Faire du lèche-vitrine: Internet Dating

In New York City, there are over 8 million inhabitants.  Almost half of them are of the opposite sex, with slightly more women than men.  On a given work day, these same people probably also come into Manhattan and, being only 13 miles long from top to tip, you can not physically be alone here — unless you lock yourself in your 450 square foot apartment, assuming that you don’t have roommates or any windows for that matter.

Taking that all into account, logic would lead you to believe that a single person in this city should have no problem meeting someone just by the very act of stepping outside.  However,  you would be wrong.*

Is the internet our friend or foe when it comes to dating? So far, my vote goes to the latter.

Whenever I found myself single in the past four years, the frequency of how many times I’ve been advised to get on the internet dating bandwagon have increased.  Without trying to make the inference that they are afraid that I’ll end up a bitter old spinster, these people tell me that its just another option in addition to the old-fashioned way of meeting someone by accident at a party or through mutual friends.  To them, its a form of duty dating, as though if I don’t find someone right away after my last relationship ended, it’ll be a disservice to my family’s lineage or, as my mom has already suggested, my eggs are wrinkling as we speak.

These advice givers have been from love’s true believers (congrats E and J, engaged two years after meeting on eharmony.com!) to the optimistic (“She went on 87 dates before she met her husband.  87 dates.  But it worked.  In the end.”) to the Gallic shoulder shruggers (“eh, why not?).  I even have a friend who told me that she was done with dating, and then also tell me that she renewed her subscription to JDate.

So, not wanting to be a bad sport to my friends when they had to listen to me lament about the death throes of my last relationship, I checked out some dating websites and have lived to tell the tale:

1.  Chemistry.com:  Like most dating websites, they ask you to fill out a questionnaire in the same manner as most personality quizzes that you would find on Facebook or Cosmo magazine.   Based on these answers, they supposedly find potential matches for you and based on the 5 profiles they send you each day, you get to decide whether you’re interested or not.  I liked it because it required me to do nothing but log on, but then again, me clicking “not interested” to most of their suggestions may not be point of all this…

2. eHarmony:  I have heard from some reliable sources that you will definitely meet someone on this site if you chose to pay for their services, but I didn’t like the fact that its a Christian-based site that only allowed same-sex profiles after getting sued.  Also, its profile questionnaire was so extensive, I just gave up.  I think that must be the secret to their success — you must be pretty serious to spend hours answering their questions.

3.  How About We:  Unlike most dating websites, this site is based on the premise that you can find someone through the dates that they suggest.  I like it because I didn’t have to rely on my friend writing my profile for me as to how awesome I am, but instead I can just say what I wanted to do and see if anyone else was interested.  Unfortunately, no one else seems to want to sit in a dark corner and mope on a sunny Saturday afternoon…

4.  Match.com:  Much like its smaller service  site, Match is more extensive and has the browsing function that Chemistry.com lacks so that you can actually choose who you’d like to contact.  For me, its just too exhausting to do the whole search thing and I don’t like people contacting me willy-nilly; however, I can see how this is probably ideal to most people who want to try the internet dating thing.

5.  Plenty of Fish:  it’s a free dating website, where anyone can load a basic HTML profile and browse the personals in the same manner of finding a free couch on Craigslist.  In fact, I think thats a perfect analogy for this site.  My time on this site was short-lived as I didn’t check it often and, when I did, I found three emails from the same guy who went from “hey, I never do internet dating, but I thought you were cute and interesting and wanted to get to know you” to “what? do you think you’re too good to respond to me?!  f— you, b—–!”

How about you?  Have you tried internet dating?  What site(s) did you use and what helpful things can you tell me about it?

* Yes, I know its like me standing in a closet full of clothes and saying, “I haven’t got anything to wear!” but this article will not work if I start getting introspective at this point.

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3 Responses to “Faire du lèche-vitrine: Internet Dating”
  1. Of course, you had the benefit of searching amongst a wide array of choices. In my case, the results that exist on POF, OKC, Match, and the rest are all the same people for the most part. My lackluster success is due to a lack of regional demand for a guy like me, to put it lightly. To put it bluntly, I’m in redneck hell surrounded by neocons who want nothing to do with my northern-esque way of life. I was told my “type” hides exceptionally well, assuming they live here to begin with. Tried eHarmony, but alas, the same kinds of people showed up despite dedicating myself to answering their questions.

    With online dating, outside of my own results, of course, I often wonder if anyone is ever good enough for everyone else looking for love in that medium. There’s always one little thing that tweaks potential matches that turns them away from engaging in a conversation. I’ve found that online dating has gone from a reasonable form of communication, complete with a dynamic list of results, to the bottom of the barrel singles who secretly want nothing to do with anyone else to begin with. Pure poison.

  2. Oh Jenny says:

    Its interesting that your experience has led you to believe that internet dating is dying, though I would disagree with your premise. Recently, the Washington Post published a money article entitled “Are Dating Websites Past Their Prime?” which suggests that the rise of social networking websites like Facebook has made internet dating sites unattractive due to the free-ness of the former. In general, people feel weird about having to pay money to meet someone.

    How long have you been doing the online dating thing? And if the demise of internet dating is in fact on the horizon, are there other online social sites, like Meetup.com, that you find promising?

  3. I do think online dating is on the down and out. Not because of social networking, but because it has become a haven for the undesirables, much like the bar scene when online dating took off. Social networking may be playing a role, like you said, by reinforcing the notion that dating sites are not needed anymore to meet people.

    I’ve been a serial online dater since 2004. Had a 3 year relationship somewhere in there up until the middle of ’08 and then I came crawling back to what was familiar when that ended. The results now are monotonous and disappointing, filled with those jaded by past relationships and current online dating experiences. The real meat and potatoes of the current online dating scene is best understood by reading about the dating up/dating down philosophy. People either wall themselves off or delude themselves into thinking they are the bee’s knees. Didn’t use to be that way. Everyone had a much better sense of self when online dating was in its prime.

    Location is the ultimate equalizer. It determines who your options are, how far you have to go to find someone compatible, and whether or not you appeal to the regional demand which exists. Location is definitely my problem. If the matches don’t exist, I won’t find them.

    The numbers game is the next great equalizer for both genders. Men can’t get attention to save their skin and women can’t keep up with the horde of men coming at them in rapid fire succession. Men have one chance to make a favorable impression and if their initial message doesn’t jump leaps and bounds above the rest, they are toast. Looks play heavily into the numbers game as well. It’s just an all around bad situation. Puts everyone in a bad mood. To make matters worse, I’ve found that people come online already in a foul mood and do not hesitate in spreading around their angst. There is a domino effect out there, but many seem to think I’m full of it. One bad interaction turns into several. All it takes is one rude email or snub. The next person in line pays for it.

    I can’t name any sites off hand that will jump start the interaction. Facebook and Myspace are more about who you already know and not who you plan on meeting. In addition, those who seek out potential dates on either site come off as creepy. No. Not the ideal sea to be swimming in. Meetup is promising, but again, location determines activity. I’ve investigated Meetup. I find the same incompatible groups of people I encounter in online dating who are at odds with me at every turn. There are exceptions and a couple (literally 2) of the interest groups might allow me to meet new people, but they are about as active as a phone booth along side a two lane road in the middle of the desert. My latest thoughts revolve around Twitter and whether or not people can meet under those circumstances. I want to write a post on the idea, but it’s a work in progress.

    It seems like people are becoming more closed off, huddling in their comfort zone corners, demanding partners who match up with specific belief systems or well outside their realistic expectations. While I admit to having an inclination towards doing the same thing, it’s quite obvious that women in my area are looking for men who have more redneck and religious attributes. If the profile says they are looking for my opposite, I will not message them. If their profile shows they have not learned from life’s mistakes, I keep my distance. Women think it’s difficult to find a good man. Finding a good woman is no easy task either.

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