Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To Online Date or Not To Online Date

Online dating? No thanks

I've always been opposed to online dating. It was fine for other people, but not my thing. I hate awkward situations, and I find it hard not to show it when I'm bored or annoyed. Meeting someone in person from a dating site seemed like the most awkward situation I could think of. Growing up I had a ton of pen pals. Nearly always, any written connection just didn't exist when we actually met. Needless to say, I was skeptical that it was going to be any different with online dating. My affinity for online dating decreased even more when I discovered that my ex had profiles on several online dating sites while we were living together (classy, right?). Plus, I never had a problem meeting guys in real life. I didn't need this online dating nonsense.

The musical chairs of dating

Since the end of my last relationship, the pool of available men has seemed much smaller. A friend has a great analogy for dating in your 30s - it's like you're in a game of musical chairs and everyone else sat down, but you didn't get the memo that the music stopped. I have always been a serial monogamist. After a string of poorly chosen relationships, I found myself single for the first time since middle school. Until the last relationship ended, I could count on two hands the number of months I'd been single since I was 14. That strategy obviously wasn't working too well so I figured maybe now was a good time to change tactics.

It's go time

I'm naturally competitive and an over-achiever. With the rest of my life, if I want something, I go get it. If I want to accomplish something, I find a way to do it. Climbing mountains, getting my dream job, running a marathon - all achieved by working my ass off and knowing exactly what I wanted. Yet for some reason, dating was the opposite. I was just passively waiting around to see who the next guy would be to fall into my life. As much as I hated the idea of online dating, it was proactive. And from what I could tell, every eligible straight guy in San Francisco was online.

The misadventures begin

After polling my friends for a clever username, I went onto OKCupid and set up an account. Before I had uploaded a photo or filled in any information, I was getting spammed. The first message was from a guy in Turkey. This wasn't starting well. After a few glasses of wine, writing my profile wasn't as painful as I was expecting. Before I had even finished my profile, the deluge of messages had started. In the first three days, I had 115 messages. Flattering, sure. But the vast majority was crap. It was exhausting to wade through all of the nonsense. I was invited to "special dinners" (scared to think what those might be), called the "female Tintin" (is that supposed to be a compliment?) and told my "profile pic is a bait for a man to read your profile" (I thought that was the point). Some of the messages were thoughtful, but as soon as I looked at the guy's profile we were obviously not a match. This was starting to feel like a whole lot of effort, but at least I would get a few good stories out of this even if I didn't find my dream guy.

Welcome to the party

Now after 2 weeks, 300+ messages, 4 dates and 3 more scheduled, I already have more than just a few good stories. I posted some of the highlights and lowlights on Facebook. The posts got more likes and comments than I ever expected (and a small army of friends who are now determined to find me a boyfriend). At their urging, I'm starting a blog of my misadventures. Posts to come will include the best and worst messages, awkward meet ups, tactics that seem to work and not work, and comparisons of all the different sites out there. If you have your own online dating story that you want to share, leave a comment and we'll chat. And of course, if you've got an amazing single guy friend, let me know. Enjoy :)


  1. As I am currently venturing into the online dating scene as well, this is going to be a huge asset for me to have in my back pocket as I go out. Looking forward to stories I can learn from!

  2. Can't wait to hear about the 4 dates and 3 more scheduled!