Thursday, April 7, 2011

What the commercials don't tell you.

Aren't those commercials about online dating cute? Don't you just kind of scrunch up your nose and think, "Aww, look at those two love birds using technology in their favor!" Okay, it's possible you don't say those exact words, but I always got this warm fuzzy when I saw the commercials. Mostly because for 2 1/2 years I could have been that commercial. Felt connected right away? Yes. Different beginning than any other relationship? Hell yes. Can't believe I found Mr. Right on the computer? Yup, yup and yup. And the stats don't lie, 1 in 5 relationships start on match.com. Wow, that's pretty impressive. Must be pretty easy then.

I'm here to give you the my "truths" about it all. Consider me the Charlie Sheen of online dating and here come some truth torpedoes.

**Disclaimer: given that I have only ever been a "woman seeking men" I can only speak to the male population on the site...I have no idea about the women, though I've heard stories.

Myth #1:
Online dating must be where all the attractive, normal, non-skeezy guys are! (Because the douche at the bar last night represented the general population there).

Fact:
Online dating is just like going to the bar. There are creepers, guys who live in their mom's basement (and will until their 40), and men who are SO far past your maximum "interested in" age that will STILL try to hit on you (and probably in the most immature way you'll see while you're on there).

But wait, there is good news. The good news is that you can weed through the people SO much faster through an online site. Instead of spending time with every potential date (moving forward referred to as PD) in the bar, you can clearly scope out only what you're looking for. You could essentially try to create your perfect date and see what kind of results that yields. (I'm not saying it will be plentiful, I'm just sayin', you can be very specific with your search.)

Myth #2:
You can casually search around.

Fact:
It's probably going to be a time suck. And you WILL become a bit of a stalker. (sort of.) The truth is, you do have to commit some time to it. Seeking out PD's, contacting them, weeding through the ridiculous e-mails you get, sending those ridiculous e-mails to other friends who are dating online to start a collection, and so on and so forth.

Also - online dating sites (at least the one I am familiar with) encourage, nay, enable straight up stalking. Now I've admitted a few times around these parts I'm pretty good with what I like to call "internet research" (Though I'm fairly certain in a court of law, they like to call it stalking.) These sites make it impossible not to. You can see when every single PD was last online, how many times and when they've viewed your profile and whether or not they've read the e-mail you've sent them. How do you not become just a wee bit obsessed with checking? No? Just me? Well, I'm just sayin' they make it so damn easy.

The good news about this myth is that it only lasts for a while and then you're all, "ugh, whatever. Contact me when you're good and ready." And then it's less of a time suck and you're less of a stalker. Win, win. Or, given that I've coined myself the Charlie Sheen of online dating, perhaps this is where I say, duh, winning!

Myth #3
(1 in 5) Boy(s) meet girl(s) online. Boy and girl date. Boy and girl get married and / or date long enough to star in a commercial about said dating. Boy and girl live happily ever after.

Fact:
Again, just like real life relationships here people. This might be the one I'm just now realizing myself. I figured, I'm paying for a site where other people PAY to meet people who want to date. How could this go wrong. And well, at first it showed me how wrong it could go. (someday I'll share the story of my first date from match.com - NOT with XBF.) But then I figured, once I found *that* guy it would obviously last forever and eventually we'd star in a commercial and proceed with our happily ever after and thank computers at our wedding. Wrong-o bucko! Turns out, just because you were introduced via the interwebs, there is no magic that makes it a sure fire thing. They end. And there can be just as much, "wait, who are you?!" as there is in real life dating.

My point of this is not to turn people off of online dating. I am actually a HUGE proponent for it. I believe that it does allow for you to get some of that basic awkward conversation out of the way before you meet in person. You can think about your responses and get a good rapport going before you're under the pressure of face-to-face time. On the flip side, it is MUCH easier to reject and be rejected when it's not face to face, again, allowing for minimal time wasted. I just know that from my experience, the first time I went into it with REALLY high hopes. Unrealistic expectations. And it would have been nice to be brought back to reality before I dove head first into the pool that is online dating.

P.S. All you taken people? You wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends? Now would be a fabulous time to find your significant other and give them a BIG OL' KISS and thank them from snagging you off the market. This could be one situation where the grass on the other side, isn't quite as green!

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