Living in a rural area and working from home, I decided several months ago to join the ranks of the great online daters in order to meet date-able men.
I now consider myself an experienced online dater. OK I take that back; I now consider myself to have a finely tuned BS-detector and can say with the benefit of experience which dating sites work and which is an expensive rip-off. So…this blog is intended as a dating site guide for people who’ve been toying with the idea of finding a toy boy, BF, GF, Cougar or something more permanent, online.
I’ll quickly dispense with what sites sort of work (setting aside the oxymoronic status option: ‘Never married but has been in committed relationships’. Huh?)
If you can see a pic and read the profile of anyone registered on a dating site then all you need to do is fine tune your intuition, learn to identify inconsistencies and be able to distinguish a recent digital pic from a scanned Polaroid taken in the ‘80s when the person in question had hair, one chin, a flat stomach and white teeth. OK, perhaps white teeth are non-age related these days plus they could be glo-in-the-dark dentures. Match.com works this way as does POF.com which is free but you’ll sort of get why it’s free after a while, so it’s up to you. I’d also read up on Craig’s list’s related articles before going there….
Conversely, I’d recommend avoiding EHarmony at all cost despite its grandiose claims that:
• You’ll receive Matches based upon 29 dimensions of compatibility.
• It has 88 million members worldwide!
• It spends a fortune on TV ads showing happily ‘matched’ couples while their avuncular founder spouts sincerely about how helping you find your one true soul-mate is all they care about. (What? Only one on the entire planet?)
• It also takes responsibility for a healthy % of American marriages.
From my experience, here’s what you CAN expect:
• You’ll pay a hefty fee.
• There’s no opportunity to peruse their site for anyone you might find attractive, interesting, etc.
• To receive ‘matches’ you must wait…and wait… After the first flush of ‘matches’ you receive and despite their ‘88 million subscribers’, you’ll get nothing else for weeks unless you send them a nasty-gram, which will elicit a brief flurry of activity followed by another long hiatus.
• You’ll receive ‘matches’ without photographs. You aren’t supposed to dismiss these but upon reading their faceless profiles, you’ll hopefully recognize your one true soul mate by the fact that you both like dancing, coffee, seafood and road trips. In case you think I’m being harsh, let’s consider that dancing incorporates the two-step, salsa and hip-hop. And I feel most strongly that if I’d written in my lengthy probing questionnaire how much I dislike untidiness, birds as pets, ATV’s, NASTAR, camping and fast food, then whatever software is used to select my ‘matches’ should be taking all this into consideration.
• Having parted with a lot of $$, you might feel justified in inquiring as to why they send you ‘matches’ without pics, as I did. Expect a self-righteous, patronizing response, ‘lovingly’ berating you for your shallowness due to your fixation with physical appearance. This, after you’d spent 2-3 hours of your time carefully filling out their questionnaire as honestly as possible and specifying your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Can’t Stands’ (A clue: I ‘Must Have’ someone who’s physically fit and taller than me. A 5’6” tall, fast food addict with no picture doesn’t work for me, even though we both like movies).
• You’ll receive other helpful suggestions; e.g. “extend your geographical limits in order to meet your one true soulmate and find true meaningful love”. Expectantly, I increased my range to include the entire US and Canada. Nothing. So, just for fun and although I wouldn’t travel to Yemen even for Hugh Jackman, I increased it to ‘Worldwide’. That brave move of mine generated one ‘match’; an ex-pat living in Dubai who was considerably shorter than me and at least 10 years younger.
You may be thinking my requirements are unreasonable, that I have no teeth and a mustache – not so and I think I look pretty good (it wouldn’t matter anyway as according to these folks, looks aren’t important despite the fact that I entered in my profile that THEY’RE IMPORTANT TO ME). I do have high standards however and the most recent missive I got from them was to rethink/rewrite my questionnaire in order to attract my soulmate.
So – I can now choose between writing a less than honest questionnaire in order to receive unsuitable matches or, settle for the soulmate I already have – my dog.
Finally and if you have any lingering doubts, consider the following; last year I signed up for 3 mos of EHarmony with laughable results. Being persuaded that I didn’t give it enough time I signed up for 12 more, using a different name/email.
Despite identical criteria, my current subscription gets almost no matches but the expired one is bombarded with ‘matches’ that they’ll only show me if I subscribe. Hello? They’re both me and if you can send ‘matches’ to the expired me, surely you can send them to the fully paid up me – assuming they do exist?
Oh – and unless you cancel within the first 3 days, they’ll keep taking your money for the full year regardless of whether they send you any matches or not. They tell me they’re waiting to find me the perfect match – I bet I’ll get a few just before my subscription expires…so, caveat emptor!