Monday, December 2, 2013

The truth of online dating

A fellow friend blogger once asked: why not blog about your dating life and online dating? (or lack of really)

First of all this blog is meant for me to look upon 3, 7, 10, 15 years later, laugh, and say what a silly/profound person to be worried/thinking about these topics. Second of all if I do post about my online dating adventures (or lack of) I am sure it will make me sad/angry/disappointed later when I read them. Why? Because online dating is not easy and is quite easily one the the creepiest things I've ever done.

Sure those Match.com commercials make it look so easy: two relatively normal and even good looking people in their indistinguishable 20s meeting for their "first time." Not only do they speak and write decent English but the communication does not entail a sexual proposition and/or inappropriate pictures and/or specifications of physical endowments. When do they meet they actually have great conversations (or pretend to), laugh with nice white teeth and delightful eye crinkles (or pretend to), and have a good time (or pretend to). Simple!, easy!, anyone can do it!

eHarmony is even better! It takes all the questions and headaches out of dating by pairing you with someone who is "truly compatible" with you. What they neglect to mention is that:
- You'll have to write a mandatory bajillion word autobiography to even join. Trust me, I am just as egotistical as everyone else and love to talk about myself but at some point I was getting carpal tunnel.
- After filling all these forms they then proceed to give you 5-8 matches a date based on your criteria, which you widen to increase your chance. (But I really just want strawberry ice cream!!! Must I open myself up to mint chocolate chip (which tastes like toothpaste!)?)
- Then you wait and go through this massive multi-step program of communication: you send them 5 multiple choice question, they answer and send it back, you send 10 must have and deal breakers, they answer and send it back, you send open ended questions, they answer and send it back, you send an ACTUAL EMAIL!!! (huzzah!), they suddenly drop off and you go "What the heck!!!!??!?! I just wrote my 2nd bajillion word autobiography ever and you drop out??!?!" I thought this site is for people who are "seriously seeking!"

One would think that paid online dating mediums are better due to the increase barriers to entry (actually paying a membership fee) will lead less to the tragedy of commons (previously used to referred to overgrazing of public land by sheep since it was free to everyone in the village). Additionally you think that people who are paying actually want to meet someone to "be with"* (as defined by 'dating for longer term potential') but no! With all these flaky people dropping off I would have to assume

1- we are not in a economic depression and people have money to throw around OR
2- the online dating medium allows for the classic "so many fishes in the sea!" syndrome where men are having a mind boggling amount of women of all size, shape, and wants out there! It's like a kid at a freecandy shop: why settle for one when you can have all of them! (and then proceed to get a stomache ache or STD in this case.)

Talking about the free online dating sites (okcupid, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and the like): yes they are super sketchy because no one pays for them. However if one wants sexual propositions, go for it! Perhaps one step above craigslist killer-esque.

Yet my friends and I still persist. Why? I think because deep down we still wear rose-colored glasses and believe all this work is worth it in the end. Thank to all our witty cynicism, shared mortification, and great storytelling we have built a proverbial thick skin, a grateful attitude for all the amazing people we do have in our lives, and a newfound appreciation/confidence of who we are and what we have to offer. If this is a test to find someone to share our lives (or learning how to avoid potential creeps and serial killers) then we will be acing it because along the way we are learning to what we want, what we don't want, how we want to be treated and love, how we should treat and love others, and at the end of the day what makes us better and more joyful beings.

For all the single ladies out there using online dating:
+ I wish you all the best of luck finding that person to share your life with.
+ Always be: safe, slightly wary, confident and smart, and yourself.
+ When you find that person then take that jump!

That being said, my Black Friday gift to self was a 6 month subscription to match.com.