Your Official Guinea Pig’s Foray into Online Dating

By Caroline Silveira

On January 6, I posted a discussion piece called Online Dating: Essential or Passe?  I got a lot of encouragement to try it out, and I was hoping to get my year started with some fun, so I’m officially online, but the dating part – not so much.

Putting yourself “out there” online is the easy part, but I can’t seem to quit just standing around the pool and actually jump in – I mean, go on a date, or even talk to someone on the phone for that matter.  I have stage fright.  I worry that if they meet me, they won’t like me. Or even worse, if I meet someone, he could be a psycho.  So I thought I’d give you some candid feedback on my experiences thus far.

What no one told me was that this would be my second job!  It is intense. If I were really doing all the dating I could be, I’d need to hire a cleaning lady and a personal chef, and quit the gym and buy one of those electric impulse devices you strap to your muscles to work them out for you while you sit or sleep, because I wouldn’t have time for maintaining my normal life!

Chemistry.com

First, I tried Chemistry.com, which is Match’s sister website that is supposed to make matches based on deeper levels of your personality.  I thought this might be the more responsible way to go – and the personality test looked fun and sort of scientific.  Within a few days, I made several observations, three of which sum it up, and seal its fate, for me:

Ageism

Boy, is this annoying!  The vast majority of guys put in the profiles for a woman they’d want to date only women who are younger than them. I’m 35, so my search is 29 to 42 – fair enough, right?  Well, a 42 year old man was seeking a woman 21 to 38.  I asked him why he wouldn’t even want to date someone up to his own age.  He responded that he just wasn’t attracted to women over 40.  Geez, really wanted to get involved with him since he wouldn’t even be attracted to me in a few years.  This was prevalent.  I barely made it into some guys’ match lists because they were 35 to 40 years old, and 35 was their cut off!  On the other end of the spectrum, thirty- and forty-something men routinely state that they’ll date down to 21 or 23.

Oh really?  And how much of all that important personality and relationship stuff do they think they’re going to have in common with a girl who very possibly has yet to finish college?  Right, that’s not what they’re after!  They’re after young tail.  Not very appealing to the women actually near the guy’s age (who are more likely to know who they are, what they want, have a career, etc.) that he could possibly attract for something other than the perceived bank account young girls think comes with his age.  I don’t know who these guys think they are – what a wonder they’re single.

Cheesy User Names/Captions

Explanation here just takes a few real examples from my matches:

  • Username: Terd Caption: hi
  • I’m a professional pyrotechnician, so I mean it when I say…Fireworks Are Guaranteed! =)
  • Looking for giggling marlin for the long road to Cabo
  • Believe in Super Man? Because…HERE HE IS!

Guys – Word of advice – I know these sites tell you to be catchy, but more descriptive, less cheesy (or less disgusting) is preferable.

What’s up with the Extreme Sports Photos?

Guys must really document their extreme sports moments because so many highlight these photos in their profiles – despite the fact that you can’t really tell who the heck is actually in the picture!  I’ve seen skydiving, hang gliding, whitewater rafting, lots of rock climbing, etc.  I realize it shows that you really have these interests, but it’s seriously a little ridiculous and overboard, and most women don’t care.

So, you guessed it, I’ve pretty much abandoned my one-month $50 subscription to Chemistry.com.

Match.com

Next, a zealous group of my girlfriends insisted that I try Match.com because they knew people who had success and thought it had the most members. They’re right, Match.com has the most members of any online dating site, but it also has a reputation for being a virtual meat market – the reason I didn’t start there.  Unless I never figured it out on Chemistry.com, Match is different in that you can search through and see profiles at will.  On Chemistry, you just got your matches, so it was much more limited.

Being a newbie to online dating, I emailed a fellow Match.comer and asked  how he decides to meet a woman.  He didn’t exactly answer that, but he did state with clarity the obvious reality that I had lost sight of when placing my overly high expectations on online dating services.  He said he had met a lot of crazies, but that he thought it was a fairly representative cross-section of what you’d find in a bar.  And, really, if you don’t have friends who have someone to set you up with, where do you really meet people?

Which brought me straight back to my original question – and most people said try online dating.

So, I have yet to go out on my first date because it’s been a little overwhelming and I don’t want to rush in.  But I hope that  sharing my experience helps others like me – a professional, normal person who really wants to find that special someone.

  • Here’s one more tip for the guys – most nice girls still want the guy to take the first step per tradition – so email her, and if you decide you want to, either ask her for her number or ask her to meet you in a public place.  Don’t give her your number and expect her to call.  Chivalry isn’t dead – even in the online dating realm.

Feel free to ask me questions, or send me success stories of encouragement!

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5 Comments

  1. Jamie says

    You are one brave guinea pig! Good luck (and let me know if you need a chaperone/bodyguard if you go on a date with any of these guys…)

    As for middle-aged men looking for girls half their age, let’s give them a break… they’re probably just looking for someone with their same maturity level 😉

  2. Kristin says

    So true that chivalry isn’t dead, but the online dating forum sure does give men the opportunity to stall, postpone, and in some cases, completely hold off on taking the big step to actually having a physical conversation! It causes women to have to invest a lot of time and energy in communicating with guys when, if we actually met them just once, we might realize the physical or emotional chemistry just isn’t there.

    My advice to you is to be up front about NOT wanting the back and forth emails to drag on endlessly before meeting. Your time is too valuable!

    Keep us posted on your progress….the right one is out there somewhere. 🙂

  3. Beth says

    In my experience Match.com = sex.com. Whether positive or negative experiences, people continue to tell me EHarmony is the best site (I tried it and while the questionnaire is very in-depth, you still get the typical response from guys like you did on Chemistry.com)

    You should investigate speed dating. It’s fast, easy and you meet like 20 guys in one night. Nothing beats face to face interaction.

  4. Amelia Neufeld says

    Hilarious!!! I love the capitions! Are those for real?!

    Good for you for attempting this. I would probably just stay home and watch movies by myself instead of putting myself out there, which is the brave way to go (especially after getting more depressed from reading those horrible online dating profiles!).

    Keep us posted and I love Beth’s idea of trying speed dating! That actually looks like it could be fun.

  5. Annette says

    Speed dating must have improved over the last 8 years. I worked at a restaurant where there was a monthly speed dating event. Both the men and women there seemed less than stellar. It did seem like fun, so maybe give it a try!

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