Adventures and Misadventures in Online Dating
Aware of my recent misadventures in online dating, a friend gave me a birthday card with the following verse: Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Cute, Financially Stable, Emotionally Mature Men Right Over. That’s not too much to ask for, right? Are all of the “good ones” truly taken?
I suspect that there are plenty of good ones available — meeting them is the trick. It would be nice to meet someone during the regular course of my day but that doesn’t happen often. So, like many others, I’ve turned to online dating. At various times I’ve tried Match, Ok Cupid, and Plenty of Fish. I like Match because it has a good reputation and I think that the questions it asks can give you a fair idea of your compatibility with someone. That’s assuming the person who has captured your attention has taken the time to answer those questions thoughtfully and honestly — but more on that later. I like Ok Cupid because it’s free to post a profile and to communicate with other people on the site; I also like the Questions section. Based on how your answers match up, when you view someone else’s profile the site gives you three ratings: your Match percentage, your Friend percentage, and your Enemy percentage. If you’re curious to see where you agree and where you disagree, you can click on the tab marked The Two of Us and scroll through the questions this person has answered publicly. If you disagree on too many issues, the tab marked The Two of Us reads instead Y’all Got Issues. I love a sense of humor! As far as Plenty of Fish, it’s free and a lot of people use it. More about the individual sites in follow-up posts though — first things first — is online dating as amazing as the commercials make it seem?
While I know several people who have met their partners via online dating, I also know several who have not. I think that the advantages of online dating are also its disadvantages. On the one hand, it’s super-easy to look for a potential date: a basic search will likely give you a list of dozens, if not hundreds, of people in your town who are also looking for a date. You can narrow your search to focus on those qualities most important to you, maybe has a cat or doesn’t have cats but likes them. (I have two cats. It’s not likely that I would get along well with someone who thinks they are minions of evil. So, yes, this is part of my search criteria.) It’s relatively easy to highlight your interests and what you’re looking for in the About Me sections that all of the sites invariably have; you just have to know what’s important to you and, hopefully, how to convey it well! (More on this later)
The downside of this is that it’s also super-easy to look at someone’s profile, see that their idea of a fantastic Friday night is playing Dungeons & Dragons, and move on to the next profile. I imagine that a lot of us are wondering why it’s so hard when we’re partially to blame. I know I am — I caught myself doing it the other day. I was on Ok Cupid, I saw that someone had viewed my profile and curious, I clicked on his. We live in the same town, he’s slightly older than I am, he’s a teacher, and we share several common interests. I really liked what he wrote in his About Me section. Based on how we answered the same questions, Ok Cupid ranks us 89% Match, 80% Friends, 10% Enemy. Intriguing, right? And then I clicked on the questions portion of his profile to see where we differed. One of the questions he chose to answer publicly was “Should Creationism be taught in the schools alongside Evolution?” He said yes, I said no — but is this necessarily a deal-breaker? On another question, we both answered that it was “very important” to be able to agree to disagree. Neither of us wants to have children so how big of an issue would this really be for us? After all, it is quite possible that I have friends who disagree with me on the Creationism in Schools angle but it’s not an issue between us because we don’t make it one. How many guys have I ruled out far too quickly because of something that seems like a major difference but may not be something we’d ever have to deal with? How many guys have ruled me out for a similar reason?
What do you think, folks?