Thursday, March 22, 2012

There are Plenty of Fish in the Internet

I just wish I could start a relationship about twelve years in, when you really don't have to try anymore, and you can just sit around together and goof on TV shows, and then go to bed without anybody trying any funny business.
-Liz Lemon
I do this for you, my faithful readers ;-)
How many dating websites are there? Umm.. probably thousands. All of them proclaiming that they can do the one thing you are incapable of doing yourself: finding a mate.
Solely for research purposes, I tried out four websites:, Plentyoffish, eHarmony, and OKCupid.
I just want to point out that it is a pain in the ass filling out the information over and over again. It comes to the point where you say "Let me search already! I don't want to talk about myself anymore."

PS - Finding a job is not all that different than finding a match online. There are thousands of sites and in each of them you have to fill in the same information over and over and over again.

Hmmm... they should put them together. Find a date and a job! Or one of the two.

First off is one of the first dating websites to appear on the Internets. It proclaims to be "The Leading Online Dating Site." O-kay. That's probably why it costs a lot of money. Right off the bat I thought this site was a pain. It tricks you.
And I hate to be tricked.
You see, it lets you do everything for free. You create a profile, you search for people, you can send "winks," BUT when you receive something it doesn't even tell you who it's from. So you're torn. Do I pay money just to find out what that unread message says? What if it's my soulmate telling me he's found me? What if it's the same guy winking at me that I winked at?
What if it's just a random person you share no interest in? And the message isn't worth reading?
It goes on and on. Pretty much, if you don't have the cash don't even bother because you won't be able to communicate.

Plentyoffish is scary and full of scary people. I don't even like their website. It looks like the trashy bar on the corner Mugged Ave. and Death Dr. Just stay away from this site. I feel dirty just having signed up for it.
The only plus side is that it's completely free. You get what you pay for. I'm just saying.

Next up is eHarmony which is the most time-consuming of all the websites. It is the "#1 Most Trusted Site." I've been told that eHarmony is a website aimed at the general public but really run by some right-wing, ultra conservative group. I have no idea. I do remember seeing some ads a couple of years ago with people who weren't allowed to sign up for the site.
ANYWAY. The site claims that you will find your perfect match because they have this formula and they only match you with people who fit you best based on this formula.
Write that down, because it's going to be important, and hilarious, later.
Here is the good thing about eHarmony, they do free weekends every few months. So if you're signed up and you like your match then you have the option at some point to communicate. For free. I knew a girl that did this and she got a free dinner out of it.
That is, of course, if you get any matches. Which, after about two hours of answering all of their multiple choice questions (at one point I just clicked on the middle choice), and waiting impatiently for the thingy to search, it turns out I have...
Remember the time Ted Mosby went to that matchmaker and she found only four women for him and he felt all bad? Yeah, this was worse.
So the site gives me this little "hint" which basically says "stop being so picky." Okay, so I changed my parameters. I can date men that aren't as tall as I am. Sure.
So, I go in and change stuff again. I can convince a smoker to stop smoking.
Hmmm... I can date someone that lives in Timbuktu.

eHarmony boasts that it has 20 million registered users.

And you guys don't think I'm cursed. I'm laughing on the inside.

I want to mention that the only flaw I see in eHarmony's site is that you can't search on your own. You plug in your parameters and the site only gives you the matches that are of a high percentage with your answers. So, in theory, they think that they're better at knowing what you want than you are.

On to the next and my favorite of the four: OKCupid. I read about this site last year when I was very sick and this guy wrote a Glamour article about dating. Or it was about something, but the point is he ended up dating. Only thing I got out of the article was OKCupid.
So I went on the site. First of all, it's completely free. I love it already.When you have to pay to find a person to have a conversation with it just seems...what's the word I'm looking for...dirty. Part of the fun thing about this site is that the tools/help/menu is full of sarcasm. Like when I rate a person's profile too low it says "You're not picky." hee hee hee
Much like eHarmony, OKCupid uses a formula to find you matches. Unlike eHarmony, these questions are actually fun to answer. They're questions about ethics, logic, religion, sex, and personal beliefs. Some are made by the website designers and some by users.

What's that you say, you want an example? Okay, a simple one is, "Do you find glasses on the opposite sex attractive?" Yes, No, No Preference. Then you can put down what the answer you prefer your match to have. Yes, No, No Preference. But another question might be, "How willing are you to try new things in the bedroom?" You can also add comments if you feel the need to explain yourself or to be really funny.

Just a note: You don't have to answer the questions. Or you can choose to skip the ones you prefer not to answer.

The site then sends you "quiver matches" based on the criteria you're looking for in a mate and your answers. But the best part is that you can do your own search on the side and go through people's profiles. Why not? Sometimes the formula won't work. Why? Because it's a series of questions that only have two or three options. The world isn't black and white people. You cannot put together a World Series team with pure science.

Er...You guys have seen "Moneyball," right? No? Because it's really good.

Now, here's the bad side of OKCupid: Although it's "The Fastest-Growing Dating Site" it still only has a few members. Seven million to be exact. And since it's also a social-networking site on the side (which, you can link to your Facebook account) that means that the singles pool gets even shallower. **le sigh**

What I found as an advantage is that it seems that all of the geeks and nerds (aka my soul mates) have flocked to this site. Only a couple of guys that have messaged me have been creeps.

Really? You think "You should get wit me" is going to work? That's not even proper spelling and grammar!

So have I had any luck? Um...Good luck? No. Bad luck? Yes :-(
Which brings me back to why I don't think online dating works as a whole. It's great way to make friends and talk to people and share your beliefs and interests. But I'm a firm believer in physical attraction. Okay, fine, yes, it sounds shallow but it's not. You cannot have a working relationship with a partner without sex, and sex is about physical attraction. Now, if I happen to find a guy that I like on paper AND have physical attraction to... Well now we're talking!!

The best thing I can say for online dating sites is that they open the door to new possibilities. But it doesn't solve the dating dilemma. Which is that we're all cowards and fear rejection :-/

Here are a few tips if any of you should decide to try these or any other dating site:
- Do not put your name or anything private in your profile. doesn't allow this (they make you go through an approval process before you can make your profile public) but OKCupid and PlentyofFish aren't strict. Remember, once you sign up you basically have an e-mail address with the site. So just use that.
- Don't link your social networking account to the site. It just means that people can look at your private information (Facebook uses your real name). Also, I read somewhere that if you "check in" to a place your suitors/stalkers can see you.
- You don't have to answer everyone that e-mails you. They'll get the point. Also, don't expect everyone to answer your e-mails. Get the point ;-)
- Have fun. Whatever you do, don't start your profile with the words "I don't know what to write on here." Really? It says at the top "Tell Us Something About You." I must say that the best profiles are done be writers and sarcastic folk. If you need help just ask a friend. I'm sure something funny has happened to you in your life. Start with that.
- Don't be ashamed. Did you not see the numbers? MILLIONS of people have their profile out there. MILLIONS of people are single in this country alone. Let's stop the madness. So you had to go on the Internet to find a date. Big deal. Some people buy their groceries online. Their clothes too. Adult toys. Why the shame? The internet is part of our lives now, just remember that it's not your WHOLE life. You are a human being who needs human interaction. Use the Internet as one tool of many.

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