Online Dating Round-up

Erin and Kevin's Wedding

I have (albeit briefly) joined the 21st century and tried online dating. For 6 months, I put some effort into selecting some “good” profile pictures, writing and rewriting my profile blurbs, messaging potential matches, and going on a couple dates. There was some positive reinforcement from friends who have done it before, but this may not be the right time for me. Before we get into that, I wanted to highlight some of the observations I had throughout this time (I don’t think in latin, but thought it would add some class to the blog):

Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)

Profile pictures may not necessarily align with what people look like in real life. I understand it is important to pick photos of you that look good, but ones where you have changed your hair, lost/gained weight, or misrepresent your personality don’t help this whole process. unfortunately you would have likely already committed an hour of your time in order to find out if the other person looks/acts/seems like you expect them to. A common complaint I saw was that girls’ profiles would say something like “guys, don’t say you’re 6′ when you’re really 5’7″” – I guess it’s a common thing for guys to lie about.

Prima Facie (at first look)

online dating presents an interesting problem where your profile serves as a filter for who messages you. the combination of profile pictures, profile content, and “what you’re looking for” is really the only thing a potential suitor can use to gauge if you are worth the time to message. Being visual creatures, I think we are drawn to the profile pictures first, to see if you find the other person attractive. we are easy to dismiss the people we find more normal or less attractive because of the potential plethora of profiles you haven’t seen yet. I think this is one big difference with meeting people online and in person. in person, you are really only going to meet so many people in a given amount of time – even if you’re in a busy bar. you may meet friends of friends who you may not give the time of day if you saw their online profile – but because they are standing in front of you as a real person, you’re more likely to talk with them (and also them to you). It is still weird for me to think about how if you’re more attractive, you may not even consider someone less attractive when looking online – but in real life you’d likely be more open to conversation.

Quid Pro Quo (this for that)

Does not exist in real-life dating, does not exist in online dating. unless you’re trolling the personals section of the classifieds.

Persona Non Grata (unwelcomed person)

If you’re a girl looking for an ego boost, get an online dating account – from what I gather, you will get bombarded with messages. although most will not be ones you care for, you’ll still get a lot of attention. the best part is that you have no expectation to respond – guys tend to throw the biggest net possible (ie message as many potential profiles) in order to try to elicit responses. Estimates I heard were in the range of 5%, which is about consistent with my message:response percentage. this creates a rift where the pursuer is mostly looking for any response whatsoever and the pursuee pretty much cherry picks, ignoring otherwise normal messages from people who could actually be a decent match. this is kind of a problem of time, too – someone simply cannot respond to an abundance of messages.

In Vino Veritas (in wine, there is truth)

I’m not advocating everyone get drunk when you meet someone, but I’m pretty sure first dates go better if there is alcohol involved. I think people loosen up faster and become more genuine (up to a certain point of inebriation). you’ll learn really quick about their tastes and ability to hold/control their alcohol intake. meeting somewhere that serves alcohol could highlight some red flags you may not have otherwise known existed until much later in the courtship.

Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)

These online slick-talkers are probably the bane of online dating sites, using them as a cattle call for getting what they want. these can be the guys who leave people with stories of one-night stands and drunken mistakes. they can also be the girls who want to just get a free meal that week (yes, guys are keenly aware of this scam). These are the ones who have no genuine interest in you, but may be more interested in the venue (like, restaurant?), the activity, or just not being alone that day/night.

ad astra per aspera or per ardua ad astra (a rough road leads to the stars)

I’m not sure how this post will read, but in reality, I have a lot of confidence in online dating. I have a handful of friends who met their SOs through online sites, and they seem to have made pretty good choices. now that the stigma of online dating is getting more and more widely accepted, it is not uncommon for people to be upfront with their “how we met” story. I’ve since closed my online dating account and will have to keep meeting people the old fashioned way.

The online dating was a good experience, I think, but it was a bit more time consuming than I originally thought it would. a lot of this time is spent rewriting or editing my profile, or going through the matches to find someone to message. I never used “copy/paste” messages, and tried to really pick out something I found interesting in that person’s profile to talk about. it was kind of rocky at the beginning, but then I caught on quick and found a tone that was comfortable for me to write. I found I was settling into some of the bad habits that are associated with online dating:

  • The “other fish in the sea” can be tempting if you don’t find your ideal match, leading you to message people more attractive or more interesting
  • There is probably a higher chance of you passing up what could be a great opportunity, but maybe you didn’t find them attractive enough
  • We are complex people, but we’re also kind of lazy.  So profiles that read like the transcript to the A&E Biography show will get passed up because they’re too long.

I began messaging more, caring less about content. I still wrote unique messages and read each profile, but it seemed like a slippery slope towards the copy/paste method. I found I had edited my profile ad nauseam, only to still not be happy with how it turned out. I found myself checking on my phone if I had gotten any messages or who the latest matches were. It was another form of social networking I wasn’t really prepared to undertake. ultimately, I found the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze – not right now at least.

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