Love, Lies, and Online Dating
August 5, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

"At its worst, online dating becomes compulsive, a kind of mania, and feeds our appetite for endless choice, and the idea that there’s always a better choice. Maybe there’s something to be said for less choice, or at least a sense of geographical limits. That said, I’ve heard from a lot of people, more all the time, who have found the “perfect” person this way. And the stigma of it is rapidly fading ... The worst online dating story I ever HEARD involved a female friend, here is the gist: This really good-looking guy contacts her about her profile and says something to the extent of: “You look beautiful, but are you 100 pounds? I only date women who are 100 pounds or less. If I think you are lying, I will bring a scale.”
posted by geoff. (140 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
What about people who met "In Real Life" (say, at the gym) then ran into each other later online? That's happened to a couple people I know.
posted by muddgirl at 12:05 PM on August 5, 2010


I loved the AskMe yesterday where the girl was like, "I'm hurt because after our date I saw that he'd logged into the dating site after he got home" and everyone in the thread was like, "Yeah... but weren't YOU on there too?"
posted by hermitosis at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2010 [30 favorites]


I went on a date with the first girl I messaged on OkCupid. We have been together for 10 months.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Thank god for online dating. Took me nearly five years, on and off, but I finally found my wife from a dating site. I seriously don't know how I would ever have found a mate if not for the Internet; I could never bring myself to even try anywhere else.
posted by lifeless at 12:19 PM on August 5, 2010


Probably doesn't count as online dating as such, but my fiancee developed an interest in me not necessarily after our first meeting but definitely after seeing the bands I listed on MySpace.

I do have a friend who's married to a girl he met after she tracked him down based on an online (non-dating) profile. Expanding the pool means more bad as well as more good.
posted by jtron at 12:21 PM on August 5, 2010


I went on about fifteen dates with a total of eight women from online personal ads over a two year period. Then I met my wife on Salon Personals. Our son turns nine months old next week.
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:22 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to online date. Like, REALLY online date. This one time I saw a girl on match.com who I thought was really, REALLY cute. I emailed her, but sadly she rebuked my advances. One-ish years later she found me randomly on Friendster and emailed me. We've been together for 5 years and married for 3, and we're having a baby in October!
posted by fusinski at 12:27 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Took me nearly five years, on and off, but I finally found my wife from a dating site.

There's something wrong with this sentence, like you were married to her before but she disappeared and you had to use an internet dating site to find her again.

I met my best friend online. We went to school together when we were 10, but we didn't really talk until I added her on LiveJournal six years later.

Erin Bradley: Slippery slope, indeed. If people on Craigslist go so far as contacting people, they might actually go on dates. If they go on dates, they might actually find someone whose company they enjoy. Even worse, it might be convenient, discreet, and non-traumatizing for them. Best to stick to the old ways. Who wants to post a cheap, feature-rich ad you can edit at any time, all by yourself, when you can dictate a terse black-and-white missive to a harried ad clerk twice your age and wait two weeks for responses to come in the mail?

True, but now how are we supposed to stigmatise ugly losers who can't get dates?
posted by doublehappy at 12:29 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I posted it, and the next day I had about half a dozen emails from these dudes like, “We were meant to be together, we’re obviously the same, let’s get out of here just you and me, etc.” I took my profile down and never went back.

PLEASE DECODE.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:29 PM on August 5, 2010


Met my man on Friendster.

Don't hate.
posted by hermitosis at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bleieve that finding a true love should take place in bars, church socials, frat dances. Online dating is for cheating, after you have been married.
posted by Postroad at 12:31 PM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


I quit online dating because I got tired of writing emails. It's just too damn much work.

Nothing worse than getting rejected after a second or third email. Not getting a response from a first email? No big deal. It's like hitting on somebody at a bar and getting the cold shoulder. But after a second or third? That just sucks. Because at that point, you're kinda looking forward to meeting them. And then you look back on your email, and can't for the life of you figure out what tripped her Loser Alarm. No inappropriate remarks, no glaring mistakes. Maybe a poorly-worded sentence, or possibly a thought that could have been phrased better. But really? Does someone really deserve to be rejected based on that? I mean, this person hasn't even met me, will never meet me, and I'm being rejected for a poorly-worded sentence? It's just so goddamned arbitrary. For all she knows, we could have gotten along fine.

It's fucking terrible. Even in the best case, when I see that I have online dating emails to answer, it's like, fuck. More shit I gotta do. It's like homework. More effort to put into something that may not get a response because of something stupid and random and arbitrary like an awkward sentence.

Online dating makes me want to give up dating, email, and computers, entirely.
posted by Sloop John B at 12:32 PM on August 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


There's something wrong with this sentence

"English as a second language" is what's wrong with it, dude.
posted by lifeless at 12:34 PM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Maybe a poorly-worded sentence, or possibly a thought that could have been phrased better. But really? Does someone really deserve to be rejected based on that?

(...)

when I see that I have online dating emails to answer, it's like, fuck. More shit I gotta do. It's like homework.

I THINK THE ANSWER IS IN THE QUESTION
posted by Shepherd at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


my fiancee developed an interest in me not necessarily after our first meeting but definitely after seeing the bands I listed on MySpace.

I respectfully suggest you work on this sentence before writing your wedding vows.
posted by mannequito at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Nothing worse than getting rejected after a second or third email. Not getting a response from a first email? No big deal. It's like hitting on somebody at a bar and getting the cold shoulder. But after a second or third? That just sucks. Because at that point, you're kinda looking forward to meeting them.

Switch to phone calls or texting after the first round of emails. If you don't meet up within a week then stop talking to them.

At least, that's what my friends all do. Emails suck.
posted by muddgirl at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was talking to someone about online dating sites the other day. They have an odd business model in that if they succeed they manage to lose not just one, but two users. I would have to believe there's something in it for them to encourage people to not get together, or at least not go more than one or two dates.
posted by tommasz at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I respectfully suggest you work on this sentence before writing your wedding vows.

I promise to write my vows while fully awake and caffeinated, and with my glasses firmly on my head, if you promise to not be an asshole on the Internet, deal?

posted by jtron at 12:38 PM on August 5, 2010 [29 favorites]


I bleieve that finding a true love should take place in bars, church socials, frat dances.

Yeah, I tried that and they beat me up at the church social and the frat dance for being queer.
posted by blucevalo at 12:39 PM on August 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


So far, from reading this, I can tell that the person I would least like to hang out with and be friends with is the one woman, SH, who wouldn't even give online dating a try, but who spends a lot of time in bars. I wonder what that says about me?

Anyway, i know of a few happy couples who met online, and they seem like better matches than the spouses I know who got together in the more traditional mainstream ways. So I am all for online dating becoming mainstream. And the people for who it has the worst stigma just seem, unsurprisingly, to know the least about what it is really like.

Which doesn't mean online dating is only about sites like cupid.com. Sometimes it's meeting someone online who is a friend of a friend, which is how my son met his girlfriend.
posted by misha at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2010


The Onion used to have personals that were not "Spring Street" or whatever they eventually became. That's where I met my husband of (going on) six years.

My online profile was essentially, I like old stuff and Eddie Izzard.

His online profile was essentially, I am very smart, and I like Eddie Izzard.

We met because we both liked a cross-dressing British comedian. We never looked back, really.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:42 PM on August 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


I have to say that this article was far less interesting and insightful than the comment thread to this recent post.
posted by bumpkin at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I met my boyfriend on OkCupid. He wrote me the nicest letter (really, it was more than an email) I said "Let's meet tomorrow" and we went and had coffee and then to see a band called Spouse.

I lurve him, I loave him, I luff him. He's spiffy.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Bah, online dating. I had success with it way back in the early 2000's, when the only people using it were fellow nerds and shy people. Now that the stigma's mostly worn off, I've found it's mostly populated by total douchehounds who can pretend to be decent people for maybe a month or so before the craziness starts to leak out of them. Ooh, lord, so much crazy. There are still really nice people out there, but the douchehound contingent drowns them out.

I thank the FSM every day that I found love by trolling for easy wang in the hookups section of the online personals.
posted by palomar at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


And the people for who it has the worst stigma just seem, unsurprisingly, to know the least about what it is really like.

Funny how there's a lot of things that work this way
posted by jtron at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


The man I've been with in varying forms of relationship for the past (nearly) 18 years, I met through the Bear Mailing List.
posted by hippybear at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dating in real life is much more straightforward and takes very little work because it uses several senses that are much more efficient at detecting compatibility.

Here's the approach: Get close to the person of interest. Smell them. If they smell interesting, ask them if they want to wander.

Usually, if they smell interesting to me, I smell interesting to them. Go figure.

If the smell thing isn't there... alarms should go off. Friendly distance should be maintained. I just can't imagine how that can work with online dating.
posted by melatonic at 12:45 PM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


I met my dog online, and we've been together for two and a half years. It's a three-way relationship with me/husband/dog. The dog is subordinate, and we sometimes even dress her up in a dog collar and walk her around on a leash. Her "safe word" is "Woof." When my husband comes home at night, it's all him and the dog making out on the couch, and though I occasionally feel a little bit jealous, I'm not sure whether I'm jealous of him or her!

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I could imagine our happy monogamous marriage becoming a threesome — and with a girl we found online, no less! — I would have laughed.
posted by taz at 12:49 PM on August 5, 2010 [50 favorites]


Yawn, another article (single-link post) about how online dating is or is not useful in finding partners. And all the answers are how they did or did not find a good partner(s) via said online dating.
posted by Melismata at 12:50 PM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


The only people that hate online dating are the people that found their mates prior to it becoming socially acceptable, thus saving everyone afterward a whole heap of time & money. I think most internet stuff is like this. Like people that buy property through Craigslist listings instead of losing 6% to totally unnecessary fees.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:53 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to be able to meet guys off Lavalife, but as I've gotten older the number of dates I can get off there has dwindled to nil. Men my age aren't interested in women my age (36), and I'm not interested in the guys in their fifties and sixties who do message me.

And all of you who found the love of your life online and made babies with him or her are bumming me out. Not everyone gets a happy ending.
posted by orange swan at 12:53 PM on August 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


Yawn, another article (single-link post) about how online dating is or is not useful in finding partners. And all the answers are how they did or did not find a good partner(s) via said online dating.

You are the first person to have ever griped about this in one of these posts. EVER.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only people that hate online dating are the people that found their mates prior to it becoming socially acceptable, thus saving everyone afterward a whole heap of time & money.

Nope, not true. I hate online dating. I am not what you describe.
posted by millipede at 12:58 PM on August 5, 2010


I know someone who has been on more than 700 online dates. He is a very strange, very sad man who is so judgmental and negative and pessimistic that I don't know if it's within the power of modern psychiatry to fix all of the things that are wrong with his brain. Imagine viewing humanity through the lens of a man who has met 700 women and found each one irredeemably flawed!

I wonder how his compulsive first-dating would manifest itself in an era when first dates were harder to come by?
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 12:58 PM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I met my dog online, and we've been together for two and a half years.

I keep reading that, wondering whether it's a human or an actual dog, and then wondering if I'm either thick or vanilla.
posted by mippy at 1:00 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bleieve that finding a true love should take place in bars, church socials, frat dances.

Yeah, I tried that and they beat me up at the church social and the frat dance for being queer.


Likewise, I'm straight and I go to a Unitarian Church and, well, I think we all know what really goes on after the frat dance. What am I supposed to do?

Seriously, the last woman I dated before my wife I met on the subway and she turned out to be truly unstable, so much so that I turned online where I could at least do some screening. We just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary by letting grandma take care of our two kids.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:00 PM on August 5, 2010


Not everyone gets a happy ending.

You're going to the wrong kind of massage parlour!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:01 PM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


And all of you who found the love of your life online and made babies with him or her are bumming me out. Not everyone gets a happy ending.

Hear, hear. I mean, I'm happy for you guys -- I really am -- but after more than five years of online dating, it makes me want to weep.
posted by cider at 1:02 PM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anyway, what I don't get about personals ads (online or in print) is the specification of a particular dress size. 'Slim', 'large', 'curvy', whatever, fine, it's personal preference. But to specify 'size 8-10'? If true love came along in a 12, would that be too big? A 6 too skinny? Funnily enough I never see w4m ads with 'looking for nice man, size 17 collar'.
posted by mippy at 1:02 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


One problem I've noticed I've developed through online dating is a tendency towards some really negative, at times misogynistic thoughts. I have to remind myself frequently that, because I'm only looking at profiles of women, I'm only getting a one-sided impression of exactly how annoying / vapid / frivolous people are, regardless of gender. From all of that, I'm tempted to use this thread as an opportunity to complain about all the things I find really annoying about profiles, but I won't. Thanks to everybody upthread for offering stories that suggest this might work for me.

One big advantage to online dating: I can screen out really fast people who don't care about a significant art, hobby or job. And I do.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:04 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I promise to write my vows while fully awake and caffeinated, and with my glasses firmly on my head, if you promise to not be an asshole on the Internet, deal?

NO DEAL
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:10 PM on August 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


the person I would least like to hang out with and be friends with is the one woman, SH, who wouldn't even give online dating a try, but who spends a lot of time in bars. I wonder what that says about me?

That you don't like bars?

I don't want to knock something that makes people happy, so I haven't any strong feelings either way about the usefulness or the morality or whatever of online dating. But Sarah Hepola describes my own, personal, feelings when she writes "clicking through online profiles [is] boring and nothing short of soul-deadening. It’s like visiting a fucking orphanage." I just can't look at page after page of people wanting someone to date. It's worse than visiting an orphanage; it's like working in an orphanage.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm happy for you guys -- I really am -- but after more than five years of online dating, it makes me want to weep.

A good friend of mine who is wicked cool, very attractive, together and professional, and possibly the smartest person I know, basically got ground down by an intense run of internet-facilitated dates and eventually threw in with a guy with major issues she is struggling to convince herself is worthwhile. It happens.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how his compulsive first-dating would manifest itself in an era when first dates were harder to come by?

He'd probably be locked up in a previous era, and/or considered by society simply not dateable.
posted by Melismata at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2010


Men my age aren't interested in women my age (36), and I'm not interested in the guys in their fifties and sixties who do message me

Men in their early~mid forties don't roll in dead fish at the beach, although they may contemplate it from time to time.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:18 PM on August 5, 2010


This really good-looking guy contacts her about her profile and says something to the extent of: “You look beautiful, but are you 100 pounds? I only date women who are 100 pounds or less. If I think you are lying, I will bring a scale.”

This seems like one of the advantages of on-line dating. This way, the women discovered that the guy was a complete assbag without having to go out on a date with him.

Of course, she could have responded:

You look great, but are you human? I only date humans, not human/android hybrids. If I think you are lying, I will bring a knife.

Online dating didn't work for me, but it worked very well for a good friend of mine. It's almost like there is no one solution that works for everyone.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:23 PM on August 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


Those of you who haven't found love yet, I feel for you. Many of my dearest and most wonderful friends are still trying with online dating. I think the structure of our current society sometimes makes it hard to find intimacy.
posted by mai at 1:26 PM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Men my age aren't interested in women my age (36)"

I'm not your age, but I'm absolutely interested in women your age. I'd do a lot more online dating for the benefit of all you single ladies, but for the fact that my girlfriend kinda frowns on it.
posted by Eideteker at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is nothing like a well-written personal ad. Sometimes I read them for fun, both the good and the bad. I've also considered creating a coffee-table book with horrible pictures from personal ads. There could be a whole chapter on men pictured with their cars.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2010


There could be a whole chapter on men pictured with their cars.

As a guy, who likes cars, I never understood this. It is a catch-22*, you either have a shitty car that makes people cringe and thing, "What a shitty car, I'm not acutely aware of your economic status, like way too aware of your personal finances," and if the car really is cool you're thinking, "Who is the douche posing with his Porsche?"

*I guess the exception being vintage cars, or perhaps the handful of people I know who actually participate in racetrack events. Then it shows that this is a hobby you dedicate yourself to. Otherwise it is ... about the same as posing in front of any other material object you own.
posted by geoff. at 1:32 PM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


not = now.
posted by geoff. at 1:33 PM on August 5, 2010


There could be a whole chapter on men pictured with their cars.

Where I live, it's Harleys instead of cars.
posted by JanetLand at 1:36 PM on August 5, 2010


Men in their early~mid forties don't roll in dead fish at the beach, although they may contemplate it from time to time.

I honestly cannot comprehend what is meant by this.
posted by palomar at 1:40 PM on August 5, 2010 [23 favorites]


Imagine viewing humanity through the lens of a man who has met 700 women and found each one irredeemably flawed!

No need to imagine it: Seinfeld was one of the most succesful shows of the nineties.

Kids today... no sense of history.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:41 PM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Men in their early~mid forties don't roll in dead fish at the beach, although they may contemplate it from time to time.

I honestly cannot comprehend what is meant by this.


Me neither, but I may adopt it as an unrefutable, argument-ending retort.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:42 PM on August 5, 2010 [21 favorites]




There could be a whole chapter on men pictured with their cars.

As a guy, who likes cars, I never understood this. It is a catch-22, ...


To say nothing of the fact that we women * totally could not care less what kind of car you have! :)

* gross generalization of course
posted by Melismata at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funnily enough I never see w4m ads with 'looking for nice man, size 17 collar'.

But there are plenty that specify a minimum salary, and more than a few that specify that the man in question must wear a suit to work.

Welcome to Earth - men and women look for different things when evaluating potential mates here.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is nothing like a well-written personal ad.

I think you'd enjoy the personals in the London Review of Books, some of the best of which have been compiled here.

A couple of examples:

I've divorced better men than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don't think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I've ever had to make. Sensitive F, 34.

Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside seeks woman on the outside who likes milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of out-patients. 30-35. Leeds.
posted by Dragonness at 1:51 PM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


Online dating makes me want to give up dating, email, and computers, entirely.

Yeah...thats kinda how evolution works. You either adapt...or you don't procreate.
We are creating a generation of nerd-babies.
People who can't type are the first ones being phased out.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I recently joined a dating site that skews socially conservative (long story). They sent me an email saying I have to list my income, it's MANDATORY. Not sure whether that's hilarious or depressing. Different strokes for different folks...
posted by naju at 1:59 PM on August 5, 2010


Men in their early~mid forties don't roll in dead fish at the beach, although they may contemplate it from time to time.

I honestly cannot comprehend what is meant by this.


I think it's a variation on "What are men in their early-mid 40s, chopped liver?"
posted by skwt at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a guy, who likes cars, I never understood this. It is a catch-22, ...

Oops should read, as a guy who likes cars, I never understood why other guys would post pictures of themselves in front of their cars ...
posted by geoff. at 2:08 PM on August 5, 2010


I've read over 700,000 online dating profiles and I feel like I have a better understanding of the human psyche because of it (and what the current best-sellers and most quotable song lyrics were for the past decade or so).

One of my worst dates ever was from an online dating site. He was a frat guy, pilot, good-looking, Republican. I couldn't understand why he asked me out.

When I got there, he said, straight up: "I never date women like you. I only date blondes who wear Seven jeans and are tan. However, your profile was so goddamn funny and interesting, I thought I'd let you be my entertainment for the night." He then smiled, smugly, and asked what I wanted to drink.

I said, "I know enough people in this bar and have enough self-respect to get up right now and walk away from this. I can think of a million other things I'd rather do with my time than be a monkey performing tricks for your amusement all evening. Don't order me anything -- if I want a drink, I'll ask the owner for one." Then I got up, walked a whole 100 feet away from him to the patio, and sat down next to my meanest, biggest girlfriend.

That dumb shit walked by me 3, 4 times with an expensive-looking drink in his hand. It probably was one I'd mentioned in my profile. We laughed at him, hunting high and low for me. King Ego had been defeated, I guess?

The next day, he called, texted and emailed me, begging me to go out with him again. He even apologized. I guess he was used to his job, looks and alma mater getting him laid without knowing how to be a good date... truthfully, I only went out with him for the curiosity factor, too, so it cut both ways, essentially.

After about a week, I texted him back and told him that his attempts to contact me over and over again had been me and my friends' entertainment for the evening.

Online dating can help you meet the right person or remind you why it is that you should pre-screen your dates. Assholes are everywhere; the Internet accepts them without question, just like bars, clubs, churches, parties and colleges do. Not EVERYBODY is a good match for you -- and really, aren't you glad? Don't you WANT to be choosy? Can you imagine the burden of being lusted after and perceived as an ideal mate by EVERYONE?

People think "online dating" and imagine there's some fancy science or little old lady behind the scenes, carefully sorting pairs and reading tea leaves. Not true.

Online dating is simply a forum you enter to let people know, hey, I'm single, you're single -- should we go out? DATING HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE, NOT ONLINE. Unless you're in a long-distance relationship, which by the way, ain't so bad. Better to know you can't hold a conversation for two hours before you get naked, amirite?

What IS true about online dating is this: people post a profile, two or three photos (mostly not good or clear ones, but the ones they have on their hard drive that they personally like because they have good memories attached to it) because they're not very prepared when they actually decide to TRY online dating. They psyche themselves out. Then they leave that profile up like some ghostly resume, barely checking in or initiating contact, hoping one day the right person will come along like a message in a bottle washed up on some shoreline. They think they're going to "try it" for 2-3 weeks and if some gorgeous rocket scientist doesn't propose within that timeframe, they've been screwed over or are undateable.

I can't really understand this. It's akin to saying, well, I put on a good outfit and left the house ONCE. WHERE IS HE/SHE AT????

(People who have been doing this for years, you're excluded. I said MOST. You are of course the exception.)

Listen; you update your Twitter, Facebook and text your friends or some crap every day, right? Why should your dating profile be different? Answering emails is homework? Yeah, actually, it IS.

If you won't do the work, you won't get an A. If you're OK with getting an F in love, that's entirely up to you. People think that finding the right person is easy? Check AskMe -- trial and error is still the norm when it comes to learning what you want in a partner and/or a lifelong relationship.

Dear Frat Pilot, you gave me a good memory and a reminder of why I hated being single in Dallas. Thank God I found the right guy on Metafilter (does that count as online dating? I think it does. I love you, Uncle Ira!)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:08 PM on August 5, 2010 [28 favorites]


melatonic, are you dating on the set of Born Free? :) You don't smell people until after you've gotten friendly enough to hug or something else like that. Humans can't just walk up to each other and make give a big sniff and initiate mating rituals... we have pre-smelling rituals we have to do first. (I really like the phrase "ask them if they want to wander" though.)

Not that I'm arguing with The Major Histocompatibility Complex, but smelling people is creepy. Smelling them and asking them if you smell good to them is totally weird.

*Unless* you are an animal behavior student, asking another student in your program. Then it's okay. ^_^
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 2:10 PM on August 5, 2010


The man I've been with in varying forms of relationship for the past (nearly) 18 years, I met through the Bear Mailing List.


But not at the Jambaroo?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:12 PM on August 5, 2010


Men in their early~mid forties don't roll in dead fish at the beach, although they may contemplate it from time to time.

I honestly cannot comprehend what is meant by this.


Ahhhh... the elusive early-to-mid forties man... so hard to find — becuz he doesn't haz a flavor.
posted by taz at 2:18 PM on August 5, 2010


I met my first wife in the chatroom of a BBS I ran before anyone off-lab knew what an Internet was. I live-blogged the birth of our daughter to the teleconference room of my BBS on a TRS-80 model 100 laptop computer using its built-in 300 baud modem hooked to the birthing room's fone jack. Second wife was met via Usenet (t.b). I'm not trying to one-up anyone, just noting that even more than 20 years ago, geeks were using this technology to hook up. Wouldn't be surprised to hear a story about someone from 30 years ago.

OKC is pretty decent these days. I mean, don't put your heart and soul into it. Just have a good time talking to people. Isn't that what one does in life anyway?
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:23 PM on August 5, 2010


Funnily enough I never see w4m ads with 'looking for nice man, size 17 collar'.

Have you tried the bondage sites?
posted by escabeche at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


HOW DID YOU KNOW MY SECRET TO GETTING ALL THE CHIX?
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2010


I'm happy for you guys -- I really am -- but after more than five years of online dating, it makes me want to weep.

Finding Twu Wuv is great but it's not the only thing. I am 10x less lonely, but 1000x more frazzled than I was as a single not-mom.

And some days, I spend hours fantasizing about the alternate universe where I live in a quiet apartment responsible for no-one but myself and maybe a dog and travel all the time and go to movies. Oh man.

Grass, greener, blah blah blah.
posted by emjaybee at 2:29 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Celebrating one year next week with the man I went on my first ever Match.com date. I did get lucky.
posted by sundrop at 2:33 PM on August 5, 2010


I met the lady who would be my wife on MySpace. Well, we met in person, or at least knew the same someone in real life. We were already friends, but neither of us could remember who asked who to be MySpace buddies or whatnot, or why. However it happened, she sent me a message about my blogs about a music festival, which was really the only thing of interest on my page. So we chatted about music. Then we chatted about movies, and we agreed that we should see a movie, with no clarification about inviting others or this being a date. After the fact, the general consensus said that it was, in fact, a date. And now we've been together 5 years, married over 3, and no longer use MySpace.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:36 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found my wife on an online dating site.

...I was pretty furious, let me tell you!


/not really married
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I was on OKCupid and kept getting messages that I was 98% match to my ex-husband. In the end though I met my awesome man there.
posted by sadtomato at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


What? Suicide Girls isn't a dating site? 'Cause I got no happy stories.
posted by Elmore at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2010


me : Online dating makes me want to give up dating, email, and computers, entirely.

hal_c_on : Yeah...thats kinda how evolution works. You either adapt...or you don't procreate.
We are creating a generation of nerd-babies.
People who can't type are the first ones being phased out.


You know, that's a really fucked-up, shitty, mean thing to say. "If you're lonely, it's because you're being weeded out of the gene pool." Seriously? I know you think you're clever and snarky, but really, you're just being an ass.

Hear that all you lonely people out there? hal_c_on thinks you're going to die alone, and it's for the good of the human race.

Disgusting.
posted by Sloop John B at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


Sloop John B: I was hoping that I misunderstood what hal_c_on was tring to say. Maybe he'll explain. Or maybe not, we'll see.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 2:56 PM on August 5, 2010


I actually threw up during an ill-fated date that began with an OkCupid profile. We went on a walk after our shared breakfast and food poisoning hit me like a ton of bricks. Much projectile vomiting ensued. The date-ee was politely horrified but vaguely helpful; I pulled over my car to throw up again and again. He even called after that first date, but only to make sure I hadn't died.

That kind of summed up my online dating experience before I met ANOTHER man I'd seen on OkCupid (glutton for punishment?) in person. I've been with him for the last almost 5.5 years, moved across the country to stay with him, and plan on being with him for life.
posted by mynameisluka at 2:56 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sloop John B: I was hoping that I misunderstood what hal_c_on was tring to say. Maybe he'll explain. Or maybe not, we'll see.

No, he was being loud and clear. Because I hate online dating, I'm being weeded out of the gene pool, and rightfully so.

He thought he was being a funny snarky clever blogperson, but really he was being an ass and saying an awful thing.

Oh, and look, he's "taken." How nice. It's like a rich person cruising through the ghetto and talk about how all the "maladaptive" poor people are being weeded out of the gene pool.
posted by Sloop John B at 3:00 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was on OKCupid and kept getting messages that I was 98% match to my ex-husband. In the end though I met my awesome man there.

I get this with my ex now. Neither of us gets anyone near so close in this city. He and I are still close friends and we kind of laugh about it, and call it proof that we just don't belong in this town.
posted by dilettante at 3:04 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


He even called after that first date, but only to make sure I hadn't died.

HE CARES! (Swoon)
posted by davejay at 3:04 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I ever do dip my toe into online dating, I'll have a handy username, generated from this very thread: ImGoing2DieAlone.
posted by adipocere at 3:06 PM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Just last weekend, I finally removed the two personals ads I had online, after a few months of horrific phone conversations and lots of frustration. Turns out, a lovely woman who is into my online radio stuff emailed me, she heard me, on my show, talking about a lame conversation I had with a damaged Mormon woman I connected with from an online dating site, and this new woman asked me if I wanted to chat with her, as she had no idea I was no longer in a relationship (one that had started 6+ years ago on Craigslist, and ended last November when she dumped me by changing her relationship status on Facebook - no other goodbyes, nada). I agreed, a month later we're stupid for each other. So the internet can be good for meeting people, but dating sites, meh.
posted by dbiedny at 3:10 PM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


But not at the Jambaroo? - Senor Cardgage

Wow, I have no idea what this means, and I even tried Googling first.
posted by hippybear at 3:10 PM on August 5, 2010


To be fair, Sloop John B, it was a joke. An offensive one, sure, but I wouldn't attribute true malicious intent ... other than to hurt your feelings, of course, which is shitty enough...

repost:

The hazards of too much choice, which links to:
Can there ever be too many flowers blooming? (PDF):
The logic behind the presumption that if some choice is good, more choice is better seems compelling. But what might be called the “psychologic” of choice tells us something different. In the last decade, research evidence has accumulated that there can be too much of a good thing—that a point can be reached at which options paralyze rather than liberate (Schwartz, 2004). And when there are too many choices, two different things happen. First, satisfaction with whatever is chosen diminishes. And second, people choose not to choose at all.
They think they're going to "try it" for 2-3 weeks and if some gorgeous rocket scientist doesn't propose within that timeframe, they've been screwed over or are undateable.

To be fair, that's what the stories shared here and elsewhere on MeFi sound like. Online daters either: 1) met their spouses on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person they tried; or 2) have been trying for several years with no luck.

Has anyone been "successful" (defined I suppose as "finding a permanent partner") at online dating (not counting MetaFilter) after extended "failures"?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:11 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]



Where I live, it's Harleys instead of cars.

Yeah. Beware of the Harley riders. Been riding 55 years and have found two kinds of guys ride Harleys. Bikers and wannabe bikers.
posted by notreally at 3:11 PM on August 5, 2010


People will be asses.

FWIW, my singles "ghetto" is pretty fantastic, many of my friends live here, and we throw the best parties... I'm not really interested in moving to the "taken" side of the tracks.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 3:11 PM on August 5, 2010


Goofy jokes aside, I don't see online dating as anything different from the globalization of manufacturing and ready access to efficient shipping techniques. The world shrinks as our ability to reach others expands, yet the process of dating is, without technology, limited to the pool of people you meet in your day-to-day activities and occasional outing/vacation. To deny the benefits of online dating or -- perish the thought -- state that it is somehow a bad thing is not dissimilar to denying that, say, the ability to eat fresh produce of all types year-round is something that improves our lives.

Now, granted, there are downsides to globalization, whether it's for manufacturing or dating, but if we feel we're better off we'll just avoid the products grown/made and shipped from afar, and limit our dating pool to people we meet locally. However, to reject those options without cause is to severely limit your opportunities.

Plus, saying that limiting the pool of potential dates will somehow make us appreciate what we have more is a bit wonky in light of the way knowledge spreads in this world. Sit there if you want, eating an apple and not wishing you had a strawberry, but you can't pretend you don't know what a strawberry is, and if you genuinely prefer strawberries you won't be better off not being able to get one.

Taken to an extreme, we're talking about a luddite worldview, where restricting our access to things will make things better, somehow. I say better for each person to avail themselves of all options and opportunities before deciding that some way is better, rather than speculating that the way things are now is somehow making all of us worse off.
posted by davejay at 3:13 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Beware of the Harley riders. Been riding 55 years and have found two kinds of guys ride Harleys. Bikers and wannabe bikers.

How do you feel about guys who ride little japanese scooters?
posted by davejay at 3:14 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


hippybear, I think he meant this.
posted by emumimic at 3:21 PM on August 5, 2010


Has anyone been "successful" (defined I suppose as "finding a permanent partner") at online dating (not counting MetaFilter) after extended "failures"? (mrgrimm)

Yeah, I have. (I mean, I hope we're pretty permanent.) The thing is, though, I didn't consider the many, many months of unsuccessful online dating a failure—it's precisely what I expected.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:31 PM on August 5, 2010


Hear that all you lonely people out there?.

Well, not to speak for hal_c_on, but I think he would've meant "Hear that all you lazy people out there," not lonely. As in, if you don't do the "homework," you don't get the results.

Also, the lack of responses you got, Sloop, really might not have had anything to do with you. Maybe they just got bored with the online dating thing, maybe they clicked better with other people on the site, maybe they started exclusively dating someone else they were talking to. Just because you don't get a response from someone after a second or third email doesn't necessarily mean it's a poor reflection on you.
posted by Squee at 3:44 PM on August 5, 2010


Has anyone been "successful" (defined I suppose as "finding a permanent partner") at online dating (not counting MetaFilter) after extended "failures"?

Yes. That's the thing with monogamous till-death-do-us-part couples -- every single one of them is made up of two people who (unless widowed) had, up to that point, failed to find one.
posted by Zed at 3:47 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I used to be able to meet guys off Lavalife, but as I've gotten older the number of dates I can get off there has dwindled to nil. Men my age aren't interested in women my age (36), and I'm not interested in the guys in their fifties and sixties who do message me.

"And all of you who found the love of your life online and made babies with him or her are bumming me out. Not everyone gets a happy ending."


I wonder if there isn't a niche market here. A dating site could be set up that only directed matches to people born within, oh, 600 days of each other. From the complaints I've heard women would maybe be drawn to it and men would be drawn by the heavy favour of women in the women to men ratio of the site.
posted by Mitheral at 3:48 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


...there are plenty that specify a minimum salary, and more than a few that specify that the man in question must wear a suit to work.

Welcome to Earth - men and women look for different things when evaluating potential mates here.


The first woman I ever dated through an online dating site asked me point blank how much money MY PARENTS earned per year. Seeing that I was taken aback, she explained that she just wanted to know what my lifestyle expectations were, considering she had grown up with maids, nannies, etc. (we were both in our mid-20s at the time and I guess she figured since I hadn't reached my maximum earning potential yet she had to at least make an accurate guess). We've been together now for zero years and have zero children together.
posted by The Gooch at 3:55 PM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


And, to be clear -- my hatred of writing online dating emails does not come from laziness.

It comes from writing emails and not getting responses. So I agonize over my emails, "is this a good sentence? what if I change it? does that make me sound desperate?" and agonize and agonize and agonize, and still don't get a response. It's like I'm taking all my time and throwing into a black hole. I've written perfectly good 2nd and 3rd emails that didn't get responses. It's fucking horrible. I mean, they thought I was attractive enough to email to begin with, my first email was okay ... but then nothing. Nothing. Fucking nothing.

And it's no better if I just toss something off from the top of my head. In fact, usually it's worse. I'll look back and see glaring errors and thing "I can't believe I sent that."

The whole experience is like hitting myself over the head with a brick repeatedly for eternity.

I'd hate to say it, but it's actually made me hate emailing in general, not just dating emails.
posted by Sloop John B at 3:59 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I met my parents online - after being rejected by a number of douchebag couples who thought I was "too ugly" or "cries too much" or "has smelly nappy," I was contacted by Maude and Ira, a wonderful pair of wannabe parents from Ohio with open arms and open hearts, and we haven't looked back since.

Subsequently I met my brother Zac on-line, my dog Rufus, and the eighth grade English teacher who inspired me - with his unconventional attitude and love of poetry - to follow my dream to become an actor.

Later I met my agent, celebrity wife, drug dealer, and the police officer who arrested me for drunk driving and criminal damage - all online. Then the internet found me my cellmate (Laurence the Serial Killer), my undertaker, and the five people I met in Heaven.

Then I was reincarnated as a Tapir - and guess where I found the poachers who trapped me and cut off my trunk to sell as bush medicine?

So, in summary, avoid eharmonies.com - that shit is worse than crack.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:00 PM on August 5, 2010 [19 favorites]


I see what you did there.
posted by mippy at 4:08 PM on August 5, 2010


Nothing worse than getting rejected after a second or third email. Not getting a response from a first email? No big deal. It's like hitting on somebody at a bar and getting the cold shoulder. But after a second or third? That just sucks.

I hear you brother. I did the OK Cupid thing a long while back, before I met my present partner. Pretty small target demographic as far as my city is concerned, but still, a couple of girls I was interested in, so you send them a "Hello, I'm pretty new to this, how you doin'?" sort of email, and they write back all friendly like, so you write back with a bit more detail, and at some point three or four or more emails in there's suddenly this invisible cutoff point where you haven't said anything that you can detect a real problem with, but they've just arbitrarily decided "nope". It's like you're having a conversation with somebody over coffee and they suddenly get up and leave.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:12 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But how is this different than not heaing from someone after a few dates? I feel like that rejection is even harder because you've invested time in real life, and they're judging you on a 3-d version. I'd rather be rejected after 3 emails than 3 dates.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 4:23 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone been "successful" (defined I suppose as "finding a permanent partner") at online dating (not counting MetaFilter) after extended "failures"?

Technically, I have. When I first started online dating I had a couple of short-lived flings (under 2 months apiece), and then met someone that I ended up dating for a couple of years. Then we split up, although amicably for the most part, and in the five or six years since then I had many, many epic online dating failures. (My "favorite" is the guy I dated for 3 or 4 months, who once compared me to Jabba the Hutt in what has to be the worst post-coital humiliation I've ever experienced. Not surprisingly, I see via the intertubes that that dude is still single. Oh, how I laugh.)

It wasn't until I put myself on dating hiatus that I found a permanent partner. See, the thing is, I'm kinky. And I have some kinks that just weren't going to be met by your average joe. Specialized needs, y'know? I'd never done the casual-hookup thing, so I was very nervous, but I screwed my courage to the wall and put up an ad on the local alt-weekly's kinky personals section. I met a couple of people who were very nice and had a lot to offer but whom I just didn't click that well with, so I saw them a couple of times and then moved on, no hurt on either side. The third person I met up with ended up staying for breakfast the next morning, and we've been together ever since. (I meet his parents in a couple of weeks. Oh god, my poor nerves.)

I guess the point of my story is, don't give up. If you're "failing", please, don't give up. Try a different dating site if you can -- I had the worst luck with OKC, but many of my friends have had excellent luck there, so obviously not every site is going to work for every person. Maybe try plentyoffish, or lavalife, or whatever the heck The Onion uses now. Check your local alt-weekly paper -- in Seattle, The Stranger is a great resource for both regular dating and kinkier/more casual interests. If you go to church, if you belong to any kind of club or volunteer org, USE THEM. Just don't give up. Hang in there, lonely friends.
posted by palomar at 4:23 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's always seemed to me that many of the criticisms that people give of online dating really apply to dating in general. It takes too long, there are a lot of assholes, people only care about looks, etc., etc. The thing is that dating online tends to minimize those problems by helping you weed out the obviously incompatible people quickly. For somebody like me--40s, plump, plain, shy woman--it was a lifesaver. It's hard for me to talk to new people, and all the men I know are married. I write well enough, so I worked hard on attracting attention with my profile. I didn't even put up a picture, just said I wasn't skinny or beautiful and it worked out amazingly well for me.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 4:32 PM on August 5, 2010


Hear that all you lonely people out there? hal_c_on thinks you're going to die alone, and it's for the good of the human race.

Disgusting.


After watching you jump down someone's throat for what's clearly a joke (albeit not in great taste, but what joke is?), reading all about how impressively bitter you are, and hearing about how much you had invested in a few emails... I'm not so certain that online dating is the problem.
posted by ripley_ at 4:33 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and look, he's "taken." How nice. It's like a rich person cruising through the ghetto and talk about how all the "maladaptive" poor people are being weeded out of the gene pool.

I understand bitterness, but believe me when I tell you that there is no bigger barrier to attracting someone than being bitter about past relationships/dating/women/men/etc. There is no better aphrodisiac than confidence (but not cockiness) - this goes for men and women. If someone thinks you are harboring resentment about dating or relationships, why would they want to date you or have a relationship with you? If someone puts their issues with self-esteem on full display, well that doesn't work either. It's best to work through these things, but you can fake it if you need. Confidence and self-esteem are malleable.

Even if you have good justification to be bitter, just let it go. It doesn't do anything to help you regardless.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:34 PM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel like that rejection is even harder because you've invested time in real life, and they're judging you on a 3-d version. I'd rather be rejected after 3 emails than 3 dates.

Well, both do suck, no doubt about it. But at least if someone rejects you after a date, they've met you. They have something real to base their opinion on. Being deep-sixed based on an email ... it just feels so fucking arbitrary. Like, if they actually gave you a chance, maybe they'd like you. But you'll never know.
posted by Sloop John B at 4:35 PM on August 5, 2010


Anyway, I'm not bitter towards women or anything like that. I just don't like online dating. Thought I made that clear.
posted by Sloop John B at 4:37 PM on August 5, 2010


've written perfectly good 2nd and 3rd emails that didn't get responses. It's fucking horrible. I mean, they thought I was attractive enough to email to begin with, my first email was okay ... but then nothing. Nothing. Fucking nothing.

It doesn't matter. If you get hung up on these things it will show. If you are just in it to have fun and don't get stressed about it, you'll do much better, and you won't have to work so hard.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I've had some luck with OKC. Most of the same general guidelines apply online as they do when you meet someone another way. Try to imagine the sort of person you'd like to be with, and then think about who you are, and whether you'd be attracted to someone like yourself. If not, work on that, then start dating again.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:42 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But how is this different than not heaing from someone after a few dates?

Well, because in my mind an exchange of emails is essentially a conversation, not a series of meetings.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:50 PM on August 5, 2010


My dog totally lied in her online personal ad.

Her profile said: "This great little dog has no bad habits." But the minute we got her home, she peed on the rug, and then started gnawing on a computer cable.

It sounds like this not dissimilar to what folks who use Match.com and the like experience from time to time.

(Fortunately, the "great" part was the absolute truth. The profile went on to describe her as giving new meaning to the term "short, wide load," which also proved to be absolutely correct.)

And to be fair, the whizzing-on-the-carpet thing was pretty much our fault.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:51 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I definitely agree with palomar that each site has its own distinctive culture and clientele. I was on true.com briefly and got a zillion e-mails from 20-something guys, and I have no idea why. (Some sort of older woman fantasy? I don't have a clue.) The site seems geared more toward hook-ups than anything else. I was rejected as unmatchable by eHarmony.com (!!), so I don't know the culture there. Match.com seems more aimed at those looking for LTRs, what with asking about kids, religion, etc.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2010


Oh my. I've been delaying getting into the whole online dating thing. But I guess I know I'm going to, eventually. The Phoenix area isn't a hugely gay-supportive community and I'm not a fan of the bar scene.

It's too bad we don't have a MetaMatch. (Or is it?)
posted by darkstar at 6:04 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I was rejected as unmatchable by eHarmony.com (!!)"

Ouch. Who knew this happens? Do any other sites do this or is is it so common place as to not be notable?

darkstar writes "It's too bad we don't have a MetaMatch. (Or is it?)"

Throw a meetup.
posted by Mitheral at 6:05 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


eHarmony rejects a lot of people. I hear religion has a lot to do with it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:11 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, more like eBigotry, then.
posted by darkstar at 7:12 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Hear that all you lonely people out there? hal_c_on thinks you're going to die alone, and it's for the good of the human race."

Instead of "fuck off and die" it's more of a "don't fuck and die off."

♥,
Eideteker
posted by Eideteker at 7:13 PM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Reading between the lines of the explanation that eHarmony gave me when they rejected me, I got the impression that their matching algorithm based on personality test scores can only reliably match certain "types" identified by the test. I suspect I didn't fall into one of the types. I was irritated at having spent all that time answering what seemed like a billion questions, but also a bit bemused, since I didn't know you could be rejected as a potential date before you even got on the damn website.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:47 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


jenfullmoon, do you have a source for the religion thing? That would be interesting, if true; I'm an atheist, and anti-atheist bigotry doesn't surprise me at all any more.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:51 PM on August 5, 2010


More on eHarmony's approach, here. Evidently, the founder is a good friend of James Dobson (the evangelical leader of Focus on the Family). The founder is on record saying that he "doesn't know enough about same-sex relationships to effectively match them," which, if the trends hold, is probably some kind of code for "I did lines of righteous blow off my poolboy's ass all weekend."

Nevertheless, eHarmony lost a lawsuit brought against them for discriminating against LGBT. They eventually allowed gays and lesbians to use their main website instead of shunting them off to another matchmaking site.

Interesting tidbit: I just went to eHarmony and entered "Man" in the "I am a" box and it automagically switched the "searching for" entry to "Woman". Maybe that's just being helpful to the majority of their users, but still.
posted by darkstar at 9:15 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Hear that all you lonely people out there? hal_c_on thinks you're going to die alone, and it's for the good of the human race."

Wow. At first, I was going to engage you, then I realized it would be not be fair to the community, nor the thread. I also realized that you were just trying to start shit since you are kinda yelling at people on the internet and telling them to get made at me.

If you want to continue this, take it to metatalk.

Otherwise, I hope you have an excellent rest of the day, and we can end this here.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well here in Seattle, talking with strangers at bars isn't allowed, so online dating is the only option.

Well, you can pretend you're gay, meet them at Neighbours, and then slowly reveal the truth, but they're starting to catch on.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:29 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finding Twu Wuv is great but it's not the only thing. I am 10x less lonely, but 1000x more frazzled than I was as a single not-mom.

And some days, I spend hours fantasizing about the alternate universe where I live in a quiet apartment responsible for no-one but myself and maybe a dog and travel all the time and go to movies. Oh man.


God, I remember those days, emjaybee. Intensely imagining an apartment filled with only my own things, with only myself to clean up after, where I could have a nap anytime I wanted and luxuriate in the silence. The day I returned from helping my son move to another city I shut the apartment door behind me and swooned over the quiet and the solitude. I've been luxuriating in it ever since. And I adore my son... but as I've grown older it appears I love my privacy even more.

On the other hand, I now have cats. So there you go.
posted by jokeefe at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2010


PS I wouldn't have traded having a child for anything, though.
posted by jokeefe at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. At first, I was going to engage you, then I realized it would be not be fair to the community, nor the thread. I also realized that you were just trying to start shit since you are kinda yelling at people on the internet and telling them to get made at me.

FWIW, I took your comment much the same way Sloop John B (and, you might note, thankyouforyourconsideration as well) did.
posted by asterix at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2010


As a relatively recently divorced man (early 40s even, had no idea we were an endangered species) who joined (and paid for a couple months) of match.com, and has been on number of dates with bunches of women I met via the site, here is how I'd sum up online dating and the women I've gone out with:

"Smart, Sexy, Sane. Pick two. OH MY GOD, NOT THOSE TWO!"

(Or maybe you only get to pick one of those.)

OK, all kidding aside, it's been an interesting and not unpleasant experience. Perhaps it's because I live in Salt Lake City (as a part of the teeny (though growing) contingent of non-mormons here), but I've been surprised by how traditional the dating world and gender roles still are. Women don't generally contact men. I didn't join thinking I'd be able to kick back and all the hot women would flow toward me, since it's obvious I'm quite the catch (/sarcasm), but I've been surprised by how much work it all is. I've taken to asking the women I've met through Match whether they ever do the "asking" and so far none of them have. It's a bit like the dances back in my junior high days and all the girls are waiting for the boys to come out of the woodwork. Again, maybe it's just SLC and we're not quite so progressive around here. Might also be my age range (40s).

Though this is hardly scientific, I think for every ten messages I send to women on the site I get one response back. So yeah, rejection is a huge part of the whole deal. Once I was able convince my overly-sensitive, butt-hurt prone self that rejection was a part of the "game," things got a lot better for me. For the first couple weeks, I'd pour over my search results, think long and hard about who I chose to email and treat every message I'd send as if it were my only shot at happiness, crafting and editing until I felt I'd written exactly the right thing. Not too long. Not too short. Just the right balance of supposed wit and earnest seriousness. It's possible I'll eventually spend less time on my novel's query letter to an agent than I did on those first few emails. Good lord, but I slaved over that stuff.

After an extended period of an empty mailbox and an equally empty social calendar, I figured out that it seems that a part of online dating is "casting a wide net" and to a certain degree, becoming a viagra spammer. (Insert your own viagra/dating pun/joke here.) Do I now message every woman who meets my search criteria? Of course not, that'd be icky and creepy, but I have found myself sending out more messages (albeit with a lot less perseverating over the content) and my "response rate" has gone up.

Anyway, yeah, I think you do have to treat it a bit like it's a job. Sucks, but that's the way it is.

Just thought of something else. I'm coming to the realization that paid online dating services are a bit of a sucker's bet. For one thing, notwithstanding all their claims of people meeting their soul mates via a paid dating site, it's not in the financial interests of these places to have you find your soul mate there. Because if you find "happily ever after," now they've lost at least one subscriber, possibly two. And it can't just be about the revenue stream either. All of these places love to boast about how many members they have. ("30K of singles signing up every millisecond!" or some such.) It's a numbers game on many levels. Plus, if you've signed up, the only way you can do anything but merely exist as a floating head in a sea of search results is to shell out some cash. You can't message people without being a paid member. Say someone sees your profile and thinks you're the bees knees and sends you a message. Sorry, pal, we're going to need to see a credit card on the table before we can let you read that message, even if you have the bees-iest knees the world has ever seen.

And! (since I'm kind of in "rant" mode now) They totally play into the insecurity that some people (ahem, people like me, basically), might feel about messaging a stranger. You pay them a few bucks extra per month and match.com will let you know that the person you messaged has read the message you sent. Imagine you spent the better part of an evening and a six pack of Diet Coke coaxing out the perfect opening message to the woman of your dreams? "OMG! HAS SHE READ IT YET? I MUST KNOW! ACK!" Relax, Chester, give us that credit card number again and we'll ease your anxieties and let you know whether or not she's read your heartfelt opening salvo. How do they do this? Member's messages go through a re-mailer (partially for decent and valid anonymity reasons, of course) and each message has an ID and tracking mojo in the re-formatted message body (the old 1x1 invisible GIF trick, basically). Thanks, no. Not only am I not really that insecure (thank you, therapy! Huge smooches!), but I'm not throwing away my hard earned $2, just so I can know some that woman's email client requested a GIF file off match.com's servers. And there are other "upsell" additions you can purchase like an anonymous phone number or you can buy "premium" placement in search results. Gah!

Which is not to say that I think the basic stuff is a bad deal, really. I've met some great folks and I've now got a few "truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction" stories about my dating experiences in my pocket. But I'll just as likely not re-up once my subscription gets close to expiration.
posted by zuhl at 12:10 AM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was going to be like "man I do not do the internet dating" but then I realized that everyone I'm currently makin' out with I met via events organized around the internet so...

I guess what I'm saying is brush your teeth before you go to metafilter meetups.

Some people are much more likely to pull in real life than on the internet, so, you know, if you're not that charming on the internet try something else? I was on OK Cupid for a couple of weeks once before I realized that I was getting much less interest than I would in real life from the same guys. I was getting tossed based on "obvious incompatibilities" or just plain old "we have nothing in common". I'm not significantly into art, music, museums, fonts, history, literature, poetry, food, film, shakespeare, the news, or video games. Reading that, I'm like, jesus, dating her would be like talking to a wall. So, that's why internet dating does not seem like it's for me. Oh, and I'm fat.

Generally, polyamorous people seem to be obsessed with OK Cupid. I guess it's cool that you can be married and still looking.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:42 AM on August 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Has anyone been "successful" (defined I suppose as "finding a permanent partner") at online dating (not counting MetaFilter) after extended "failures"?

I wouldn't characterise my first efforts as 'failures', but basically I fit this pattern.

I signed up for a dating site, contacted a number of women, heard back from some. Went on some dates, had a few short-term flings which weren't serious, but hey, were sexy funtime. Had the same pattern as others of not getting replies to my emails (don't take it personally, my theory is that the gender-inbalance on these sites means that most women are probably talking to a lot of men, and it's too much effort to keep up with all of them).

Had the contacts from totally inappropriate people (ones who didn't match ANYTHING in my 'looking for', but figured they'd contact me anyway...). Had the coffee date where she didn't even stay long enough to order coffee before deciding that she wasn't interested.

In between all this, met and fell for someone from a messageboard who lived about 18 hours flight from me, and tried a LDR for a while, which worked just as well as you'd expect.

By this point was about ready to give up when someone messaged me, who I'd had on my list of 'women I might want to contact' [I was only chatting with a couple at a time, too much time otherwise].

We've been together for six years this......oh shit it's our anniversary sometime in the next couple of days and I haven't planned anything and I don't know the exact date.....
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:32 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love OKCupid. Contrary to what I'm hearing from others, around 90% of the women I message send me a reply (and I'm hardly an amazing catch.) Sometimes it fizzles out after that, sometimes we meet up. I'm constantly surprised at how many interesting, cool, attractive women I'm meeting. Meanwhile, in the "real world" I still can't get a date to save my life. I can't or won't chat up strangers, and most of the friends-of-friends I meet are already taken. So yeah, three cheers for this online dating thing.
posted by naju at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2010


I met the husband via nerve personals in the early 2000s. He was the first person I wrote to. It was definitely a smaller more distinct feeling pool then. Most people I know have done online dating and are dating someone now that they met online. I know a couple that have married people they met online.

It still carries a stigma for some. A young and dim sounding woman behind me in line yesterday was telling a male friend about OK cupid. She was saying that she didn't understand why her female friends were using it because they were"like really cute" and you know how she's not desperate because she doesn't need a man and how her friends were ending up on dates with "tatooed guys from the Mission".

IMO it's just another place to shop for a mate.
posted by oneear at 10:56 AM on August 6, 2010


I have two friends who met their partners online-- one on Lavalife (8 years and counting) and one, believe it or not, through Craigslist (attended their wedding in April). They are the only two people I know who have used online services (or have admitted to doing so), so I have to say that it works 100% of the time!
posted by jokeefe at 11:04 AM on August 6, 2010


I don't know. I have very, very mixed feelings about online dating.

When I was in my late 20s--it was great. The pool was pretty vast. Went on some ok dates. Went on one Twilight Zone weirdo date (when someone gives you a card about knight in shining armor, your his princess and he told his mom about you ON THE FIRST DATE, then it's red flags), and finally met my husband via Match.com.

Best friend met her husband through the newspaper personals (to me that was weird).

Now I have a beautiful kid and probably on our way to a divorce (a brutal one at that).

My perspectives about dating have been totally skewed now. I don't trust anyone now that I"m pushing 40 and with a kid.

If only everything was all eharmony hunky dory, life is now perfect and you found a normal, non abusive prick who loves you and your child endlessly.

Yea...probably not going to happen.

Fuck.
posted by stormpooper at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never used a dating site, but I highly recommend meeting people in games. That's how I met my current girlfriend, and introduced one of my best friends to his wife. This was all around 6 years ago, everybody's still together.

In general, I think activities are the best place to meet friends or potential partners (as opposed to places where singles are supposed to congregate). You already have a shared interest to break the ice. Even better, you get to see how they handle interacting with people on a normal basis, rather than when they're on the prowl and on their best behavior.
posted by mordax at 11:59 AM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Had the coffee date where she didn't even stay long enough to order coffee before deciding that she wasn't interested.

Argh. That would be my biggest fear. It seems like that sort of rejection is almost worse than a traditional style rejection. She knows a little about you and seems to like the idea of you, but one look in reality and ...

Despite pictures (and video, I guess), you're not gonna know if you're physically and three-dimensionally attracted to someone until you meet in person. "IRL," that comes first. With "online dating," you get to know each other online first, then meet second. (I'm not sure how well you get to know each other first, I suppose.)

That could be OK for some, but it also seems to expose people to an extra dose of rejection. You might share the same artistic likes/dislikes, the same political philosophy, even share the same kinks, but when you meet, she or he could still look you up and down, turn around, and walk away.

She likes your personality, but won't even give you 30 minutes to turn her on (I'm not describing your incident, IJ). Harrrumpf, I say.

I guess what I'm saying is that knowing and liking someone before meeting them in real life could color your perception of that person, and seems likely to inflate expectations of their attractiveness to you. So when you meet, there's going to be some disappointment and reluctance to give it a chance.

I was getting tossed based on "obvious incompatibilities" or just plain old "we have nothing in common". I'm not significantly into art, music, museums, fonts, history, literature, poetry, food, film, shakespeare, the news, or video games.

And that's the other thing. I don't really get along that well with people who share the same music, movie, art, or literary interests as me. I'm sure I am not the only one like that...

Almost none of my friends have ever liked the same music as me (though some of us bend our tastes for each other), or movies, really. I grew up as: AM radio > Def Leppard > Stones/Zep > Prince > Echo > REM > Smiths > Cure > Fugazi > Stone Roses > Built to Spill > Radiohead > Mates of State, etc. My wife is a Dave Matthews fan. She owned not only a Crash Test Dummies CD when we met, but also ... Collective Soul!

My favorite movies are Dead Man, Lost Highway, Henry Fool, and Clifford. My wife's are When Harry Met Sally, The Untouchables, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. My wife loves photography and photographic art; I like abstract/modern.

I'm a big sports fan, multiple sport player, former basketball and soccer coach. My wife hates sports. I like poker or any card games, or any games actually. My wife doesn't play games. I like long novels, short stories, and poetry. My wife reads nonfiction and the Sookie Stackhouse books.

My wife believes in astrology and I am a rational human being, etc ...

We obviously have things in common (politics mostly, and rockin' out with your cock out, or jammin' out with your clam out), but we get along so well (~10 years now) because we generally share the same outlook on life and click physically. We like the independence that our different tastes and hobbies provide. Also, she likes to talk and I like to listen. ;)

The point being, I guess, I don't think we would have never met "online." Anywhere online. And even if we had met online, our first date would have probably been our last. Neither of us was attracted to the other at first. It was only after knowing her for a while and working with her that I became attracted to her and she to me.

Oh, and I'm fat.

That's another thing ... attraction is so flexible, I think. Someone who is unattractive on paper or in photos might become attractive to you in real life.

I had the chance to go out drinking last week, and a friend stood me up, so I ended up chatting with a lovely, large woman. Very large, very butch, very foul-mouthed. Like some of my friends, but generally the opposite of "my sexual type." By the time I finished talking to her, however, she looked like an entirely new person to me, and much more attractive. (Not a "beer goggles" thing; I'm married and have no interest in hooking up with anyone.)

My guess is that you and other larger people would have more success IRL than online, but that could just be me. Good luck.

I guess it's cool that you can be married and still looking.

Isn't that how one of the sites markets itself: "there's nothing wrong with looking"? Shameless. I think zuhl has a good point: these sites have a vested interested in maintaining a large customer base. They have an inherent disincentive to discourage long-term relationships. And the premium up-sells sound sad.

Anyway tl;dr from somone who's never "online dated." My impression is that online-dating sites are better for hookups and good stories; you're more likely to find a long-term partner on the free Internet at large, e.g. MeFi meetups. Or what mordax just said.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:03 PM on August 6, 2010


My guess is that you and other larger people would have more success IRL than online, but that could just be me. Good luck.

Thank you. I'm rather more successful than I can handle at the moment!


Isn't that how one of the sites markets itself: "there's nothing wrong with looking"? Shameless.

Yeah, that's creepy. OKCupid, in contrast, allows people to list themselves as married and/or taken, meaning, present themselves honestly, and still use the site. Hence it's popularity with the honesty-obsessed polyamory set. Obviously, some of these people are scumbags, but a good chunk of them are ethical non-monogamists.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:02 PM on August 6, 2010


I hope you have an excellent rest of the day, and we can end this here.

Knowing how hard it can be to walk away from an internet fight, I just wanted to say good on ya' for that.

Personally, I can't help but wonder if there are a set of common characteristics amongst those where online dating isn't working out. Are there correlations in geography, age, hobbies, height, weight, race? I'm genuinely curious. Are people striking out specifically at online dating, or are they striking out IRL as well and the online striking-out is merely a reflection of the whole?

I'm also curious: how exactly does it work with dating sites after you've gotten together? Is there a button that declares that user CATSR4SM and DOG43VA are now married? Seems like you basically just stop using the site, right? Then go back again if it doesn't work out? If there was a way to rate or summarize user matches ("on a 1-10, rate your last date with MCDUDE") it would be a sociological gold mine.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:17 PM on August 6, 2010


With "online dating," you get to know each other online first, then meet second.

I believe that these people are doing it wrong. They should be quick to go on a date.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 5:33 PM on August 6, 2010


I'm also curious: how exactly does it work with dating sites after you've gotten together? Is there a button that declares that user CATSR4SM and DOG43VA are now married?

On OKCupid, at least, if you deactivate or delete your account it gives you the option to tell them why you're doing it; if you select "met someone on OKCupid" it will require you to put in their username.

Seems like you basically just stop using the site, right? Then go back again if it doesn't work out?

You can just do that (although you'll still get e-mails from the service), or you can deactivate or delete your account. Either one looks to other users as if your info is gone permanently, but if you deactivate it saves your profile so you can pick back up where you left off later.
posted by asterix at 5:34 PM on August 6, 2010


Knowing how hard it can be to walk away from an internet fight, I just wanted to say good on ya' for that.

Thanks dude. You had some good discussion points, lets discuss that.

Personally, I can't help but wonder if there are a set of common characteristics amongst those where online dating isn't working out.

The way I see it, people do the online profile thing when they can't/don't want to meet new people in their everyday life. Work 18 hours a day at a mortuary...online dating may be for you since you can't really have a legal relationship with someone you meet at work. Are you a 21 year old at a small college where everyone knows everyone's business...but still in a large city? New to the area? TONS of reasons...but basically...meeting new people that are "dateable" in real life is either not an option, or not a successful one. THATS the way I think people should view online dating. Its my own personal opinion...and its not fact, just my own take.

A lot of dudes go on to online dating sites expecting it to be a shopping cart online experience. The reasons they cant seem to draw interest in a girl in real life is the same reason they cant seem to draw interest in a girl online. This is a huge generalization based on my own experiences as an observant human.

But seriously, if you talk like an asshole...you probably write like an asshole. Personality doesn't change just because the medium does.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:46 PM on August 6, 2010


Guys, the tagline was "It's OK to look" and it was specifically made in reference to the fact that you can search through the site and see who's on it before joining or paying for anything. eHarmony specifically won't let you join or see photos or who's on there until you take some 500 question test or whatever.

It wasn't referencing married people cheating or anything like that, but I guess taken out of context it can seem skeevy. This was around the same time as the Chemistry "rejected" ads that put eHarmony on blast and ultimately resulted in the discrimination lawsuit that darkstar referenced above.

I'm pointing this out because before these "rejected" ads, it was largely unknown that eHarmony rejected gays and lesbians outright.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:01 AM on August 7, 2010


The way I see it, people do the online profile thing when they can't/don't want to meet new people in their everyday life.

My parents' pastor met his wife on eHarmony. It's not like he was able to hit on the women at the one place he spends all his time: church!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:19 PM on August 7, 2010


Um......I think I may have met someone on facebook?

**ducks, runs**
posted by 8-bit floozy at 4:49 PM on August 7, 2010


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