If you’ve been on the Internet in last decade or so, you’ve probably been solicited to take part in online dating. There are a ton of well-known dating sites with new ones popping up every other day. Many people laugh at the thought of them, but honestly if you’ve been single for any amount of time after college, you’ve probably had an account at some point. Or at least seriously thought about having one.
It shouldn’t be embarrassing, but it can feel humiliating, even though so many people are doing it. It’s like us men having Kelly Clarkson albums we don’t want people to see. In some more progressive areas of the country, online dating is normal. In other cities, though, it still has a weird stigma attached to it. You probably know what I’m talking about.
A few years ago, I had an online dating profile. Actually, I had one on about three different sites. I also own two Kelly Clarkson albums and Sheryl Crow’s greatest hits. I just want to get all of this out there at once. For anyone that cares, here are some of my thoughts about online dating.
I don’t think it’s wrong.
Some people can act like you’re cheating in the game of love if you join in. Love is supposed to find you and you don’t have to search it out. I call bull crap on that. That might be true for some of you homecoming queens who have never had to try that hard for anything. The rest of us are not constantly getting hunted down for dates. Online dating opens some new doors.
Even if you’re a Christian, I don’t think God views online dating as a lack of trust in His sovereignty and goodness. The same way I don’t think He views your LinkedIn profile as defiance against Him bringing you a job.
I don’t think it makes you look desperate.
There’s that stigma I was talking about. If you’ve ever signed up for an account you’ve probably thought what I did: “Oh dear. It has come to this.” Some people (usually dating and married people) will say, “Come on, you don’t need this,” like they are Zach Morris talking Jessie Spano out of caffeine pills.
But if you’re asking me, online dating makes a lot of sense. A hard part about dating is figuring out if someone wants to actually go on a date. Online dating puts up a green light for everyone looking and files them all into one place. It’s really kind of genius. I don’t think you’re a desperate loser for signing on. And it doesn’t mean you have terrible social skills in public.
It can expose how shallow we really are.
I can’t speak for every single person, but I do think I speak for the majority on this one (especially the men.) It comes down to basically scrolling through pictures and picking out people you think are attractive. I’ve done it. And I’ve seen my guy friends skim through pictures of girls the way you scroll through your new iTunes agreement.
As I said, I tried online dating once or twice, but each time I ended up shutting it down after a couple weeks. I never met up with anyone even once.
Firstly, and to be quite candid, I don’t think I had a lot of luck due to my height. I read some online studies recently and it said that most women look for men that are 6 feet tall. For example, in Manhattan, men under 5’9” have around a 2% chance of being contacted by a woman. That gives you an idea. So there you go, guys. Sorry.
But don’t feel too sorry for me yet.
I messaged a couple of girls, and when I wouldn’t hear anything back it made me feel bad. On the other hand, I would be messaged by girls and never write some of them back, and that made me feel bad about not responding. It can be a cruel cycle that takes you back to your high school insecurities.
Scrolling through profiles started to feel like I was picking out a dog. People can put on there what type of person they want. Hair color. Height. Race. Body type. Interests. It’s kind of crazy to get that detailed. Is that shallow? In the words of Michael Scott, “I really can’t say… but yes.”
It endangers your ability to actually function without it.
As with everything I ever post, this is a personal view of mine. That being said, I think that the more you get used to your first interaction with someone being through an email, you may start to get worse in your first interactions in person.
I know now some people prefer starting online first. I’m not Hitch, but I do think there’s something important about body language, eye contact, physical touch—you have all that stuff in your arsenal when you’re communicating in person.
If you’re like me and you rely on your personality a lot more than your looks, online dating can be a death trap waiting to suck out the confidence you have in yourself. Maybe I was just terrible at online dating, but I think I was an in-person person trying to be an online person and it just didn’t work for me.
Your dating life is up to you.
People will analyze this dating stuff forever, and it’s not always bad. I’ve just come to the conclusion that no two dating stories are ever the same. What works for someone doesn’t automatically work for someone else. We don’t have to guess our way through it all completely, but we have to get used to being open to change.
I know a few different couples that met though online sites and are now married. (None from Missed Connections on Craigslist though… funny.) There is also research showing that couples that meet online have higher satisfaction rates and lower divorce rates. I’m not Dr. Love here to tell you what to do. Although, if you want to call me Dr. Love, I won’t stop you. I’m just giving you my two cents, hoping that maybe my two cents will save someone 200 dollars worth of bad dating.