A while back BBC Breakfast (which is the only real choice for early morning TV viewing) did a piece on how internet dating is a booming industry and that the public perception of it has changed and its now an acceptable and legitimate way of people connecting with each other.
Yet the other day I was filling in a survey and one of the questions was “Who have you told that you’re using internet dating?” to which I selected “noone” because there was no option for “I’m not telling anyone due to embarrassment but I will then blog about it, thus letting anyone who wants to know I am”.
Now the reason I joined up is that it would be kind of nice to meet someone and due to work and money I’m not hitting Swansea as often as I’d like. Also trying to chat people up while drunk has never exactly gone brilliantly for me, due to the fact I have to stumble along a drunk tightrope- Drunk enough to have the confidence to just go up to a girl but not so drunk I turn into a twat/letch. Its a 3 drink zone, but as my judgement is already compromised due to booze I tend to drink right on through into the twat zone.
While I’d quite like to meet someone I just want to clarify that I’m not going all Bridget Jones and spending my evenings listening to sad songs and crying, picturing myself dying alone.
So, I decided to take a chance. The problem is, I’m not sure I think internet dating is acceptable, I mean eHarmony can point out they’re responsible for 2% of US marriages or whatever, and Match can flood our screens with irritatingly quirky campaigns like the one which gives this post its title, but do those couples tell everyone that’s how they met?
If someone told you they’d met their boy/girlfriend or spouse online you’d pass a silent judgement on them, wouldn’t you? There’s still that idea that internet is for sad bastards like myself, the socially awkward, the ugly and the desperate.
Course, I haven’t mentioned any of this on my profile.
I’ve actually been on some dating sites for a couple of years in a non-paying capacity. The reason for this was a friend had signed up and out of curiosity I decided to sign up and see what she’d said on her profile. I then left the membership go on, occasionally clicking through to the millions of e-mails I recieved when I had time to kill or was in a daydreaming mood, usually after watching You’ve Got Mail and deluding myself I may luck out and snag a Meg Ryan.
So why sign up now?
Well, I’m trying to be more proactive in lots of things (travel, work, weightloss) and I figured why not take this approach to dating. It wasn’t a particularly well thought out idea, I just found a site, signed up and joined for a month. I’d give it a whirl for 30 days and then quit. If you don’t ask you don’t get right?
Also, I did kind of think it’d make a good blog post, but that’s not really working out is it?
The site I joined (and no I’m not revealing which one it is) has a related “naughty” site which is geared for more casual dating, i.e. sex. There was an offer so I joined that one too, just to see what happened.
But I’m skipping ahead. I filled in my profile added a photo (more on that later) and got searching.
I did a local search and found a few girls who looked interesting and sent a quick message as well as an icebreaker (which is sent to everyone). I wasn’t overly confident, I figured I might get looked at a few times, they’d make a sarky comment to themselves and move on, but I’d been doing the same, I mean, that’s a large part of dating in general. You see it in bars, guys making comments about girls who’d never give them the time of day anyway and girls thinking they can do better than what’s on offer.
The way we see and think of ourselves is not the way others do. I learnt that from my man Gok.
I got a few messages and while a few were polite declines, luckily everyone seems polite or at least follows the “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” theory, I feared recieving a “Fuck off, fat man!” but so far there have been none.
But I did get a few good responses including from a girl, J, who seems nice enough and while living a fair ways away (curse you laziness for not pushing me on with the driving lessons!) wasn’t completely unfeasible. We chatted, exchanged numbers and I’ll have to see if it goes anywhere.
I’ll update if anything else happens but here are a few of my observations from my first fortnight on the site:
1. There is far too much use of the euphemism “bubbly” which we all know means “fuller figured”. Now I got no beef with that, if I did it’d be extremely hypocritical, and I actually like a girl with some curves, but come on, is bubbly the best you can do? You may as well have used “jolly”. Go for voluptuous, it just sounds sexier.
2. Funniest thing I’ve seen so far? The profile on the “naughty” site who’s status was: “Sorry to who I’ve been with on here but I have hep C”. Like they used to say on Hill Street Blues– “Be careful out there.”
3. Also on the “naughty” site kudos to the lady who listed “well endowed” twice in what she was looking for. You’ve just intimidated pretty much every guy reading that.
4. Everyone seems to list their strong characteristics, which is fair enough, I didn’t start mine with “frequent masterbator and comic book reader (occasionally at the same time)” but some go on for so long you just think, if you’re so amazing how are you still single?
5. “Age and looks not important” ah, desperation, the sourest of all aromas.
1. Invisible Women
There’s no excuse for not having a photo on your profile. So you’re self conscious, who isn’t? Noone will reply if you just have a blank square, because they’ll see it and assume the worst, that you look like Sloth from The Goonies.
If I’ve learnt anything from How To Look Good Naked its that lots of women are overly critical of their appearances. So look for the best picture you can and use that, or ask a mate which picture makes you look best. Even a bad picture is better than no picture.
We’re all realistic, guys know we’re not going to find a Megan Fox on a dating site just as you know you won’t find George Clooney. So be honest, it’ll work out better that way.
And if I can put up a picture, noone else has an excuse.
2. The Bully Effect
So you’ve put up lots of pictures, that’s a good thing. But in one of them you seem to be standing next to a goddess, oh its your friend? Well done you’ve just done used the Bully Effect, where you’ve provided your would-be-suitors with a “here’s what you could have won” moment. If you hve to include a friend make sure you do a Stefani and pick someone who makes you look better.
3. The Kids Aren’t Alright
Looking for a partner? Don’t put your kid in the picture, unless you’re angling for a threeway with Gary Glitter. Seriously, it gives you a chance to say if you have kids, there’s no need to show them in your profile.
4. Shouldn’t You Be Wearing A Hood?
If you specify age that’s fair enough, but saying which race you want to be with? It just seems a tad racist, especially as its always the same as their race. If you opt for anything other than “Its not important” there’s something wrong. I don’t know where this idea of keeping the bloodline pure came from but it seems far too common for the 21st century.
5. OMG u writ LIKE a idIot lolz
Text abbreviations have a place. In texts. At a push in tweets or in an instant messenger situation. If however you use it excessively in your profile you may as well just write “I’m thick” over and over. Same goes for basic spelling mistakes (what are the odds that I’ve missed a few typos in this and made myself look like a duns by bringing it up here).
Online dating, Gok Wan, Bridget Jones, You’ve Got Mail? This may be the girliest I’ve ever written.
Anyone else out there tried internet dating? Tips, stories? You know what to do. LLAP