I know what you’re probably thinking, ‘She’s 21 and has to resort to online dating? What’s wrong with her?’ Okay, maybe not all of you are thinking that, but some of you are. So why did I decide to try it? In all honesty, I was bored. And I hadn’t been meeting too many quality guys recently, and it sounded like it wouldn’t require as much effort as physically going out, getting all done up and attempting to attract some normal guys my age (which by the way is quite the challenge). All I had to do was put up a few pictures of myself, write a few short blurbs about my interests and what I want in a guy, and then the men would flock to me! Well, that and the $24.95 fee per month, but i was able to get out of that one by joining and then getting the 3-day refund.
My next task was to decide which website to join. Match.com and E Harmony were the first two that popped into my head. I decided on Yahoo Personals because my coworker who ended up meeting her husband on that site gave it the uttermost praise, and I liked the fact that it allowed me to make my profile for free and I could receive messages from and send “winks” to other members without having to pay, unlike sites like Match where you have to sign up before you can even see who’s viewed your profile or written to you. I’d prefer to see who is interested in me before I pay, if you know what I mean!
Then I had the fun part where I could put up different pictures of myself. I made sure to put up recent pictures that definitely looked like me. I didn’t want to get into one of those awkward situations where you meet the person and they go, ‘But you look nothing like your picture!’ which would be quite embarassing. Of course I put up pictures where I looked my best, including my Halloween picture where I was a Playboy Bunny and an action shot of me running across the beach in my bikini for a surf dvd I was in last summer. My coworker then proceeded to scold me with motherly advice. “You can’t put up skimpy pictures like that!” she said. “You’re only going to attract the wrong kind of guys who want one thing from you!” So I put up some additional pictures that would be deemed more “conservative”, but I kept up the previous pictures I mentioned. I looked good in them, so why not? Besides, I made sure to depict myself as an independent, intelligent young woman in my profile, to offset any preconceived notions a guy looking at my pictures might develop about me.
I made sure to mention in my profile that I was not on the site because I was desperate. (I didn’t use those exact words, but I just basically mentioned that it was hard meeting quality guys and that I have a certain set of standards that need to be met, so I thought I’d try something new). I also said that I was content being single, but that if I did meet someone incredible then I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity either. I also described my ideal guy: under 30, attractive, well-traveled, goal-oriented, etcr. Then I left my profile alone for a week before going back to check out my responses.
I had over 200 men view my profile in 7 days! I had a ton of messages to read, and I’d received “winks” and “flirts” from various guys who were either too shy to write me an actual message, or like myself, they weren’t a member yet and wanted to “test the waters” before making the investment. When looking through the men that had written me, I was amazed at how many men ignored my specific request that they be under the age of 30 and decided to write to me anyway. Either they didn’t take the time to note that, or they felt that they were a unique and exceptional individual who I would just fall in love with, despite the fact that they were 42 years of age with a kid. One of the guys who was a dad was actually really good-looking, but who was I kidding? I’m not ready to be a stepmom, and I don’t know if I ever will be. Then there was the guy who wrote to me and said, “I may be a bit older, but feel free to call me Daddy.” Delete!
I ended up narrowing it down to 5 guys,and in the end went on dates with 3. The first guy I went out with I’m not going to lie, I absolutely fell in love with him before I met him (which was very bad on my part). He was a year older than me and had played college baseball, and I must admit, I was wondering what he was doing on the site! He pursued me quite persistently through messages, then emails, and we chatted online every night for about a week. It seemed like we had this amazing connection and were destined for eachother. I was beginning to think online dating was quite the thing to do! Then he decided to ask me out on a date, and I was like an ecstatic high school girl. The day before our date he kept emailing me all day telling me how excited he was and how he thought our date was going to turn out really well. Then he decided to give me a phone call the night before to chat . I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I was when we spoke. He was not a good conversationalist and while he sounded hot over the phone, I just felt no connection to him. It was almost painful speaking to him. But I ignored my intuition and thought things would turn out better when we met.
He picked me up at my house the next night, and when he came up the stairs I was amazed at how gorgeous he was. He was definitely one of the best looking guys I have ever seen. I made sure to look really good as well, and he looked happy to see me. We went out to dinner, he opened the doors for me and he paid, we had a pretty good conversation about sports and school and the like, and while there was physical attraction on both parts, I could tell there was still something missing. Then we took a walk after dinner and out of nowhere he planted a huge makeout kiss on me in front of everyone and while I was flattered it was a bit overbearing. Then he just kept on trying to kiss me the rest of the night and was biting my neck and I ended up with horrible hickeys all over and felt like an immature school girl the next day. I could tell he was the typical, good looking all-American jock that most people hated in high school. He was used to having girls throw themselves at him, and he seemed a little taken aback that I wasn’t doing the same. After the date we emailed and chatted a few more times online, but I just knew there wasn’t enough there. I was really bummed out, I think because he and I had expected so much from the date and built it up in our minds, and then we were brought back to a painful reality when we actually went out. So the first thing I learned is that you shouldn’t expect too much on the first date, and just because you really get along and connect through emails and online chat does not mean you have a genuine connection. And always be wary of guys who want to know what your “perfect guy” consists of, because they then try to turn into that guy, and it’s all an act. Oh, and don’t let a guy give you hickeys on the first date, thats just cheap.
Date number two was a pre-med student at a well-known UC school and he was my age, a cute and clean cut guy. We had really good over the phone chemistry and would chat for hours, but since he lived kind of far away it was hard to pick a day to get together. Then he surprised me by asking me to be his Valentine’s Date and he drove all the way up to see me and we got all dressed up and went to a fancy restaurant by the beach. He was really nice and cute in a boy-next-door kind of way, and he paid for everything. We laughed a lot and learned a lot about each other, but I personally felt more of a platonic vibe with him. I saw him as the guy friend I could go out dancing with or have a good time with, but not boyfriend material, especially since we don’t live near eachother and since he does live in a party house with six other guys. However, I still consider him my best Valentine’s date as of yet.
My third and final date was with a 26 year old school teacher/baseball coach (I don’t know what it is with me and the baseball players!) And we started out emailing then chatted on the phone for about a week. He was really nice but a bit more mature than I am, as in he was already finished with school and in his career and looking to buy property and I just didn’t feel that we were at the same mental level. I could tell that his goal was to have a relationship and we lived about 40 minutes away from eachother and that’s not exactly a good distance, especially if you plan to commute several times a week, but he was attractive and I thought, what have I got to lose? He was also good looking in person (a little on the short side) but he picked me up and my parents liked him and we went to dinner at one of my favorite Hawaiian restaurants and once again, there was more physical attraction than mental. Not that we didn’t agree on things, but I just felt like he would expect a lot and I wouldn’t be able to satisfy his specific wants. After dinner he took me home, and that was the end of that. I wasn’t in the least bit upset, he told me I looked amazing and he paid for dinner, so I was a happy camper.
You may wonder why I decided to stop after only 3 dates. The reason was that I don’t think online dating is for me. At least not at this point in my life, although I don’t think I ever want to do it again. I prefer meeting people in person, because generally you know within the first 5-10 minutes if there is any chemistry there and I’ve had better experiences with guys I know personally who take me out on dates. You’re always taking a chance when you meet some random person, and in my opinion there’s less pressure when a guy asks you face to face, because he already knows what you look like and has an idea of your personality, unlike a total stranger over the internet who has a few pictures of you and sentences to go by on. There’s always the chance they’ll be disappointed with you in person, or the chemistry will be lacking, or whatever. I’m sure if I had gone on say, ten more dates, there’s the chance I would have made a genuine connection with someone, but I’m okay with the fact that I didn’t. I’m still really young, and it’s not like I have trouble meeting people. I think my problem was that I was just searching too hard for a guy. My mom said that it always happens when you least expect it, so I’m not trying and guys aren’t my focus at the moment. However, I’m still glad that I gave the online dating thing a try in order to realize that it wasn’t for me, but I think it is a great option for other people, perhaps people who aren’t able to get out that often to meet people or for people who are more shy and have problems approaching strangers in public.
All in all, everything is a chance, a risk. There is potential everywhere, so don’t ever sell yourself short. If you find yourself having trouble meeting people of the opposite sex or you’re disappointed with the “caliber” of people you meet, I suggest you create an online profile. Don’t purchase a membership just yet, but wait for a few weeks and look at all the responses you get. If you end up finding a few people that you think you could actually see yourself going out with, join for a month. You’ll get a few dates, or like me, I scored three free dinners (one was very expensive), I got to test drive someone’s BMW X5, and I learned a lot about baseball. Oh, and I also got some nice neck marks as a souvenir of my date too. But all in all, I think I got a lot out of the few dates that I went on, and they always make for some funny stories down the line!