Guest Post: An inside look at online dating

January 18, 2016

Did you know started in 1995. eHarmony started in 2000. Tinder in 2012. Betcha didn't think they were around that long? Getting people together since 2000. That should be there new catch phrase. 

I started dating in high school, my first date was when I was 16, so 2003. My class had 89 people in it so most of the guys I went to school with, I'd known since I was 5, but hey - you met a guy and you dated. College was the same story. New class, new group of guys. You go to dinner and boom, you're dating. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who found her husband in law school where the same situation applied. He asked me to dinner and boom - dating. 5 years later- married.

Nowadays, dating takes a whole new form. 200+ questions asked by a computer to find your match. Swipe left, swipe right - is this just a casual dating app? Does my profile picture make me look available or desperate? All I know is props to you ladies and gents pursuing online dating. I know quite a lot of people who have had huge success online dating - married with kids. It's the new reality.

I have the best post for you today. A friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, for full disclosure, is sharing her adventures with online dating. It's such an awesome, hilarious and raw look into life in 2016 and what dating has evolved in to. 

To the gal who wrote this, thank you. I love being able to share the mind of a smart and thoughtful woman. Keep doing what you're doing, I cannot wait until you find Mr. Right, because of all people, you deserve it.

Without further ado: Adventures in Online Dating.

Picture yourself sitting at a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner table. You’re surrounded by loved ones and delicious home cooked food is steaming in front of you. A roaring fire is warming the room just right. You slowly lift a huge spoonful of cheesy mashed potatoes to enter your gullet when you hear a deep sigh and a…”I guess I’ll be too old to help out with your grand-kids with the rate this is going”…glorious food moment is ruined. Um, thanks mom. 

So the time has officially come that you have to seriously think about finding a man. Your other half. The old ball and chain. I’ve successfully dodged the thralls of online dating for a while now. I’m forever thankful my brother decided to get married to his love. They popped out my nephew real quick which seemed to tame the grand-maternal instincts of my traditional Midwestern mother for at least a couple years. Thanks for looking out big bro! 

But *sigh* like most good things, that blissful time has come to an end. In alignment with a majority of single people in their late 20’s I am inundated with the daily reminder that everyone is doing better than me in the realm of tying the knot and spawning genetic clones of themselves.  Which if you think about it is both poetically beautiful and the truest form of narcissism, but I digress. The point is that it’s boyfriend huntin’ season! 

As a disclaimer I live in the city of Los Angeles which is the American capital of shallowness and broken dreams. I promise I’m an optimist! I signed up for 3 different websites:
Tinder: The first is Tinder which is exactly how it sounds; a matchbox of flames that burn out just as quickly as they start. This service is free to download to your Smartphone and utilizes GPS technology to geo-locate hot singles within a certain mile radius of your current location. (I can’t wait to see the news about the first Tinder serial killer who found a way to stalk his victims via this service). This app has a few flaws I’ve noticed right away, the main one being that very little personal information is provided to you, so you’re swiping yes or no on people almost solely based on their physical attractiveness. Thus you’re automatically setting yourself up for failure if you’re like me looking for a deeper connection with someone whose morals and values align with your own. 

Where my Hip Hop loving Christian boy at? 

In addition, the information men do decide to put on their bio seems to be limited to their height for some reason or some cheesy pick up line like “what’s the difference between me and my couch?” I’ll let you figure that one out on your own. I’ve also noticed that so many guys treat this app as some sort of game to inflate their ego and they think it’s absolutely hilarious to post profile photos of wild and crazy situations! I’ve seen pictures that include a man being arrested in a Santa suit, a dude passed out on the bathroom floor with a forty taped to each of his hands, too many rubber horse heads to count, pictures of just their dog, couples soliciting a 3rd to invite to their “late night party” and countless group photos of dude bros that all look eerily similar. I’m sorry, are you trying to blend into a crowd of your hotter friends and then when we meet up in person be all like “Surprise! Out of the 20 guys in my pictures, I’m the ugliest one!”. In this situation we all lose,  John. 

OkCupid: The second website seemed a little more promising to me. OKcupid like Tinder is a free service for females. They prompt you to answer questions about yourself, your lifestyle and worldviews. The bio section is more extensive with room to express what you’re currently doing with your life and what you’re looking for in a man. Things were starting to look good, until I saw the selection. Holy Batphone these boys are fugly! I mean, is this thing broken, hello?! DO NOT hang up on me customer service lady I need answers! I do realize that at this point I may seem like I’ve drank the Los Angeles shallow Kool Aid, but honestly answer me this question: When you roll over in the morning do you want to gaze upon the glorious face of *insert any Hollywood actor with the first name of Chris* or Steve Buschemi?  The point is that you need to have at least some physical attraction to your man or it will never work. Every woman deserves someone she is proud to be with and every man deserves a woman who thinks he’s fantastic (and slightly resembles Chris Pratt…)
One thing that OKcupid brought me that Tinder never delivered on was contact with an actual red blooded male. I got messages. I got more messages…and then more and more and more! My inbox was overflowing with real guys trying to talk to me! I spent time going through each and every one. 

After wading through 30+ messages I finally found a handsome, young guy. He’s an employed writer! He’s funny! He likes Game of Thrones! I started to think things were really happening. We talked a little bit on the site, which led to some direct texting, which led to an agreement to meet up for coffee. 
Let me take a moment here to let eager male online daters in on a secret: coffee is lazy, coffee is cheap, coffee says “you’re not worth talking to longer than a Nora Jones song and the time it takes to awkwardly order a skinny vanilla latte with a near stranger standing behind you not knowing what to do with is hands”.  
I only agreed to coffee because I didn’t want to appear high maintenance. But for the record, I prefer drinks or if you don’t drink alcohol maybe some appetizers because if you recall (to my mother’s horror) I love shoving food into my face. The date went just as well as any first date that takes place in a loud, brightly lit coffee shop is expected to. We got along well and agreed to continue to talk in the future. That night I heard a familiar ding on my phone and was excited to answer the text message that was sure to be my guy saying “I had a great time, let’s do dinner next”. But to my horror I was sidelined with a big, pink…oh. Sweet. BABY JESUS. Yes, I was dick pic’ed. He seemed so nice too. Frustrated and confused I deleted the app and refused to talk to him again. It seems like being a modern woman these days involves being a freak (while also remaining a virgin) and the silent acceptance of virtual eye assault. Strike two.

eHarmony: Which brings me to my last dating website I tried; eHarmony. This particular website is a Christian based site created by of all people a theological educated psychologist and an alumni of my University. The whole point of this website is to get a sense a who you are and then match you with individuals who’s values align with your own. I filled out an extensive survey that asked me questions from “does it bother you if your partner smokes occasionally?” to “what denominations of Christianity are you willing to date?”. The questionnaire took me roughly an hour to complete and I felt like the algorithm captured the essence of what I was looking for. I immediately regretted how much emphasis I put on religion. A majority of the guys I matched with mentioned Christ no less than 32 times in their profile. Listen, Jesus is my homeboy, but I’m not trying to hang out with him as he tries to follow me into the bathroom stall or braid my hair when kissing my boo.

I ended up getting a message from an older gentleman in his 50’s who offered to “take care of me” which I’m pretty sure is older man speak for “make me his sugar baby”. I told him as politely as possible that he looked like my father and yes we have a great relationship so I will not be needing his services. He responded with the longest multi paragraph message I had seen ever seen flaunting his cancer research, non-profit education system for third world children, and various accolades in his profession. I wasn’t sure at that point if he was trying to date me or obtain a financial grant to continue his oncology research. This experience opened my eyes to a couple things. First, grown men who look like my father actually think a 20 something girl is a viable dating partner and Second, the thirst is real! I had to block him just to stop the constant barrage of messages. Strike three.
When I first set out to share my experiences with you I was starting to believe that maybe online dating wasn’t for me. But then something crazy happened.  A handsome man messaged me on eHarmony. His profile was so refreshingly real and pleasant. All our worldviews  and interests were in agreement  and after messaging for 2 weeks I felt comfortable enough to meet up with him. We’ve gone on 3 dates thus far and they all flowed comfortably intermingled with easy laughs and mutual teasing.  The first date - Natural history museum and then dinner and drinks (he paid for dinner and drinks). The second - dinner and a movie (he paid). The third - Game of Thrones mini marathon. Basically I have no idea where this is going or if he’ll become my serious boyfriend, but that’s the whole point of dating. You’re there to open yourself up, meet new people, and find out what’s right for you specifically. If you just relax and be completely honest with yourself, you might just end up with a permanent fixture at your family’s next Thanksgiving meal (and a mother that might just stop nagging you to find somebody. Can. I. Live?)
Bonus Pro Tips:
  1. Offering to take her out to dinner and paying for the whole thing is the quickest and easiest way to endear a lady you are trying to woo.  I don’t know a single girl who doesn’t appreciate this simple gesture. The key is to not hesitate when the bill comes, it makes it awkward and we ALWAYS notice. Now I know a lot of guys will start huffing and puffing at this point about wasting his time and money on girls just looking for a free meal. I would like to point out that dating is an investment and just like the real life stock market, sometimes you get a nice return and, sometimes you lose out. The point is that you are showing that you are willing to invest in her and that is such a grown ass man thing to do. If you’re absolutely not feeling her by mid-meal, simply offer to split the bill and she will gladly oblige then never call you again! Such an easy way to let her go gently!
  2. Never put specific location identifying information online and always insist on meeting up with your date the first few times. The last thing you want is for him to be a creep and now he knows where you live. (Girls, Kristen coming in - please listen to this! I watch wayyy to much Law & Order - do not give personal identifying info, okay preach over)
  3. Don’t feel obligated to respond to every single message, even with a polite let down. Not only is it exhausting but it will frustrate you as you quickly discover how many frogs you have to wade through before you find your potential prince. If you are not attracted to him at all, or if he’s into open relationships and that’s a deal breaker for you, don’t waste your time. It’s about quality not quantity with choosing who you spend your time with
  4. Have fun! I know, online dating can suck, but maintaining a positive outlook is integral to the process. Try to think of the experience as getting to know a potential friend and if it doesn’t work out with that person, it wasn’t meant to be.
Alright you single ladies and gents out there - take these tips and get out there! Have any of your tried online dating? Any good/bad or ugly stories to share?
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  1. wow, it's been awhile since I dated. I'm not sure what I would do if I found myself newly single.

  2. This is my life. Your friend nailed it. The dating world and all these apps are pretty crappy, but staying positive is definitely the way to get through! I've had the same types of dates and experiences, but one day that winner will come along!

    Penn&Quill || Robin

  3. Haha - loved this post! I have never done online dating so I loved the inside peek. Thank your friend for sharing - I love her writing style. :)

  4. I loved your honesty in this post and hearing about your adventures. In 2013, Jason and I attended FOUR weddings where the couples met online: Match, eHarmony, JDates, and Shaadi (for Indians). All four couples were awesome and just needed an avenue for meeting new people beyond bars and co-workers. I definitely don't think dating online has the same negative stigma it had ten years ago. Keep on keeping on! xoxo

  5. Absolutely love this post!! I too am online dating and in LA as well! Very interesting city for dating that's for sure. Great tips!!

  6. This was wonderfully written! I hate online dating, yet I keep coming back to it because-how do you meet people now days that you don't just work with? You really don't...

  7. I agree, online dating is typically a lot of bad with some good mixed in! I had a lot of crazy experiences, but I actually ended up meeting my husband on Tinder! I never dreamed that would happen.. but… you just never know :) We actually shared about our experience on the blog a few weeks ago!
    Your friend's take is pretty hilarious!

  8. Really great post and it's written very easy! But online dating is rather useful nowadays because many people don't have a time to look for a lover somewhere, that's why it's very comfortable sitting at home meet other people) I was interested in it after reading . Read it too, it can change your view!) Good luck!)

  9. Nice ideas, i am thinking in similar way. The most common problem nowadays - lack of time. That's why i am using and other dating sites. It's good way to find partners or even husband.

  10. Thanks for interesting services! Especially I like eHarmony. Now I have to write my essay, but later I'll register there.

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I love hearing from all of you and greatly appreciate all your feedback and comments! xx Kristen