.

A good profile is hard to find.  So many profiles are poorly written.  So many profiles are non-existent.  “I’ll tell you later.  Send me a message,” really does not inspire me to contact someone.  Hot pictures are NOT enough.  And then, when you do see a profile that consists of more than three words, chances are it reads like this gem TenFeet encountered.

The line between niche and fetish is very faint and narrow.  I subscribed to a few black sites, and read a lot of profiles from men looking for their “African Queen.”  I kept picturing the sister from “Last Momma on the Couch” in George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum.  That is a bit much for me, and I don’t own a headdress.  I also subscribed to a few plus-size sites, figuring that way I’d avoid awkward conversations about my size.  Not true!  Many of the men on those sites had size requirements, and a few of them began conversations with me asking me how big I was.  In many cases I was too small.

Men who really want to date you will make definite plans to meet you, and soon.  I learned this the hard way, after dicking around with the Cad for a few months.  Some people are more comfortable having a cyber-relationship of emails and IMs.  Those people are looking for penpals, even if they don’t come out and say it on their profiles.  Real world love calls for real world dates.

Pay subscription sites are just as good (or crappy, depending on your point of view) as free sites.  And at least free sites like OkCupid.com give you some fun tests to take while you’re browsing through profiles.

If you suspect that you are different from most people in significant ways, stay away from the big clearinghouses like Match.com and Yahoo personals.  There was so much sameness in the profile matches both sites emailed me week after week.  And, none of them were people I’d have chosen myself.

On a related note, I did not do matching services like Chemistry.com (a Match.com offshoot) or Eharmony.  I wanted more control over the process.  Also, those sites are skewed in the men’s favor by sheer numbers.

Dating is messy.  No, I’m not talking about my first date’s table manners.  I’m talking about emotions.  Whoo.  Messy.  Really, I had not cried so much before in my life as I have this summer.  I don’t think I cried this much as an infant.  Yeah, and I’m still crying.

It’s also messy because sometimes you have to give people news they don’t want to hear.  Sometimes you have to try something (someone) out for a few weeks to figure out for sure whether it’s what you want.  And sometimes you discover it’s not what you want, and you have to be a heartbreaker.  And then you cry.  (See preceding paragraph).

Then again, sometimes you find someone quite special, who makes your heart hot and makes you feel like your teeth are gonna fall out of your head.*  And he professes his undying love for you.  And then you cry.

*If you’ve seen Miss Firecracker, you know that these are good things.

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6 Comments

  1. yoko said,

    “People don’t read profiles.” – yup, learned this one pretty quickly.

    “Then again, sometimes you find someone quite special, who makes your heart hot and makes you feel like your teeth are gonna fall out of your head.* And he professes his undying love for you. And then you cry.”

    You’re making *me* cry now.

  2. ashyknees said,

    This makes my heart hot.

  3. ashyknees said,

    I prefer okcupid because taking all the fun tests makes me feel like I’m already on a date…with myself. I’m way more Radcliffy than everyone. Also, okcupid lets you send cloaked emails for free.

  4. TragicCrusade said,

    I am so so scared that sleep is so far down on that list!

  5. Quiconque said,

    THAT’S what scares you?

  6. TragicCrusade said,

    Well yes that AND laundry’s position hmm, NOT THAT I CAN TALK about laundry.. so Ill shut up now before the flames of perdition consume me.

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