We’ve all seen the commercials, how can you miss them! We are constantly assaulted through every available media outlet with ads for Match.com, eHarmony and Chemistry.com (just to name a few), all claiming that their service will result in you finding your soul mate.
One lonely weekend, curiosity got the better of me and I started poking around on Match.com. Like most of these online dating services, there is only so much you can do for free. You can browse profiles and “wink for free”, but if someone tries to flirt back or send you a message you are required to pay a membership fee in order to respond. After a couple hours of playing around I bit the bullet, made a profile and signed up for a one month membership. What the hell, why not?!
Within the first 24 hours of my profile becoming active, I received a few winks and a couple emails. Not bad for my first 24 hours, but I still had reservations about exactly how the online dating world worked. Do we use the sites IM and email features exclusively? Do we exchange phone numbers? Do we (gasp) meet in person? How do I know that the pictures in this profile are really of this person? And if they are, how do I know if the pictures are a true depiction of what the person currently looks like? Finally, I decided the best approach was to stop over analyzing every aspect of this adventure and just roll with it. What the hell?!
I tried to keep all communication strictly on the Match.com site as much as I could, but the site isn’t exactly user friendly. For instance, the IM feature is slower than molasses in winter! I resorted to attempting to have conversations with people via email…tedious! When I felt comfortable with a few people, we did exchange phone numbers which resulted in texts and an occasional phone call. Honestly, the process just seemed so time consuming! I was meeting new people though and as far as I was concerned, that’s all I was looking for.
I have to say, the online dating scene is not all that different from the bar scene. Sure, the atmosphere itself is different — dark, loud, club or bar vs comfort of your own laptop, but turn up the tunes and add some alcohol as you peruse the internet and you really can’t tell the difference. There are creeps no matter where you look. There are guys just looking for a hook-up and those who say they want Ms Right when really they just want Ms. Right-Now. There are also some very forward and openly crass men out there in cyberspace. I know, they’ve emailed me. Sure, you may also come across a few nice guys, but in my experience it seems rare.
So, what’s a single girl to do? Consider online dating just another tool, just another venue for meeting new people. I don’t think online dating will replace the more traditional girl-meets-boy-at-a-bar scenario, but for those too busy (or fed up) to venture out to the local watering hole night after night, online dating serves a purpose.