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T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f C h i c a g o J o

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Internet Dating Woes

2007-08-23† Ė† 5:16 p.m.
With exception to advertising on MySpace or Friendster that I was available, Iíve never used an online dating site. A girl friend recently told me about her dating woes and how suffering through a marathon of match.com dates was her solution to her recent string of scumbags. I figured if she was putting herself out there, I might as well do the same.

When choosing an online dating site, consider your goal. The commercials say that if you want to get married and live happily ever after, go to eHarmony. But if the idea of being matched up with a man so willing and ready to get hitched to the next so-called great woman that heís posting a profile on a marriage-minded website freaks you out, the rest of the sites need to be combed through.

Want to be bent over the back of the couch by the end of the night? Lavalife is for you.

Want to be bombarded by 126 messages per day from people who do not necessarily meet your preferred qualities? Join match.com.

Want a specific race or religion or hobby? Do a Google search, and then give up when you see just how few people are on any of those other sites.

After a bit of consideration, I decided to go with chemistry.com. Like eHarmony, they have a bajillion-question survey that pulls up some algorithm that matches me with only people who are compatible with my desires. In addition, I only see people who also meet my stated criteria. So instead of sorting through messages from suburban men who smoke two packs a day and have a herd of kids, I supposed only get people of the race, religion, education level, etc. that I want.

So far Iíve run into a few problems with the site. First off, the geography criteria are no good for people who live in big cities. When living in Huffman, Texas, a minimum radius of 25 miles was fine. Iíd get people who were close enough to meet up in Humble, but not so far that it was too much of a pain in the ass if the date was a let-down. However, when youíre in a city like Chicago, 25 miles away is BFE. I seriously donít leave a 3-mile by 1.5-mile strip, and most of the people Iím willing to date donít leave that strip either. I donít care if you are a handsome rocket scientist with the just-right amount of nerdiness, a handsome face, and enough wit to shine through your profileís words. If you live in Palatine, itíll never work.

Another annoyance is that I get only ten matches per day. Maybe thatís enough for most people to browse through, but itís not enough for me. I immediately close matches that say the guy lives anywhere outside of Chicago proper, leaving me with five guys. From these, people are weeded out quite quickly by things that I canít quantify in the checkboxes they give me on the site.

If you type in all caps, if you say youíre looking for your partner in crime, if you canít follow the basic rules of grammar, if your age range includes 18-year-olds, if the first line of your ad says anything about wondering how to describe yourself in just 200 words, or if you have no photo, Iím immediately closing the match.

Take it off caps lock! Enough with the clichťs! Get someone to proof your ad if you arenít sure of your writing! Keep a preferred range that includes actual adults! Donít hem and haw in your words! And add a damn photo!

Out of the ten guys I get each day, Iím usually down to one or two guys who donít immediately offend my out-right snobbery. I open their full profiles and skim through the checkbox answers for his basic info for nothing too weird. I then give my eyes a good squint at the photo, many times wondering if that really is his best foot forward graphically before I add him to the Archive (a.k.a. Not-a-chance) folder.

I realize that I ask a lot of a guy when Iím in a real relationship. Both of my boyfriends were grade-A, top-notch, all-around great men before they both acted like complete boneheads a few years after the fact. Both were handsome, bright, quick on their feet, had a way with their words, and made my heart sing ooh-la-la. I certainly date a lot of people who arenít my ideal mate, but Iíll only be your girlfriend if itís for-real.

Right now Iím just looking for some people to spend some time with, get to know, and have a few fun nights out around town before I again sequester myself in a winter-induced snit while waiting to spend several weeks in Texas where it isnít bite-your-ass cold out.

So until then, Iíll hit the Refresh My Matches button and continue the cycle of disappointment that Iím not even coming across anyone who makes me want to go have a beer or two on a week night.

Le sigh. †



Miss something?

Moving Day - 2008-02-15
Working from Home is Glorious - 2008-02-13
Speaking in Tongues - 2008-02-07
I Have My Reasons - 2008-01-25
Got an Itch, Fix it, Shine it Up, Sing it Out - 2008-01-23

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