So over this summer I decided that I was going to try to get back “out there,” so to speak — where “there” is the wonderful world of dating. Because I am incredibly shy and somewhat geeky, I turned to the trusty Internet(s) as a potential method of at least meeting people that perhaps I wouldn’t normally meet. It worked the first time I got involved with it, so logic followed that I should try there again. I found, however, that the landscape of dating on the Internet(s) has significantly changed over the last few years. From that point on, this evolved as less of an attempt to meet girls as it was a true study of online dating as a whole.
For this project, which roughly began in May, I signed up at eHarmony and Match.com. Initially, eHarmony didn’t give me any matches, but that changed. I quickly noticed that Dr. Neil Clark Warren thought that I should be matched to girls in California. I fixed this and continued. Because I would have to pay to look at pictures on eHarmony — or really, do anything outside of looking at my matches — I didn’t get too far, especially because the price is over $50 a month. Thus, I spent a majority of my time auditing my eHarmony matches for ridiculous spelling and grammatical errors, boneheaded statements, or just general lack of connection to reality; utilizing a grading system, I determined whether this person would, if in fact I decided to sell several of my major organs to Dr. Warren, be worthy of my communication. There were a few potential home run hitters, and then we had a few potential Hideki Irabus. Because of my balking at parting with a great deal of my money up front to even talk to these potential interests (dating is expensive enough as is), nothing happened here except a few laughs reading some of the oddities on my phone (eHarmony works beautifully on Internet Explorer Mobile) in Zaxby’s.
Match.com is more of a traditional personals site — you put up an ad, you browse others’ ads, and hope for the best. I proceeded to put my best e-foot forward (a picture of me taken with my book the day after I got back from pulling an all-nighter after my Atlanta trip), and, as the directions prescribed, hoped for the best. When browsing the ads in an attempt to locate people to “wink” at — a small signal one can send which is roughly the digital equivalent of walking up to the girl at the bar and grunting “hey girl” — I began to notice that a lot of the personals were reading like job postings:
- Education: College degree
- Income: $75,000 — $100,000
- Body type: [insert synonyms for “model” here]
I was pretty astonished, and was pretty sure that the guy these girls were looking for usually doesn’t frequent online dating sites. It certainly seemed as if their expectations were set far beyond anything one could even hope for. In such instances — which were frequent — I didn’t even try for the girl, unless she specifically stated she liked thunderstorms (which is listed as an option for a turnon or a turnoff — any girl who said thunderstorms were a turnoff was immediately removed from my searches, as there are simply fundamental, irreconcilable differences). As time went on, I decided to begin a subscription so that I could see who was looking and I could send messages rather than mere winks if things actually got that far. Because I’m awful at breaking ice, I mainly fired off winks to women that looked at me, with hopes that return winkage would happen. In all cases, it did not happen.
Match did generate, however brief, contact and even an in-person meeting, which I was surprised about, as I came in under the minimum requirements (degree was required). She winked me, and we began messaging, which was interesting. I jokingly called this the “panel interview,” as I went to hang out with her and some of her friends. This proved to be very disadvantageous, though — I was nervous as hell and in some pain from walking all the way from my place clear across the peninsula (I will not attempt to park anywhere near the Market, period), and ultimately nothing clicked and that lead was lost. Two months of inactivity — not by my doing, I tried firing winks in other directions which were unreciprocated — followed, and I ultimately resigned my subscription. I left the situation amazed at the unrealistic expectations of many of the ladies on the site. I am a firm believer in having standards for people one dates, but some of these people took it above and beyond the call of duty. I can understand women my age — and women I would be attracted to — wanting someone to have a college degree at this point (which I guess is a measure of maturity, in a lot of cases), but the income requirements that some listed just struck me as blatant gold-digging. It was disappointing, really. It turned out that the advantage to online dating — that it would help me meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet — also struck as a major disadvantage. Perhaps online dating brings together a lot of people that, quite frankly, shouldn’t meet. Food for thought.
Now that classes are back in session and I work a lot, I am distracted enough to where I don’t think much about matters like these, which generally keeps my life at least a smidgen bit simpler. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even think about it anymore — but that’s a blog post for another day.