I’m single. Have been for a couple years now, after a long-term relationship ended and a short-term something-or-other never got off the ground. I don’t know if I’m “single and looking,” and that right there might mean I’m not in the eHarmony demographic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the AdultFriendFinder demographic either, but maybe I’m … Match.com? OKCupid? Entre Nous? I don’t know.
I’m not anti-commitment, I don’t play games or keep track of points; I’ve sown my wild oats. If the right woman came along, I’d have no problem with a relationship. I’m just not actively looking for her, because I’m not unhappy, I’m not unfulfilled.
But I don’t believe in destiny and soul mates, either. I don’t believe the right woman just trips and falls into your doorway. So I’m trying not to date women I know aren’t right for me — even if I’m not looking for something that’ll last long enough for that to matter.
This is the internet age, and I’ve moved a couple times in the last few years, often enough that my close friends — the ones most likely to hook me up with anybody and have a good sense if it was a good match — are scattered around the country. I work in a small office, too small to meet people at work — whether co-workers or customers. I have a friend who did very well with Match.com after a few misfires.
So I decided to sign up for something, a dating service, an online personal site, whatever you want to call it. I started small — more importantly, I started free — with OKCupid (www.okcupid.com), which has one main pro and one main con:
OKCupid pro: It’s a free site that hosts lots of quizzes, so if anyone you know finds out you have an account there, you have a perfectly non-embarrassing reason for it.
OKCupid con: It’s a free site that hosts lots of quizzes, so plenty of the people on it are there for perfectly non-embarrassing reasons … which can embarrass you if you message them thinking they’re open to getting to know strangers through an internet interface. The reactions if you happen to message someone who’s just there to fill out quizzes but has filled out a profile anyway can range from a simple non-response to disgusted outrage, as though you’re some syphilitic shut-in who has resorted to trolling for anonymous parking lot sex on the internet because you can’t attract anyone who’s actually met you and you can’t afford a good honest hooker.
But still, OKCupid is free, it’s user-friendly, it’s obviously run by intelligent people, and the ratio of quality content to dreck is better than most of the rest of the internet.
So I made a profile on OKCupid, and I tried to strike a balance between honesty and not making an ass of myself. It’s a hard thing, I found out — on the one hand, you need to give people enough to go on so that when they read your profile, they have some sense of you … some first impression. On the other, if you write too much or are too in-depth, too confessional, then you can seem like those folks you run into at the airport who suddenly start telling you about how they lost their virginity in a Dairy Queen parking lot.
I’m not saying you should over think this stuff, and I’m not saying I did … it’s just that there’s always a balance with these choices, and if you don’t put any thought into it at all, then why bother?
Well, I guess I didn’t do a terrible job, because I met a wide variety of women on OKCupid. By “met,” I’m including the whole range from “talked to a few times on the website” through “emailed back and forth many times” to “met and went out on dates with.” The balance was about what I expected: about a quarter crazy, a quarter making no impression, a quarter seeming just perfect except for having no interest in me, and a quarter that seemed all right and seemed to think I was all right too.
I liked OKCupid. It was pretty easy to use and there happened to be a lot of people registered in my area. In other, sparser parts of the country, I think I’d get frustrated at the fact that so many people are on the system without having any desire to use the personals/matching/dating aspect of it that put the Cupid in the name — I’m just imagining being in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, seeing that there are seven women in my area, and discovering that all seven of them just wanted to take a quiz to find out if they’d make a good blacksmith.
But I hadn’t made a love connection. I hadn’t even made a good friend, or met someone I wanted to keep dating.
So I moved on … to eHarmony.
Update: OkCupid was purchased by the company that owns Match.com®.