If you’re single like me, you’ve been asked whether or not you’ve tried online dating about a million times. No exaggeration. It’s sort of like most people consider sites like eHarmony.com (AKA “e-harm”) to be the fix-all for all singles.
It seems like you have to be a certain type of person to do well with these sites. (I am not one of them.) And that is why I compiled my reasons for disliking the online dating “thing”:
1) Dating websites reduce human beings to a few paragraphs and a handful of photos. As a result it’s way too easy to write off perfectly decent people because of a misspelling or a lame vacation photo. I did it and it seems to be the status quo because the minute I changed my photos, I got a lot more responses!
2) I’ve never thought dating more than one person at a time is a good idea and it’s not. Yet you’re inundated with a hundred profiles and talking to more than one prospective date at a time to narrow it down. It’s nothing like a real-world relationship should start. The Bachelor/Bachelorette mentality seems to be a work here and we’re all programmed to think that there could be someone better just around the corner. Unfortunately, this isn’t healthy or loyal. We all will probably end up with one person eventually. (Unless you’re a Polygamist, I guess.) It seems best to get into the habit of monogamy early on.
3) It’s where all the weirdos hang out. Some people are online because folks in real life can tell that they are a little on the strange side. They think having a computer as a buffer will help. It may help for a short period of time but weirdos have a tendency to slip up. They usually can’t contain themselves and ask you if you would be interested in their spandex fetish or would be interested in joining their swingers’ club within the first couple of e-mail conversations.
4) What’s worse than #3 is that you get matched with enough of the weirdos and you start to think you’re one, too! Some compatibility algorithm decided I would be a good match with the guy who had dedicated his entire life to fostering a herd of tarantulas (which he called his family). Of course, my first thought would be to ask if I came off as a complete weirdo to be matched with this guy.
5) People lie. Not generally overtly but photos tend to be 10 years old or they embellish their careers, etc. It is so easy to perpetuate those lies from a distance that so many people think this is acceptable behavior. Particularly irksome are the men in their 50’s and 60’s who change their ages in order to be matched with younger women.
6) People who really aren’t interested in dating seem to think they should do the online thing. These folks like to lead on matches and then suddenly admit they aren’t really interested in a relationship. Again, hiding behind a computer makes this easy. No risk really involved and little to no fallout is experienced.
7) It’s too easy to be a serial dater and become jaded. In the real world you might go through a couple of prospective dates in a month. Online it could be hundreds. If you spend enough time online the tendency seems to become pickier and pickier. Maybe even become pessimistic due to the sheer volume of profiles which aren’t compatible.
8) If you don’t photograph well, you’re doomed to the weirdos (see #3). They seem to like to prey upon the less attractive photos because they probably assume you’re desperate.
9) Not meeting these people in real life allows you to perpetuate your own hangups and stereotypes about the opposite sex. A guy who wants a petite blonde or a girl who doesn’t like a guy with tattoos will decline to talk to anyone else than the ones who meet their ideal. But, in the real world, he might actually hit it off with a curvaceous brunette or she might find the tattooed poet to be intriguing.
10) It’s so necessary these days that it makes me dislike the concept even more. There are fewer and fewer places to meet people these days and the older you get, the more relevant these things are. So, you have to put up with numbers 1 -9 and hope for the best.