Drinking the Kool-Aid: How I Figured Out Online Dating Might Not Be A (Complete) Cesspit

Five years ago, heck, even three or two years ago, I was all over the Online Dating Hating bandwagon. If any of my female friends mentioned it, I got seriously squicked out, and if they were close enough friends to warrant it, I would usually go into a bit of a rant that started with a very solemn “Far be it from me to meddle in your romantic life, but…” and go on to meddle in their romantic lives as best I could.

After all, I had their best interests at heart. The guys who joined online dating sites ranged from slightly odd to downright dangerous, and in any event couldn’t find women to date any other way, so had to resort to online dating because they were weirdos.

Then a strange thing happened. I heard about a few of my male friends joining online dating sites. Now I’ll be the first to admit that many of my friends are weirdos. Hell, I’m a weirdo too. And while I know of a couple who are dangerous to play cards with, none of my friends are axe murderers. All of these guys who joined online dating websites are entirely dateable. In the interests of honesty, I’m quite happy to admit that I’ve wanted to date a few of them.

This is hardly a representative sample, and it’s hardly empirical evidence, but just for the sake of argument, if all the guys I knew personally who had signed up for online dating were perfectly alright guys that I would have no trouble with my friends dating, at least some of the guys signed up for online dating websites had to be decent. And at least a few were decidedly not axe murderers.

Following this anecdotal epiphany, another strange thing happened. I realized that I had little or no interest in dating most of the guys I ran into in the “real” world. And most of them, through no fault of my own, had little or no interest in dating me. Mostly, this was because the guys I ran into in the real world tended to be colleagues. We had to work on in-depth, difficult, complicated projects together, and it just didn’t seem like a good idea to date. Factor in the part where most of my male acquaintances were good friends with my ex-boyfriend, who I was and continue to be on excellent terms with, and my dating pool as it were was a little on the shallow side.

So I uttered those famous last words “What’s the worst that could happen?” and took a slug of the kool-aid.

As expected, I’ve had varying results. Being that I’m not exactly looking for somebody to marry, my options are surprisingly limited. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to see me on one of those e-Harmony commercials talking about how I met my match in a week and a half and we’ve been together ever since. I still think that’s mostly baloney. I’ve had a couple of good dates, several mediocre dates, and a couple of really bad dates. But all in all, it’s worked out pretty decently for me. The whole point of the exercise, the way I look at it, is that it puts you in contact with people that you wouldn’t normally encounter. Especially if you’re busy. Especially especially if they’re busy. And It makes it easier to make that first contact. I don’t know about the rest of the dating public, but for me, the whole marching up to someone in a club/coffee shop/grocery store/whatever and introducing yourself is a little outside my gut-range. Somehow, sending out a quick message introducing yourself requires less nerve.

Also, it’s far easier and less awkward to reject the sender of an unappealing message than to reject the aforementioned club/coffee shop/grocery store/whatever approach. Because they may not all be axe murderers, but there are definitely some weirdos. This way, I know ahead of time whether or not he can spell.

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