SBF/26/NYC – The Social Internet Experience

by Monday, October 20, 2008

In which situation are you more like to be nervous – a first date or a job interview? I have seen this question on many dating questionnaire … I get the feeling that maybe I am answering it wrong. The answer for me is easy – an interview. I go on a date expecting nothing, even if I have had the conversation of my life with this person the night before. I have learned to expect the same from a person I have met in the real world or the world of cyber – not much (at all). There is no real way to prepare for a date these days, besides google and a nice pair of stilettos. Each guy has the same chance of not being a good fit as the next. The only difference has been the mode of first contact.

I have been conducting an experiment of sorts. It didn’t start out that way, but after a series of ridiculous dates with a few lack luster men I have found that the same is always true. So far I have subjected myself to four different modes of cyber “dating” Match, Craigslist, eharmony and just recently Plentyoffish.

I joined Match.com for the month of January, really because a new year’s resolution of mine was to make a real effort to meet new people. Match kept it real for the most part, basically a bunch of people who wanted to meet others are thrown into a pot. You can search for “matches” with a set of preferences including race, age, demographic and even smoking preference. To my surprise there was no shortage of men and I found that cyber stalking is even possible. Men would write “notes” to me and if I didn’t respond I would get more notes from them sort of pleading their cases. Also I never came across anyone that whose profile really wowed me. I will admit there were a few gentlemen that could at least hold a decent conversation but none with any potential further than a first date. I did find that it was a very common atmosphere but I couldn’t deal with the fact that the users of the site could be in progress talking with as many others that they could handle. It’s like in real life, you wonder if the person you are dating is dating anyone else – but in this community you are certain of it. Added to that there is the fact that the users are actually paying for this service, but all with different focuses I believe. Some looking for long term relationships, or wives, others perhaps a pool of women they can have casual encounters with. Because isn’t it true that to pay to find a date you are at some level of desperation? I chatted with a guy that had been using the site for five years on and off; he was happy with the service and had apparently found some long lasting relationships and friends from it.

Months later… no conversation started from the site made it past a 2nd date, so perhaps my $40 was ill spent.

Craiglist is a huge posting site that is available for anyone to attempt to find anything they desire, pets, furniture, work and even love. I have used the site for amusement purposes as well as job searching and it has proven to be successful for both. It seems that the “rant & raves” section and “personals” are as popular if not more as another other actual useful section. However it is no exaggeration when I state that the type of man this site attracts is not good for any woman that proves to take herself seriously. These are the kind of guys that make the 6 o’clock news head line. The desperation is spread thick through various tyrannical or sarcastic posts.

Eharmony is another popular site I tried. Basically you fill out (long) questionnaire containing a multiple series of personality questions. It’s very long but it’s also supposed to be very precise … admitting true answers should find you a match that is compatible. This site was the most expensive of them all so I figured that if I was serious about finding someone serious to date this would be a good attempt. After only of a few days of matches I was disenchanted. Because you can only browse those that the site deems compatible it seems like your options are contained in a box. The normal method of communication on the site has about 7 steps, full of answering and sending questions before you can actually chat with the person. There is a “fast track” method available but not encouraged. For the amount of non-aesthetically pleasing matches I received, I gave ample shots to quite a few. This process of question and answer could take days depending on how often the match checks his email or has time to actually answer. Toward the end of most communications I would find myself bored and really question why I was going through the motions with a person I wasn’t attracted to initially. Also another thing I was not pleased with was how the site dealt with my preferences, there are certain things I will give on but height is not one of them, day after day I would be matched with a height of 5’7 or 5’9. If I am paying $70 a month to be matched with those who are compatible at least my preferences could be taking into consideration. I checked “height is very important” box and it was ignored. Now I don’t consider myself to be a goddess or a prize but I felt like my matches were a little close to desperate. Perhaps I’m too young for this kind of site, unsatisfied; I moved on to explore other not so intense options.

Lastly I tried plentyoffish.com. It’s is a free site and there are really no rules. However you can dictate the type of person that is able to contact you by checking off a few items when you sign up, such as “must not be looking for intimate encounters.” Other good aspects of the site include that you can see who has viewed you and you also have matches made for you, again based on a questionnaire you can choose to fill out. Since the site is free, it’s basically a hodgepodge of people from all walks of life. A step up from myspace I didn’t find much luck here either. Often men where looking to “hook up” or add you to there favorites lists and weren’t interested in the art of communication /conversation at all. But with this sit in particular you get what you pay for.

All that said, it’s September and I am in no better situation as far as relationships go than I was in January. I do have more material and learned a few small lessons … like, what crazy looks like, how to spot an internet stalker and I also have perfected the art judging internet pictures (if he only has one photo or it has been scanned in and oddly cropped – you’re in trouble.)

The stones that I step on only get bigger as I walk this path called life on my own for now. I realize I may stumble sometimes but then I remember I’ve never fallen in.

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