Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventures in Online Dating

I can't believe I just typed that title. Here we go...

This is a stupidly long post so I've broken it up with funny pictures from my Pinterest. Some of them are relevant and some of them are totally not. I've sourced below each pic.
Have you seen You've Got Mail ? The movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and the cutest little bookstore on the Upper West Side? I love that movie. It's got a special place in my heart because the whole little indie bookstore fighting the big box store and losing is a story close to my heart. It's also one of the first popular movies in which the two main characters/love interests meet on the internet. Obviously Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox met in an online chat-room instead of on a dating site but you get the idea.

After over a year of going back and forth and arguing with myself and others and swearing up and down that I would never ever resort to online dating, I gave it a shot this summer. At the end of July, at the urging of my bestest friend, I joined two dating sites. One I had seen commercials for and one I found after a quick Google search that seemed pretty decent. I'd like to share my experiences with you.

The first one I joined was How About We, which honestly looked like a lot of fun. You build a profile and establish some parameters of what you're looking for, and then post a date idea that starts with, "How about we...". Others can see your date idea, look at your profile, and if they like the idea of the date can say, "I'm Intrigued." Or they can choose not to interact with you at all. Some people post very clever dating ideas, like "How about we... go mini golfing and then get drinks after whiel we laugh about how bad we are at mini golfing." I thought that was cute. Others are more intellectual, like, "How about we... Brush up on our art appreciation and go to LACMA." Some are adventurous, like, "How about we... Take surfing lessons and then try to catch waves." or "How about we... Try Ethiopian food." Others are downright boring or even insulting like, "How about we... kick it." Seriously? Or even, "How about we... get offline and hook up." Honestly, try a little creativity, a little romance, a little class for crying out loud.

And the profile pictures some of these guys post are just creepy. All a lot of them need are lines behind them to look like mugshots. Some guys post very nice pictures and appear to be clean cut and decent but more often than not I'm pretty sure their mothers would be horrified.

from Pinterest

All the same, I chatted with a few nice guys and had a few coffee dates from How About We. Nothing exciting or creative like I was hoping for, but generally okay men for the most part.  However, nothing ever went past a first date, and each time we went for coffee. The first guy was very sweet but 30 years old (Honestly, the age range I'm interested in - 24-29 - is arguably quite narrow, but I'm trying to cap it at 30 because even 28 or 29 feels too old.) and there was zero chemistry. It used to be that I didn't really think that much of "chemistry" between two people but I'm realizing now that whatever it is (be it chemistry or attraction or whatever) that makes a relationship initially click is something I actually need. So date #1 from How About We was very nice - he took me to Barnes & Noble and bought me coffee and even bought a book I recommended - and we had a long and lovely conversation the end I feel like he was more interested in hearing me talk than in saying anything himself. So I thanked him profusely but explained that it didn't click for me and wished him well.  He was disappointed but understood what I meant. I like to think that someday he will find a woman who appreciates his quiet.

Guy #2 was very similar: Nice, polite, also drinks chai tea lattes. We talked about the places we've been and places we want to go, his job, my books, but after an hour or so I knew that it wasn't working. I'm pretty sure he knew it, too. He was very quiet, perfectly fine letting me do all the talking. I love talking, but I like a little give and take, you know? Super quiet guys are really, really draining on me. So I thanked him for a lovely evening (the parts he participated in really were pleasant) and we went our separate ways. 

via Pinterest
I've chatted and e-mailed a few other guys from How About We, but in general I haven't really gotten my money's worth. I suppose if you're interested in hooking up with a bunch of people then maybe it's for you but definitely not for me. I won't be renewing my subscription (which honestly was really cheap when I joined).

The other site I joined was Catholic Singles dot com. WOW. When I joined back in July, their website design was awful. I know I'm not one to talk because my site design is pretty crappy right now but seriously. It was all shades of brown and beige and was painful to look at and just downright ugly. However, the search options were pretty nice. Other major downside was that without a paid subscription you couldn't message other users. You could read messages sent to you, but you couldn't respond to them. I found that a lot of people were putting their phone numbers (idiots!) or e-mail addresses in the About Me section of their profiles kind of surreptitiously so that's what I did. I e-mailed a couple of guys that way but only heard back from one. However, he's a medical student studying for exams so I haven't heard from him since those first two e-mails. Which is a shame.

via Pinterest
Then there was Guy #3. Let's call him "Nick." Nick was a very nice guy. 26, employed, former military, recently moved back from the east coast, perfect gentleman with just a hint of a cute southern accent. He and I actually spent an hour on the phone three days before our first date which I really liked. I liked getting an idea of who a person is before meeting him.  We went out 3 times and our first date was at Downtown Disney. Major points for that, because I adore all things Disney. He took me to dinner, we walked around and wound up strolling around the resorts for SIX HOURS. We talked about everything under the sun from politics to our families to what we wanted in the future to our pasts. He made me laugh and didn't think my curiosity and childishness (come on, we were at Disneyland, don't expect me to be a grownup) was idiotic - he said it was endearing. At the end I asked him what he thought, of me and of our date (why am I so forward like that? I don't know, but it seems to work.) We agreed that it went very well and agreed to go out again in the next couple of weeks.

The following Sunday we went out to lunch close to my office and wound up walking around for a couple of hours at the petshop talking about our pets (he was a dog person) and more about the kind of family life we want for our futures. It was a nice time but I was beginning to feel like I didn't like him as much as he liked me and was pretty sure he wasn't the guy for me.

We met up the last time at the coffee shop up the street from my house and he spent the entire time talking about his ex and the drama surrounding that situation and told me that because he would be dealing with legal stuff with her that he wouldn't be able to see me for a few months. Truly, I was grateful. It saved me from having to tell him that the reality of it was that he needed to get his life sorted out before he was fit to engage in any kind of romantic relationship. That's why I waited so long to really start looking into this whole online dating fiasco: I wanted to at least kind of have my shit together. Which I do.

So in January I will deactivate my How About We profile. I haven't had any activity on Catholic Singles in over a month so I'll be deleting that one as well. I might give eHarmony a try since a number of my friends have had a great deal of success there. We shall see.

I realize that I have kind of ridiculously high standards for men. I want them to be outgoing but not dominating and opinionated but not obnoxious, Catholic all the way, family oriented, with job stability or at least sort of on track for their career plan, and obviously I want a decent human being.

I'm not sure such a person exists on the internet dating scene. I'll keep you posted. 




  1. Online dating is be honest, finding a friend is easier...starting out as friends is a really good base for a relationship. I suggest joining groups. Language classes, woodworking classes...any class that men join. That way you learn something new as well. Good luck

    1. Of course it's best to start as friends, but since I work by myself and there are no single young men in my church group, that's pretty difficult for me at this stage of my life. I joined a writer's workshop several months ago but stopped going because the group was going in a direction that didn't work for me. I volunteer a lot and teach in the evenings so I can't exactly join a woodworking class. Many of my friends have had success (however that's defined in dating) with online dating so I'm giving it a shot. Thanks for your comment.


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