Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images
Online dating seemed like a no-brainer to me. I don't have a big social circle and I rarely visit bars. My solo time is limited. I work at home, so I don't meet new people often. What could go wrong with sites that essentially allow me to narrow down guys to my specific standards? In short? Everything.
Online dating brings out the worst in people
When I say worst, I can only assume that some of the messages I've received are the worst these guys have to offer. The day I opened a profile on OKCupid, I received a proposition for anal sex, a request to be the only woman attending a beachside bachelor party, an invitation to join a married couple in bed and an offer to have my toes sucked on. In the year since then, I've saved quite the backlog of astoundingly inappropriate icebreakers.
I've never seen so many fish in my life
This is not a euphemism. And it's also saying a lot, since my dad and brother are commercial fishermen. Maybe it's because I live in Florida, but I am not kidding when I say that around one in every five photos I come across are guys holding fish. It used to be kind of cute, and I actually enjoy fishing, but now I can't stop laughing every time I see a shirtless guy proudly hefting a giant fish as if to say, "I can provide for you, woman!"
So many first dates
First dates are a lot like job interviews. There's that flutter of nerves, the whole confirming where and when thing, and the getting slightly more dressed up than usual. And then there are the questions. So. Many. Questions. With the exception of one incredible first date that lasted for hours and ended with a sweet, memorable kiss, the rest have been awkward as hell. Every first and last date makes the prospect of more first dates a little less appealing.
Online dating leads to surprises — not the fun kind
In my year and a half of dating, I've learned that some questions are really important — but also really awkward to ask. They're usually not the questions answered by cute little dating surveys. How do you ask things like, "So, will I find a mug shot if I Google you?"
As a result, I've been surprised by little details like:
- Still married
- Got divorced less than a week ago
- Has a mug shot online
- Oh, yep, another mug shot
- Raging homophobe
- By 5'10" he means 5'7"
Looking good on paper doesn't mean jack
My least favorite part of online dating is that I've really made a connection with several guys who ended up being super sweet, but not right for me. It's always really disappointing when a guy looks great on paper and it doesn't work out. I can tell within minutes of meeting a man whether or not there's serious attraction, and there's no way to get that sense without meeting. It doesn't matter if you have a zillion things in common and he's smart and funny and tall and great. If the chemistry isn't there, neither of you is probably going to want to carry on as pen pals.
I haven't entirely given up on online dating, but I've definitely given up on paying for it. Now I take that monthly fee and apply it to yoga classes. That way, when I finally make a love match, at least I'll be nice and bendy.