On internet dating
October 22, 2012 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Internet dating destroyed my sense of myself as someone I both know and understand and can also put into words. It had a similarly harmful effect on my sense that other people can accurately know and describe themselves. It left me irritated with the whole field of psychology. I began responding only to people with very short profiles, then began forgoing the profiles altogether...Internet dating alerted me to the fact that our notions of human behaviour and achievement, expressed in the agglomerative text of hundreds of internet dating profiles, are all much the same and therefore boring and not a good way to attract other people.

via
posted by latkes (136 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
"a 2008 poll found 48 per cent of American adults were single, compared to 28 per cent in 1960"

Now that is *fascinating*.
posted by jaduncan at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wanted to hate this article, but am only halfway through it when I found this gem:

I went to a lecture by the novelist Ned Beauman who compared the OK Cupid experience to Carl Sagan pondering the limits of our ability even to imagine non-carbon-based extraterrestrial life, let alone perceive when it was beaming signals to us. We troll on OK Cupid for what we think we want, but what if we are incapable of seeing the signals being sent to us, let alone interpreting them?

Perfectly said!
posted by sbutler at 5:16 PM on October 22, 2012 [31 favorites]


Single in that context probably means "not married", as opposed to "not seeing anyone and sits at home alone on Saturday nights talking to her cat and contemplating the barren, arid wasteland that is her life".

Not that I'm projecting or anything.
posted by orange swan at 5:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [43 favorites]


I found her problem!

I wanted a boyfriend. I was also badly hung up on someone and wanted to stop thinking about him.

What the world needs is not a new dating service but a solution to this all-to-common problem.
posted by bukvich at 5:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


"not seeing anyone and sits at home alone on Saturday nights talking to her cat and contemplating the barren, arid wasteland that is her life".

"It's complicated."
posted by jaduncan at 5:19 PM on October 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I waited to be approached.

Ah yes, the non-move move.

I’ve never broadcast an OK Cupid chat signal, I just respond.

Plus ça change...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:23 PM on October 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Interesting article. The author seems to have a love-hate relationship with online dating, based primarily on her experience with OKCupid. To each his/her own, I guess. Over ten years ago, I found online dating a great way to meet people. I had some terrific experiences and some not so great ones; none of them were experiences I would have had without the help of the online services. For me, online dating helped strengthen my sense of self and my self-confidence, as I learned who and what I liked and didn't like and gained comfort with dating and relationships. In the end, Match.com helped me find my wife (or, more accurately, helped her find me); we're both grateful. So, as I said, to each his/her own.
posted by maxim0512 at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


not seeing anyone and sits at home alone on Saturday nights talking to her cat and contemplating the barren, arid wasteland that is her life

At least she has a cat.
posted by hellojed at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


hellojed: "not seeing anyone and sits at home alone on Saturday nights talking to her cat and contemplating the barren, arid wasteland that is her life

At least she has a cat.
"

;_;
posted by symbioid at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


You just know its judging her.
posted by Artw at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


;_;

Two men carrying a piece of plywood?
posted by goethean at 5:31 PM on October 22, 2012 [60 favorites]


I had to puzzle over a couple lines at the end. But I think this whole article boils down to that the author places a high value on that initial spark, some sort of undefinable "chemistry" that immediately exists between two people.

That's fine, but it's no wonder the online dating scene isn't working for her.

I view the whole thing as just another avenue available in the ever expanding world of human relationships. Some people still follow courtship rituals. Some people prefer arranged marriages. And some people are going to love online dating.
posted by sbutler at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two men carrying a piece of plywood?

They were, but then you italicized it, forcing the poor guys to run.
posted by anonymisc at 5:33 PM on October 22, 2012 [94 favorites]


I wish she'd read and comment on the A(n)nals of Online Dating. I feel bad that, as a people, we haven't been able to convince people to be better people.


At least she has a cat.


I sadly have to agree. I'm extremely allergic to cats and would love to have a cat, even a grumpy one who begrudgingly tolerated me since I'd keep him in cat food and fresh water and clean litter.
posted by discopolo at 5:35 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


She seems very well spoken and can think well about the world and herself.

So I'm puzzled about all the passivity she talks about when it comes to her interest in meeting people. She sits in a bar and waits to be approached. She never puts out initiative online but waits for things to come to her. She begs out of a home-cooked meal at the last minute and seems shocked that the other person might be upset that he invested time and effort and money in the dinner she just backed out of.

I don't know. There is just something about the way she writes which sets off alarm bells I really can't even fully articulate. She certainly seems to sit in judgement of people regularly. Perhaps it's just the way she chooses to write about them, but surely that is springing from something deeper.

I wish her nothing but the best in her search, but I'm not sure she will ever find contentment unless she makes some adjustments, both to her approach and her attitude.
posted by hippybear at 5:38 PM on October 22, 2012 [31 favorites]


I guess I understand feeling demoralized after a long period of internet dating, but, although it's been a while, I met a couple of really nice women through internet dating (in a much smaller market than NYC), and I dated them for like 9 months apiece. I think I had more relationships than aborted dating experiences from internet dating.
posted by OmieWise at 5:38 PM on October 22, 2012


Every time one of these online dating posts come up I realize just lucky I am that I've been happily married 21 years. Really, I don't know how you people do it. My hat is off to you, I don't think I could hack dating today.
posted by COD at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2012


That said, I did have a sense that there was a real problem of too much choice lurking just under the surface of the whole thing. I'm not trying to minimize her frustration, it just seems different than my experience.
posted by OmieWise at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2012


I'd be very much suprised if some form of online dating didn't exist in 1992, if only in the form of singles posts on BBSs.
posted by Artw at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2012


(high-fives self for meeting and marrying pre-intarwebs)
posted by mwhybark at 5:41 PM on October 22, 2012


Online datings now so old I know people who have married, had kids and divorced off of it. Hmm, maybe that last bit is not so good.
posted by Artw at 5:42 PM on October 22, 2012


I remember commercials for the party line phone numbers where you could "meet hot singles," if you didn't mind paying $2.99 per minute for the privilege. I guess that would be the pre-Internet analogy. I did the BBS thing, but at least on the BBS's that I hung out on, there weren't enough girls around to have a dating scene.
posted by COD at 5:43 PM on October 22, 2012


I find online dating painful and embarassing but I'm on the old end of the spectrum- for OKC anyway. I'm glad to see the author shares my views a bit even though she most certainly received more responses than I do/did. It's very sobering to assume you are sort of unwanted and then to have it more or less confirmed by cyber-space strangers! Or maybe that's too depressing. I like pastries and nature too.
posted by bquarters at 5:44 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'm taken aback at how similar her experience was to mine. And I mean... we joined OKC at the same time, same age, for the same depressing reason outlined above. In hindsight, it seems the guy I ended up dating for several months was also on OKC for the same reason. That's why I hate advice to rebound, date lots after romantic disappointment. It's hard to sustain a relationship when both people are in love/hung up on someone else.

My best friend just told me she's considering OKC. I named all of her friends that have been burned by online dating. I don't care what 99% of people do, but my best friend gets my gut reaction: stay away from OKC. It's incredibly artificial. I loved the author's line about wanting to fuck someone before knowing their favorite books. But I'm an old-fashioned gal.

I had to try it, but it was sad and forced. Never again.
posted by peacrow at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


There isn't really a good alternative for the modern lifestyle as far as I can tell. If someone is sitting there like the author and expecting internat dating to do something for her, she is bound to fail. Like every other activity, you get out, what you put in. If you think this format is sad and forced, what alternative do you think is not?
posted by sfts2 at 6:04 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


At least she has a cat.

At least you have a wasteland. I spend my Saturday nights at home alone contemplating the barren, arid void which lacks even a cat to disdain me. On the other hand, there are Herzog documentaries.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:04 PM on October 22, 2012 [30 favorites]


Why do smart people always expect the world to operate according to reason-based principles
And then get sand in their bachinas every time it doesn't?
posted by spicynuts at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I look into the profile pic's eyes, and I see nothing.
posted by Artw at 6:07 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or, what sfts2 said
posted by spicynuts at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2012


Stop looking at Meatbomb.
posted by Nomyte at 6:11 PM on October 22, 2012


Werner Herzog moved a boat over a mountain. I do not think the existential ennui of the dating world holds any terrors for him.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


At least she has a cat.

At least you have a wasteland. I spend my Saturday nights at home alone contemplating the barren, arid void which lacks even a cat to disdain me. On the other hand, there are Herzog documentaries.


Yeah, well, my cat's deaf.
posted by orange swan at 6:14 PM on October 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


If you think this format is sad and forced, what alternative do you think is not?
Are you saying that all relationships pre-internet dating or formed "IRL" are somehow also sad and forced? Because they are not, at least not in my experience.

I'm gonna go with "dating friends, dating friends of friends, dating people from work/school/church/social club, dating people you meet anywhere online but a dating site, etc., etc., etc."
posted by peacrow at 6:16 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two men carrying a piece of plywood?

Those are the EMTs carrying her corpse out of the garden apartment, after she died alone and the cat ate her face
posted by pullayup at 6:17 PM on October 22, 2012 [38 favorites]


Yeah, well, my cat's deaf.

Your cat cannot hear Herzog narrate his films? You cat cannot even hear a fake Herzog and a fake Björk go speed-dating? That is truly tragic.
posted by maudlin at 6:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


the cat ate her face
No, just her eyes, while they were still warm.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


At least the cat had something to eat.
posted by martinrebas at 6:19 PM on October 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well, at least this is presented mostly as "it didn't work for me". People all too often like to generalize about the "best" way to do dating, when in reality it's going to be different for everyone.

The quality of dates I've had from OKC is pretty high, and I'm a big fan of the site, but I think it depends on who you are, what you are looking for, and what everyone around you is looking for. Some permutations of that work out really well for what they do, but not all. The idea of sitting around a bar to meet people (as the author apparently prefers) sounds horrible to me, but obviously it works for some.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:24 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


After drinking his tea, he went to the bathroom, came back and wordlessly put on his coat. I stood up and did the same.

I think if this ever happened to me I would quit dating forever...
posted by Strass at 6:27 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've tried online dating... OKC, PoF... the free services because, well, I am a cheap bastard.

The only thing that it did for me was accelerate my rate of rejection, and destroyed what little self esteem I had left.

Sooo...

I have recently come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, there is not someone out there for everyone. Really. It's a damn dirty lie that keeps getting passed around, back and forth. It's okay. Some of use are simply going to be alone due to a mixture of circumstances.

I think modern, computerized societies would be far better off if we stressed the notion that people must first be comfortable with who they are. Be capable of standing alone, in the emotional sense, and be capable of working with others in a social stability sense. What it means to be human is changing due to ubiquitous technology... it's a new blanket that we drape ourselves in. It isn't necessarily for the better... but it's a state that is currently present. If you find someone... great! If you don't find someone... again, great!

It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things , anyway. Sol goes nova in ~4 billion SEYs.

So, I will keep having the fun that I clearly know how to have.

I will keep going to rock shows, drinking too much vodka, and relaxing by doing a little shell scripting and playing with various databases.

Yay, Computers!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 6:29 PM on October 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


But you should certainly leave yourself open for that moment when you're at a rock show ordering that one-too-many vodka drink when there's a woman standing next to you, also ordering a vodka drink, and you notice she has a linux-geek tattoo...

Because... well, you never know.
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


(or man... if you aren't into women)
posted by hippybear at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, she does put herself out there, culminating in her "low point", the un-returned wink.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:39 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, anyway. Sol goes nova in ~4 billion SEYs.

Likes: Space travel
Dislikes: Heat death of the universe
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:47 PM on October 22, 2012 [27 favorites]


But you should certainly leave yourself open for that moment when you're at a rock show ordering that one-too-many vodka drink when there's a woman standing next to you, also ordering a vodka drink, and you notice she has a linux-geek tattoo...

Online dating is making us fall short on drunk sex at rock concerts. Mr. President, we cannot allow a drunk sex gap!
posted by Nomyte at 7:23 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, that was depressing. I agree that she seems uniquely closed off from a lot of opportunities and the overall mournful tone of the piece is a little puzzling to me.

Also:
(high-fives self for meeting and marrying pre-intarwebs)

I wish people wouldn't do this in the many threads we've had about online dating, relationships, singleness, loneliness, etc. It's like going into a thread about people unable to afford groceries and crowing over your fat wallet and 401K.
posted by sweetkid at 7:38 PM on October 22, 2012 [29 favorites]


At least she has a book deal.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:47 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like going into a thread about people unable to afford groceries and crowing over your fat wallet and 401K.

I'd say it's more like turning a blind eye to the reality of divorce, as well as the fact that even if you make it to death before parting, one of you will still be single again in this lifetime.
posted by she's not there at 7:51 PM on October 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


o go away
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:51 PM on October 22, 2012


So who's willing to take the "no" position on a bet that the Polish programmer she mentions towards the end is Metafilter's own idlewords?
posted by kenko at 7:52 PM on October 22, 2012


Should have added - and it's OK by me if you prefer to ignore those possibilities.
posted by she's not there at 7:53 PM on October 22, 2012


I've tried online dating... OKC, PoF... the free services because, well, I am a cheap bastard.

What this gets you are dates with people who also don't care enough to spend $20 or $40 a month to meet people. That's a night at a bar, with probably better results.

Here is the problem with internet dating: it's a catalog, and we read more (or less) into what people say about themselves. And then people don't know how to market themselves.
posted by gjc at 7:54 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there a straight equivalent to Grindr or Scruff?

I mean, it's ostensibly for hookups, but there can be a lot more going on than simply the quick fuck.

Seems like, if there isn't, it would be an excellent startup opportunity.
posted by hippybear at 7:56 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


So who's willing to take the "no" position on a bet that the Polish programmer she mentions towards the end is Metafilter's own idlewords?

Isn't he (a) in Romania and (b) in a relationship?
posted by acb at 7:59 PM on October 22, 2012


Is there a straight equivalent to Grindr or Scruff?

Well there's this thing called OKCupid you see
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:00 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there a straight equivalent to Grindr or Scruff?
Craigslist. Not that I know anything about that. Nope, not at all!
posted by smirkette at 8:00 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every day a reminder that you can't be gay without a smartphone.
posted by Nomyte at 8:02 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, OKCupid and Craigslist aren't location-enabled apps which serve up photos and profiles based on who is online at the moment sorted by how far away from you the person is...

But... yeah. There is likely no equivalent.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 PM on October 22, 2012


I'm gay gay gay and don't have a smartphone.

I do have an iPod Touch and a tablet... so maybe what you're saying is that I can only be gay if I'm in a WiFi zone.
posted by hippybear at 8:05 PM on October 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hippybear, my gay friends were on Grindr and Scruff all summer so I'm well acquainted with it (we'd play with it drunk at parties) and there is apparently some sort of equivalent that didn't really catch on. I think part of it might be that women don't really want guys hitting them up and being like "I'm two blocks away" or whatever. What's sort of cute between guys is weird and creepy a bit between men and women. Also it would often be that one guy was at a gay bar with a group of friends hitting up a guy who was near that gay bar with a group of friends, so the whole thing is more intuitive and feels safer.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also:
(high-fives self for meeting and marrying pre-intarwebs)

I wish people wouldn't do this in the many threads we've had about online dating, relationships, singleness, loneliness, etc. It's like going into a thread about people unable to afford groceries and crowing over your fat wallet and 401K.


Or wading into every infertility/miscarriage thread and making jocular comments about WHEW I AM SO GLAD OUR PLUMBING WORKS AND OUR GENES ARE GOOD I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU PEOPLE DO IT
posted by availablelight at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think part of it might be that women don't really want guys hitting them up and being like "I'm two blocks away" or whatever.

cripes yeah I was just skimming your post and immediately was like WELL THAT'S OMINOUS, no thanks
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:11 PM on October 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Isn't he (a) in Romania and (b) in a relationship?

Yeah, now.
posted by kenko at 8:13 PM on October 22, 2012


Actually it says she joined OKC in Nov 2011, so I guess it's pretty unlikely. I lose!
posted by kenko at 8:14 PM on October 22, 2012


For what it's worth, online dating in the US didn't do much for me, but in Mexico, it has been different, because two members of the local PoF decided to form a real-world social group rather than just meet individuals one at a time.

They thought of some interesting group events, and the man invited women from PoF and the woman invited men, both making clear that this was a social group for hanging out and *maybe* meeting someone romantically.

The result is a singles group composed mostly of people who have online profiles, though real-world friends also get invited. All of them have now spent many evenings together and enjoyed day trips to interesting sites. Many friendships and several couples have resulted, and now I have a boyfriend who I had actually rejected online but who I came to appreciate when I spent pleasant, no-pressure time with him and saw how he interacted with the group. It's one way to get around the isolating, artificial aspect of dating sites.
posted by ceiba at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


She's doing it wrong. You don't look for romantic partners on dating sites; you look for several people you find somewhat attractive to go have a coffee with (usually one at a time, but YMMV). Once you meet prospective partners in real life your unconscious lizard brains will decide if your pheromones are mutually compatible and then you date.
Seriously, don't even read the profiles. Just look at the pic and if you don't jump back in shock, send an invitation for coffee.
posted by rocket88 at 8:30 PM on October 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Youth culture killed my dog.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:32 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I had an unusual experience on OKC. I joined in...2007? I was on there a month, just long enough to meet the man I'm marrying. So yeah, results may vary. I quite enjoyed my short period of time on the site.
posted by Windigo at 8:32 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


She's doing it wrong.

You should write her (the profile mentioned in the piece is still there) and let her know that there's one correct way for everyone to use these sites and you know it and she doesn't and here it is.
posted by kenko at 8:33 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I went to a lecture by the novelist Ned Beauman who compared the OK Cupid experience to Carl Sagan pondering ...

The odds of Mr. Spock's parents actually mating? (Or about as likely as a human successfully spawning with a carrot.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:34 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not only were my forays into online dating fruitless, they ultimately made me detest writing all personal emails. To this day, I loathe and procrastinate writing emails, even ones to close personal friends.

What's funny is that, when I was single, I had absolutely no compunction about going up to a girl and talking to her. Being turned down didn't phase me one iota. Online dating, on the other hand, was an epic voyage into the land of insecurity and frustration.

Why the difference? I've pondered this myself. Ultimately what I came up with is this :

1) When you see a profile you like, you know a lot more about that person than you would just spotting them across a room. When you meet someone in person, all you know is "is this person hot or not?" So if they turn you down, no big deal. They were just a pretty face. But you read someone's profile, especially one that really clicks with you, it's really easy to build them up in your mind -- especially if you share a lot of interests or detect the presence of a sense of humor. Now they're no longer just a pretty face. They're "oh my god such a cool person" in addition to being a pretty face. All of a sudden, there's something at stake.

2) You invest your time. Writing all those emails? Agonizing over the perfect response? Trying to wring something conversation-worthy out of even the most bland profile? All of that takes time! Even a 4-email exchange (2 from each party) will usually take about 2 days. Two days! And in that time, you'll probably think about that person a couple times, and maybe continue to build them up in your head if they were someone who really appealed to you. Compare this to the girl who you approach at a party or social event -- she gives you the cold shoulder, you've invested, what, 5 minutes trying to chat her up? Very easy to move on and forget about her.

3) If someone rejects you online, they're not rejecting you, they're rejecting a representation of you. At first glance, you'd think this would make the rejection burn less. But no! Since it's a representation of you, that leaves the representation open to infinite tweaking! Maybe if you just added these lines to your profile ... or this picture ... or that book ... or that band... maybe she would have written back. And that's just the profile! Your representation-you is judged mostly on how that representation writes emails. Maybe she didn't write back because you came off as too enthusiastic.... or maybe you should have used the word "evening" instead of "night"... or maybe you didn't come off as disinterested enough... or maybe that one joke fell flat... or maybe you asked too many questions ... or maybe you didn't ask enough questions ... or maybe she wants to change the topic, which is why she responded to your email but didn't ask any questions of her own ... and why the fuck do people do that anyway!? Online dating emails are a wormhole portal to an alternate universe where everything you do is wrong. Compare that to meeting someone at a party or social event. If they reject you, at least they're rejecting YOU. You showed up, you did what you naturally do, it clearly wasn't a fit, and so you move on.

And I don't want to make it sound like I had no luck at all. I went on many, many, many dates. I'd say a good 60% of the time, "the goods were not as advertised". And sometimes ... ugh ... sometimes ... I don't even want to say this because it's kind of mean, but ... there were even a few occasions where I doubted the person who I met was even the same as the one in the picture. Why do people do this? Fuck if I know.

But most of the dates were just kind of meh. No connection. No interest. No spark. One led to a brief relationship. One led to sex. Quite a few led to a making out that didn't really go anywhere. On the whole, I'd say that dates which resulted from parties or social events were far more likely to lead to relationships or sex.

I dunno, maybe this is just a long way of saying "it didn't work for me". I'm someone who loves to go out and meet people and talk to random strangers. Perhaps someone with a different social persona would be more successful online, or else less successful with meeting someone in person.

Ultimately, I met my girlfriend through an unrepeatable series of coincidences that almost didn't happen. Online dating was not part of the equation. And I'm happy now, happier than I've ever been. I've found the love of my life, and goddamnit, I never thought this level of happiness could exist.

But to this day, I fucking can't stand writing emails.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2012 [31 favorites]


I went on my first and only okc date last week. It went ok until we got into a debate over whether Firefly was too paternalistic. I still maintain there is no way to know because fuck you fox you screwed us by canceling it I hope you burn in hell!,,!,!!,,!!!
posted by Ad hominem at 8:41 PM on October 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


*sigh* I hate being single.

And if y'all are single, I may as well hang it up.
posted by adipocere at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


adipocere, your profile says you live in the Marianas Trench. That's the reason right there. If you moved somewhere trendier that had more socially available people your age, you might have a different opinion.
posted by Nomyte at 8:46 PM on October 22, 2012 [24 favorites]


In the early 1960s, when I was in my early twenties and my youngest uncle was in his early forties, we were both of us bachelors. He was what was called in those years a confirmed bachelor. I had had hardly any dealings with young female persons and I seemed to lack the skills that enabled most other young men of my age to acquire steady girlfriends or even fiancées and wives. Sometimes I would spend every evening for week after week alone, more or less reconciled to my bachelorhood, while I read or tried to write poetry or prose fiction. At other times, I would resolve to change my way of life. i would prepare a detailed plan for approaching some or another young woman at my place of work, even preparing in advance the topics that I would raise in order to promote conversation between her and me. Then, either I would fear to speak to the young woman or I would overhear her talking to a workmate and would decide that she and I surely had no common interests. After each such event, I would suppose that I was by nature intended to live as my youngest uncle lived. I would then try to console myself for having been born to bachelorhood as I suppposed my bachelor-uncle must sometimes have consoled himself.
posted by kenko at 8:48 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


My problem is that I do not really become attracted to people without extended exposure (the rare and inevitably unavailable exception notwithstanding.) So while I've had a bunch of perfectly nice coffee dates, there's just no appeal in going on lots of "dates" with someone that I have no romantic interest in in the hopes that, six months or so down the line, I will decide she's quite fit after all. It's a personal quirk particularly incompatible with internet dating.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:49 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


there were even a few occasions where I doubted the person who I met was the same as the one in the picture.

I recall that Andy Warhol once sent out an imposter to lecture as himself.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:51 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]



> I had to try it, but it was sad and forced. Never again.

Well no shit. The people who dragged you to the keyboard and pounded your resisting fingers against it should be ashamed.

I'm...not young. After my divorce, I partook of the evil on-line dating (tho, to be fair, not OKC). I went on dates with about 35 women. Of them, two were unambiguously horrible people (racist, anti-semites, etc.), 10 were totally not fits and/or misrepresentations, 6 were "I could really consider this person for a long term relationship", and the rest were "really nice folks just not right for me". One I came very close to proposing to. I ended up marrying "none of the above", but not in any way related to the fact that I met other folks on-line. Life is very complicated some times.

I dunno...I'm not exactly the most outgoing person, but it seems like most people for whom online dating doesn't work are people who are obsessed with the idea that if any given online interest doesn't work out it's a personal affront to their careful selection of poseur bullshit responses. Get over yourself. How about do what I did: be yourself, don't bullshit on your dreams and hopes, don't pretend you're something your not. I did that and had no shortage of delightful people who said "I can deal with that".
posted by kjs3 at 8:55 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clearly, we need date.metafilter.com.

(OK, with the wildcard masking, that does resolve to the main page. I mean, we need our own dating site filled with people willing to risk $5 for that perfect post-modern, snarky, hipsteriffic special someone who has also found the greatest strange-yet-literate corner of the Internet.)
posted by andreaazure at 9:01 PM on October 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


Huh -- the straight counterpart to this piece. (prev on MeFi)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:02 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nomyte, but I had to move to Challenger Deep! I'm too deep for everyone.
posted by adipocere at 9:10 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ultimately, I met my girlfriend through an unrepeatable series of coincidences that almost didn't happen.

And someone has their NaNoWriMo subject!
posted by hippybear at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2012


In the months that followed he continued to write, long emails with updates of his life, and I continued not responding until it came to seem as if he was lobbing his sadness into a black hole, where I absorbed it into my own sadness.

Yep, that's a familiar place.

Oh, her by line?- (which oddly appears on my mobile but not my laptop) is "Emily Witt lives in New York. She is working on a book about female sexuality".

yikes! Puts my first quote in a whole 'nother dimension.
posted by Shit Parade at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2012


peacrow

My quote - If you think this format is sad and forced, what alternative do you think is not?


Are you saying that all relationships pre-internet dating or formed "IRL" are somehow also sad and forced? Because they are not, at least not in my experience.

Well, no, somewhat obviously. What is the fundamental difference that makes it sad and forced? Also somewhat obviously, I was asking the poster of the comment, not you.

I'm gonna go with "dating friends, dating friends of friends, dating people from work/school/church/social club, dating people you meet anywhere online but a dating site, etc., etc., etc."


Also somewhat obviously, if these methods were working for her, why would she choose internet dating? Do you really date people from work? How strange. Churchgoer? How quaint. Point is, as I tried to say with my modern life point, that time demands, paranoia, kids from previous relationships, lack of money, work committments all conspire to make dating hard these days, and to my mind, the internet is just another tool. But if you lack the confidence to deal with dating internet or other, certainly you'll be challenged to start a meaningful relationship in any context.
posted by sfts2 at 9:19 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "I do have an iPod Touch and a tablet... so maybe what you're saying is that I can only be gay if I'm in a WiFi zone"

CLICK HERE TO MEET HOT GAY FOR WIFI FIRST TIME TWINKS
posted by idiopath at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2012


Actually, OkCupid's mobile app is definitely one of the "location-enabled apps which serve up photos and profiles based on who is online at the moment sorted by how far away from you the person is" family but this is not really what the site is. It's actually kind of aggressive and I ended up uninstalling it pretty quickly.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:09 PM on October 22, 2012


CLICK HERE TO MEET HOT GAY FOR WIFI FIRST TIME TWINKS

You lost me at twinks.

Seriously, my reputation hasn't preceded me? I must be slacking.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 PM on October 22, 2012


I'd be very much suprised if some form of online dating didn't exist in 1992, if only in the form of singles posts on BBSs.

Online yes, internet not so much, depending on definitions. CompuServe, QuantumLink (AOL), Prodigy all had personals and various social boards, and you could find similar stuff on the larger urban BBSes. USENET had "soc.singles" and the users got together in "boinks". MUDs and similar were often facilitators of relationships. This all being pre-web universality was a non-factor, though, and it was very much a scene dominated by geeks of one stripe or another.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 PM on October 22, 2012


It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, anyway. Sol goes nova in ~4 billion SEYs.

I'm planning to have left the galaxy by then, considering how we're due a collision with Andromeda considerably earlier.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:41 PM on October 22, 2012


@MartinWisse: it's entirely likely that the solar system will survive the collision with the Andromeda galaxy. The stars involved are just way, way, way too far apart. Collisions or near misses will be very unlikely.

Of course, due to the fact that the solar output is increasing, Earth will be too hot to support liquid water in ~1.4 billion years. So we're still all screwed!
posted by sbutler at 11:49 PM on October 22, 2012


There is likely no equivalent.

Your business plan would have to include getting sued/shutdown over prostitution charges.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:10 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you should certainly leave yourself open for that moment when you're at a rock show ordering that one-too-many vodka drink when there's a woman standing next to you, also ordering a vodka drink, and you notice she has a linux-geek tattoo...

Because... well, you never know.


Indeed, you never know. In my case, the last time this scenario happened, I missed the rest of the show because we were having an intense yell into each others' ears conversation, which turned into sloppy dancefloor make-out session, and her scrawling her email address on my arm before stumbling off into the crowd.

Took a week for my email to be replied to, at which point I found out she had no memory of the entire night and was pretty sure she'd been roofied (she woke up home alone, fully clothed, luckily). But yeah, I don't really blame her for not wanting to meet me, the stranger on the other end of the email. I'm also really glad she didn't invite me back to her place, cause I surely would have gone, and who knows whether I would have been accused the next day.
posted by mannequito at 1:15 AM on October 23, 2012


Took a week for my email to be replied to, at which point I found out she had no memory of the entire night and was pretty sure she'd been roofied

She could have just lied to ya also.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:27 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


obviously, although writing a four or five paragraph email is a lot more work than just not responding.
posted by mannequito at 1:31 AM on October 23, 2012


At least she has a cat.

At least you have a wasteland. I spend my Saturday nights at home alone contemplating the barren, arid void which lacks even a cat to disdain me. On the other hand, there are Herzog documentaries.


This might help.
posted by biffa at 1:43 AM on October 23, 2012


I went to a lecture by the novelist Ned Beauman who compared the OK Cupid experience to Carl Sagan pondering the limits of our ability even to imagine non-carbon-based extraterrestrial life, let alone perceive when it was beaming signals to us. We troll on OK Cupid for what we think we want, but what if we are incapable of seeing the signals being sent to us, let alone interpreting them?

"And then when he turned up to the date, he was made of meat!"
"Meat?!"
"Yeah, meat! Imagine going on a date with meat!"
"God, how embarrassing. How did it even send you an email?"
"I guess it flailed its meaty appendages at the keyboard or something."
"Gross. Sorry it turned out so badly."
"Oh it's fine, I've got a date lined up next Thursday with a smoking hot sentient plasma cloud, anyway".
"Sweet."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:10 AM on October 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hippybear, my gay friends were on Grindr and Scruff all summer so I'm well acquainted with it (we'd play with it drunk at parties) and there is apparently some sort of equivalent that didn't really catch on. I think part of it might be that women don't really want guys hitting them up and being like "I'm two blocks away" or whatever. What's sort of cute between guys is weird and creepy a bit between men and women. Also it would often be that one guy was at a gay bar with a group of friends hitting up a guy who was near that gay bar with a group of friends, so the whole thing is more intuitive and feels safer.

Girls Around Me, [previously on MeFi]

This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy

Girls Around Me: An App Takes Creepy to a New Level

Girls Around Me App Voluntarily Pulled After Privacy Backlash

‘Girls Around Me’ Developer Defends App After Foursquare Dismissal

Although, to be fair, Girls Around Me was (is?) intended for men looking to find women around them (and originally worked without the women necessarily knowing their positional data was being used that way). To be a real hetero equivalent of Grindr etc. it would have to aim at women looking for men as well, which it now at least pretends to be doing....
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:16 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have recently come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, there is not someone out there for everyone
I think this is true, but I think you can break that category of people "without someone out there" into various sub-categories

1. People who are happier single than in any relationship.

2. People who could find someone to be happier-than-single with, but won't because of unrealistic expectations, or unwillingness to go through the long and painful search process.

3. People who would be happier in a relationship, but find something else a higher priority that interferes with it (like their career calling as a lighthouse-keeper.)

4. People who cannot find someone in their current state, but could do if they took some action (improved their personal hygiene, got a job, stopped acting like a dick).

5. People who would be happier in a relationship, but are genuinely unloveable by anyone for reasons they cannot change.

I think that group 5 is very, very, very small. A lot smaller than the set of people in groups 1, 2, 3 or 4 who tell themselves that they're in group 5.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:04 AM on October 23, 2012 [27 favorites]


If she's letting the fact that she's hung up on an ex get in the way of her online dating, she is doing it wrong. After a heavy breakup friends should give the bereaved cards with OKC's URL on it, like a doctor's prescription or something. That kind of dating (not OKC because this was ten years ago, but the Nerve.com personals and the early days of Friendster) got me over a thoroughly horrible divorce. I met some terrific people and some freaks of nature but only rarely was it less than interesting, I went to some memorable bars and restaurants and clubs I'd never normally have touched, it distracted me from living inside my bruised soul, and there was a certain element of fucking the pain away too. It's nice to feel wanted, to be reminded that there are other people out there who appreciate you, even if it's just for a few hours.

Don't go in with high hopes. Don't expect each one to be the one, or even a one, but do shower and change the sheets before you go out for the evening. Have fun. And when you're least expecting it, Fate may sneak up and twat you over the back of the head with the love stick. (Met her on Friendster, thought seeing a film with her would be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and in a month it'll have been ten years and two kids.)
posted by Hogshead at 3:08 AM on October 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I went to college with the author and have a friend or two in common, so it's possible I'm being a bit extra defensive, but I just wanted to remark that a bunch of the early comments here seem to be mistaking this essay for yet another blog post about being unhappy with being single and/or unhappy with online dating, as though its main thrust were complaint and the rest were simply obfuscation.

Hippybear wrote: She certainly seems to sit in judgement of people regularly. Perhaps it's just the way she chooses to write about them, but surely that is springing from something deeper.

Not to single you out, but this made me pause, because I was surprised at the extent to which the article showed restraint about judging people, beyond the necessary sense of "I didn't feel like continuing to date him." I didn't notice any examples of that genre-standard ego-boosting move where the author of a dating-is-so-difficult-in-the-modern-world article spends extra time ginning up sympathy from his/her audience by mocking his/her potential suitors and their obviously disqualifying personality traits. ("Dear reader, we are so great, you and I, mostly because we're normal human beings, and it turns out the internet/dating-scene is totally full of freaks; let's laugh at them together for solace.") Instead here we just see a bit of melancholy about how things haven't worked out -- because it is melancholic not to be able to reciprocate someone's interest -- surrounding an essay taking a brief historical look at online dating.
posted by nobody at 4:01 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


You lost me at twinks.

Seriously, my reputation hasn't preceded me? I must be slacking.


Also, the twinks are into fisting.
posted by Nomyte at 4:40 AM on October 23, 2012


Oddly familiar! I've used OKC and similar sites, I even also had a handle ending -fromspace.

In the end it's much like online shopping - but only a small fraction of the items are actually for sale, and you don't know which they are. So I suppose it's like shoe shopping in a small store with big feet.

Eventually I figured it all out. I met my wife on hotornot (which is unashamedly about appearances, so a good fit for humans) and we're deliriously happy.
posted by dickasso at 4:57 AM on October 23, 2012


While I've been comfortable in a state of contented solitude, I've increasingly been feeling a bit of the old biological alarm clock buzzing on the wires of my nerves.

In my case, it's not "oh no, I may lose my chance to have a baby" nearly as much as it's "oh no, I'm going to end up taking my mother on scenic cruises on the Danube while wearing matching straw sun hats, which will quickly devolve into me pushing her around in a wheelchair like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and finally ending up as the deranged old man at the home who's constantly masturbating to tool catalogs and screaming to no one in particular about the death of the Oxford comma."

I had a relationship that knocked the wind out of me seven years ago and have not been able to fully get past it since, despite a few tragicomic attempts that just netted me more insane friends for my insane frienditorium. The internet does not work. It'll get me laid, of course, assuming I can stay in character as the guy I look like instead of gleefully sharing my love of shibuya-kei music, but in the digital universe, I'm just lost in space. Having a seven thousand word profile on Bear411 gets you more quizzical LOLs than interest, unless, of course, the other person is located at least fifteen hundred miles away.

The recent study on the statistical prevalence of queerness in the world is another thing. The heroic, celebratory part of my character leads me to make the parallel between us and the Jews, in that we are all massively over-represented in the history books for our accomplishments, considering our modest phalanx, but...sigh.

I have come to suspect that the Drake Equation holds for queer dating, too.

Here I am, lost in space, besieged by a wretched, precocious little scion of my boss, my damn robot is a sarcastic asshole and a panicky closet queen, and Don West won't even acknowledge my existence whenever Judy is in the room. It's just lovely out here.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space.
posted by sonascope at 5:06 AM on October 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


People who cannot find someone in their current state, but could do if they took some action (improved their personal hygiene, got a job, stopped acting like a dick)

Nah. Yeah. Not gonna happen.

*turns on World of Warcraft*
posted by ZeroAmbition at 5:07 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll have to look up the app I saw that was a hetero Grindr/Scruff equivalent. I heard the Girls Around Me controversy but that wasn't it.
posted by sweetkid at 5:11 AM on October 23, 2012


Man, y'all are crazy. Internet dating works perfectly well, as long as you have your own filters straight. Most people can be safely ignored, and you just have to wait for a profile that says something interesting about its author.

For example, when I saw a profile written completely in limerick, I knew that this was a person I needed to talk to. We've now been married for just over 2 years.
posted by Mayor West at 5:49 AM on October 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's weird telling people you met your husband online, especially when you then mention you've been married 12 years.

Because most people seem to think that the only way you can meet people online is via internet dating sites, but they don't remember any internet dating sites existing before 2000.

And you have to say "Um, actually, it was in an IRC chat room" and then they get this "you're a pervert" look on their faces and you have to amend it with "A Babylon 5 IRC chat room" and then they get this "you're a nerd and a pervert" look.

And then you give up.

(However, my sister-in-law met her current boyfriend on OK Cupid and they have an awesome relationship and an awesome two-year-old, so Internet dating sites can work out excellently.)
posted by Katemonkey at 6:09 AM on October 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


My earlier comment still applies.
posted by JanetLand at 6:09 AM on October 23, 2012


Wait, what went wrong here? I don't get the end of this anecdote.

I liked this man. He had a job he loved at a blue-chip art gallery and lived in a spacious, high-ceiling apartment overlooking a tree-filled park with benches that formed a serpentine pattern. We talked about Cascadian black metal bands and the idea of resisting capitalism through unlistenable music and sustainable agriculture. We walked from Cafecito Bogotá back to his impeccable apartment, where he played ambient records and I petted his two cats. We decided to conduct an OK Cupid Locals experiment: he broadcast ‘Let’s lkjdlfjlsjdfijsflsjlj.’ I sat next to him on the couch. I refreshed my phone to see if his broadcast came up. It did. We looked at each other. He walked me to the train.

What did the locals experiment mean? Why was this the end for them?
posted by Locative at 6:35 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The challenge for "single life" bloggers/reporters/op-ed people is that getting themselves into a relationship is actually a risk to their job. Many act accordingly.
posted by softlord at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2012


What did the locals experiment mean? Why was this the end for them?

The experiment didn't mean anything, it was just for fun to see if her phone would pick it up.

She liked him just fine but she wasn't interested in continuing to see him. Nothing went wrong, just wasn't what they were looking for.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:57 AM on October 23, 2012


I did a lot of internet dating, and it was fine and I met some nice people, but what I liked about the article was it captured the sad, lonely feelings that flipping through a catalog of human beings often gave me.
posted by latkes at 7:00 AM on October 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


What did the locals experiment mean? Why was this the end for them?

My take on it is that it doesn't really mean anything. Their date kind of petered out. Maybe focusing on the technology that got them there was a sign of that, maybe not. The article makes it sound like they came to a mutual understanding, that it was time to wrap things up ("We looked at each other. He walked me to the train."), but it's possible one of them rejected the other and the writer's being oblique about it. In any case, I took it as flat-affect melancholy.
posted by nobody at 7:01 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


In 2000, I met my one and only on-line date from Match.com. To make sure he was safe to meet, I asked him three very important questions: 1) do you brush your teeth, 2) are you an axe-murderer and 3) do you pay your taxes. He answered all three questions correctly. I still had a friend on-call for when we met for our first date.

We will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next year.

Obviously, this chick is not asking the right questions.
posted by Leezie at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've never done the online dating thing, but back when I was dating I was contentedly resolved that I would prefer to be single than to run through that gauntlet. This is coming from an introvert who has dated very little and somehow stumbled into a good match. Statistically speaking I beat some big odds stacked against me to not be single today, but I still believe that dating is one of those "hard problems" that the Internet can't fix.

Maybe because it worked for me I'm big on this, but the best solution I've seen is to stop caring about relationships. After I got a hobby and developed passionate interests about things I happened to run into someone who ran in these same circles. We were both confidently single and it made it a lot easier to merge our life paths.

My lively-hood has been wrapped up in the Internet for 20 years, so I'm kind of a fan. For every tale of good results I hear 10 negative things said about the experience of Internet dating. It's rubbish and high time that people stop throwing money at it. Same goes for bar hopping and other failed relationship tropes.
posted by dgran at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2012


> I'd be very much suprised if some form of online dating didn't exist in 1992, if only in the form of singles posts on BBSs.

alt.personals.* (alt.personals.poly, alt.personals.bondage, alt.personals.hamster.duct-tape, manymanymany others)
posted by jfuller at 7:28 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's entirely likely that the solar system will survive the collision with the Andromeda galaxy. The stars involved are just way, way, way too far apart. Collisions or near misses will be very unlikely.

That's going to wreak havoc on those horoscope-based matches.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:45 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're just looking for someone anyone, or you want to follow the standard relationship script of dating-marriage-kids-divorce, Internet dating can come across as a sad and artificial way to meet people. You want that meat chemistry, the first-sight serendipity story to build a myth around.
However, if you're kinda screwed up and looking for someone who specifically matches your quirks and expectations, there is no other way. Nobody I meet in school/church/work will ever be aligned with what I know will make me happy. OKC widens the pool and narrows it simultaneously.
posted by Freyja at 8:06 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let’s get a drink after Koyaanisqatsi at the Castro.

This sounds great - I've always wanted to see Koyaanisqatsi. I hope they don't mind that I'm married.

but I don't have a cat :(
posted by jb at 8:27 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did a lot of internet dating, and it was fine and I met some nice people, but what I liked about the article was it captured the sad, lonely feelings that flipping through a catalog of human beings often gave me.

This rings true. I'm thinking about taking down my OKC profile because sometimes I feel like I'm sitting on the dented can discount shelf at the relationship supermarket. Met one amazing woman a few months back but I liked her more than she liked me.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:09 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Grindr guys have a straight-targeted app called Blendr, though it seems more like a traditional dating service than a location-aware hook-up app.
posted by ymgve at 10:16 AM on October 23, 2012


"...Earth will be too hot to support liquid water in ~1.4 billion years. So we're still all screwed!"
Damn, and here I am, a big fan of liquid water, sbutler. Way to go, Mr. Buzzkill.

Heh.

In all seriousness, I try not to get too drunk... afterall, I've got driving to do afterwards. Sober up time is a must.

Being alone isn't too bad. Yeah, loneliness sucks. But I have plenty of time to watch the night sky in solitude... being bathed in the faint, non-judgmental light from light years away.

I don't look forward to burying the last of those who love me... it's probably going to break what little there was left to put back together after everything happened.

It could be worse... fortunately it's not.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:15 AM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


dgran: "I still believe that dating is one of those "hard problems" that the Internet can't fix. [...] For every tale of good results I hear 10 negative things said about the experience of Internet dating. It's rubbish and high time that people stop throwing money at it."

This seems clearly false. It does work for some people. It doesn't work for others. The same could be said of pretty much any other way of finding people-your mileage is going to vary significantly.

It would be a lot more accurate to say, as sbutler alluded, that Internet dating is not a one size fits all solution. Few things are, though.

I met my wife on OKC. I'm pretty okay with the return on my $0 investement.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:45 AM on October 23, 2012


The recent study on the statistical prevalence of queerness in the world is another thing.

Link?
posted by stoneweaver at 1:45 PM on October 23, 2012


For every tale of good results I hear 10 negative things said about the experience of Internet dating.

VS the what, 1 in 11 failure rate for the pre-internet dating methods?


Internet dating may suck, but how much did the other methods suck?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


OKC widens the pool

This is the best thing about it, I think. The most successful relationship I had based on trying OKCupid was when I dated someone in another borough, at the opposite end of the city from my place, in a career I would never have much social-overlap with. It just seemed like a good way to meet people I never would have met if I restricted myself to offline-only dating. It was all pretty easy and low-stakes, I thought. I had a couple of boring dates, a couple of great ones, and an array of dates that were somewhere in between.

Internet dating can come across as a sad and artificial way to meet people.

baby everything I do is sad and artificial
posted by Greg Nog at 2:58 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


holy snapping duck shit, yes. I'm in the middle of an email conversation with someone who is very good on paper (for me) and i have a date with him on Friday, but regret it already. I did meet and marry before the internet (high five?) but now am happily single (with the ubiquitous cat). On the other hand, I would like sex (long term, monogamous, friendly). On the gripping hand (gratuitous sci fi reference), there's definitely strategy in this damn dating thing - if you put out too soon, regardless of your personal sexual philosophy, it's like a catch and release project. So there's a game to play, and I much prefer games with written down rules to argue about (eg, no, you can not use that word - it's a proper noun) than myths and urban legend.

So I got really fed up with online dating, and the kind of blokes I was attracting, in fact, I made up a new game:

Dating profile bingo. I just made it up. See how many you can tick. I suspect a high score is inversely related to IQ.

[love to laugh] [easygoing] [no photo, no answer] [good sense of humour]
[amazing/beautiful children] [hardworking] [honest/genuine]
[if f(n), then DON'T WASTE MY TIME] [lmao / lol] [this is hard]
[live life to the fullest] [down to earth] [walks on beach]
[wining & dining] [shy till I get to know you]
[old-fashioned] [not here for games or one night stands]
[looking for nice/special girl/lady/female- but never a woman]
[don't like mind games]
[not much to say]
[either unaware of where the punctuation marks on the keyboard are or how to use them]
[want to know anything else, just ask]
[characterises self based on astrology or other superstitious, non-evidenced based philosophy]
[rhetorical questions indicating an inability to accept other's opinions]
[unaware that spell checkers exist both within browsers, and other software]

I suspect the beach is crowded with down-to-earth, honest, genuine, shy, outdoorsy, hardworking men, who drink wine, check their starsign and only have amazing or beautiful children.


But that seemed too bitter, so I opened another account, and was ruthlessly sexual and bitter, and I can't keep up with the responses. But my libido has recently subsided (oh thank you!) so I'm not visiting the site so much.

TL:DR; I'm not real good at internet dating. Is there a class I can take?
posted by b33j at 3:34 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


baby everything I do is sad and artificial

Is that some sort of insult?
posted by Nomyte at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2012


I guess it's less sad than the alternative.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2012


The founder of Okcupid is doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit right now.
posted by bswinburn at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, online dating in the US didn't do much for me, but in Mexico, it has been different, because two members of the local PoF decided to form a real-world social group rather than just meet individuals one at a time.

I like that idea. A friend of mine told me recently that one of the guys she met on OKC had mentioned attending a 90% match party, where everyone was a 90% or higher match with each other. This was in London. I'm not sure how it was organised.
posted by PJMcPrettypants at 5:05 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


> if you put out too soon, regardless of your personal sexual philosophy, it's like a catch and release project.

BWAAAHAHA. nice one.

Too bad it can't sometimes be catch-and-toss-up-onto-the-bank, like you're supposed to do when you catch invasive trash fish.
posted by jfuller at 5:43 PM on October 23, 2012


I felt this article accurately mirrored the experiences of attractive female friends who've tried online dating. All went on as many dates as they wanted, but never found any chemistry, except when they were high on traveling.

Afaik, all my male friends who tried online dating never got any replies. I've two male friends who met partners online however, one met his wife via his clan in WoW, and one dates numerous chinese women he meets in chinese speaking internet forums, not dating sites.

Aren't there statistic showing that virtually all the dating site emails come from some minuscule portion of the males anyways?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:16 PM on October 23, 2012


I've never understood how having sex "too soon" could precipitate a failure to continue.

If the person is looking to have sex once and once only, then drawing the time out before sex seems like a failed strategy. Just don't have sex with that person if you don't want to have sex once only.

If you do want to have sex once only, then do that. Right?

But if you want a relationship and the person does also then having sex earlier or later really doesn't matter, does it? (Am I just dumb here? To me it seems like blaming sex for a something it can't really cause.)

Also, Metafilter: more insane friends for my insane frienditorium.
posted by mistersquid at 11:21 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I had a male friend tell me he's heard a lot of conversation in locker rooms about how a woman who has sex on the first date has "something wrong with her" and basically isn't fit to get involved with. The misogyny and hypocrisy and hatefulness of that attitude makes me want to scream — those guys would think no less of their wonderful selves for having sex on the first date, in fact would probably pride themselves on their accomplishment, yet consider themselves justified in writing off a woman who does and in never calling her again.

I suppose there is something to be said for the idea that a certain type of man will dump a woman for sleeping with him "too soon", while if she'd held out until he got emotionally involved with her, he would stick around after sex. But who wants that type of man?

A dating advice author I read argued that it's all about the building anticipation, the sense that the best is still to come (no pun intended), and that it is ultimately more rewarding and exciting to more gradually work up to a sexual relationship, that sleeping with someone too soon is like opening your Christmas presents before Christmas day and leads to a sense of let down, and I agree that there may be something to that. But it still seems to me that someone who felt that "let down" and disappears after having sex in the early days doesn't have the character or integrity or maturity required for a long-term relationship anyway.
posted by orange swan at 8:08 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not that I think anyone cares, but I'm a big fan of sex on the first date; most of my most successful relationships have started with sex on the first date (although, in two of the cases you kinda have to stretch first date to 48 hours of time where we couldn't bear to be together). More over, of my married friends, I know about one third had sex on their first date. I assume some of the other ones did too, but aren't talking about it.

My name is bswinburn, and I approved this message and first date sex.
posted by bswinburn at 8:32 AM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


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