In the age of technology, many single people have turned to the Internet with the hope that they’re one mouse-click away from meeting their true love. We’ve all heard stories about our friend’s cousin who met her husband on Match.com, or our aunt’s neighbor’s co-worker who met his fiancé on e-harmony.com. Like many of you, I always thought: “That’s wonderful for those people, but the whole online dating thing is definitely not for me.”
Why? Personally, I thought the idea of finding love on the Internet didn’t seem “natural.” When it comes to meeting “the one,” I felt good old fashion fate was the way to go. Also, I considered the day when someone would ask: “How did you meet your husband?” And my reply would be the most romantic story ever told because I’m the type of girl who dreams of making The Notebook and becoming Mrs. Noah Calhoun my reality. I couldn’t imagine answering that question if I met my husband online. What would I say? “I filled out a questionnaire regarding my likes and dislikes, the computer analyzed my answers and matched me up with this guy who responded with slightly similar answers… And well, when I saw the profile pic of him in his sweats, taking a selfie with his adorable dog (then enlarged it to make sure he wasn’t hideous), then read about how he enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, and long walks on the beach- it was love at first profile view.”
Yeah, I definitely would never join the online dating world — or so I thought.
“I just want you to meet a nice Jewish doctor… or lawyer,” said my typical New York Jewish mother when I found out she had signed me up for JDate.com without my consent. “I mean, all I’m saying is that it wouldn’t hurt to just try it out. Seriously, what do you have to lose? Not to mention, I already paid for a three month membership and it wasn’t cheap,” she added, so casually tossing in that Jewish guilt, leaving me no choice but to give it a go.
To be honest, I was kind of curious to see what all the buzz was about and how it all works. I would approach this as an experiment, somewhat research for a future article. These justifications granted me the courage to log in, upload a decent profile picture, and write a charming and witty profile. I decided to browse the eligible bachelors that the JDate matchmaker determined to be a good match for me.
An hour and a half later, I was sending “flirts,” messaging with seemingly non-creepy men, and couldn’t stop reading the profiles of these fascinating male strangers. A month later, I shocked myself when I agreed to meet up for drinks with this guy I had been messaging. We had a lot in common, and he seemed like a harmless, sweet guy. Of course I’ve heard the horror stories about online daters meeting up, and the guy turns out to be a crazy ass serial killer. In order to avoid the chance of being chopped up and stored in some abandoned warehouse in Mexico, I gracefully denied his offer to pick me up at my apartment, and told him I would meet him at the local bar we planned on going to. I was pleasantly surprised at how non-awkward the date went. It was very relaxed, there was a lot to talk about, and he was pretty cute. Later, we would turn out to be “friends that flirt” type of deal (nothing serious or potentially Facebook official).
After my JDate experiment, I did extensive research and a careful analysis of Online Dating (of course by that I mean pouring myself a glass of wine and browsing profiles of Jewish bachelors in the LA area/ googling “Pros and Cons of online dating”).
Well, it beats the bars… For those who are tired of going to a crowded dive bar on $3 “Margarita Night” to find romance, online dating sites might be something to consider. Let’s be honest, most of the time, 3 out of 5 people at these bars are most likely looking for something casual, such as a drunken make out session, or potential candidate for a friends with benefit type of deal. I’m not saying this is a solid factual generalization, but it’s something I’ve gathered from personal experience. All I’m saying is, if you’re heading to the local waterhole to find your soul mate, just don’t get your hopes up. The last time I went looking for my prince charming at karaoke bar, I ended up sucking face with a regrettable sweaty guy, after he bought me a few Dirty Shirlys to “sweep me off my feet.” When it comes to finding a mate, it just might difficult to find one at a place dedicated to drunken fun and making bad decisions.
They say there’s plenty of fish in the sea, but whoever “they” are also failed to mention just how fucking enormous the sea is, and with this abundance of fish swimming around, it makes it all the more difficult to catch one that shares the same interests as you and wants to be caught. Online dating sites provide a smaller sea and the vast fish population is narrowed down to compatible catches for you. It filters out the bullshit, and leaves you with single people that common interests and are looking for the same type of relationship that you’re looking for. It can simplify the hunt, and might even prevent some unfortunate and painfully awkward first dates, on which you and the other person have absolutely nothing in common — except for the fact that you both like sushi.
While finding the various perks, I also learned the disadvantages and the precautions one must take when using online dating sites. For instance: the lack of physical chemistry. I find it’s okay to communicate via text, email, and online message when you first start talking to a fellow online dater, but only in the beginning to see that they’re not totally crazy and full of shit. One of the most important parts of starting a relationship is that connection you make with someone in person, which requires you to get off your ass, change out of your pizza-stained sweats, and meet the person somewhere outside your humble abode. I’ve noticed that some people have trouble leaving their safe place and making actual moves. In order to start a healthy relationship, you need to put your super fast typing skills aside, and communicate the good ole fashion way- talking (using those vocal chords).
Also, don’t believe everything you see or read. Many people create a profile not exactly of themselves, but rather a fantasy/perfected version of themselves. I came across a profile and thought JDate found me a perfect match. His bio was charming and witty, he loved cooking, playing music, classical literature, hiking, and he spoke fluent Italian. Moreover, he appeared to be a tall, dark, and handsome lad in his pictures. Anyways, to make a long story short, I met a short, balding, beer-bellied man who claimed to be my “perfect Jdate match.” He admitted his profile pictures were a tad dated (a tad?). It didn’t take long for him to come clean about everything, like a sweaty prostitute in a confessional: this “classical literature buff” hadn’t picked up a book since his high school English class; He doesn’t speak Italian fluently, but his cousin does — “kind of;” he hasn’t gone hiking in over 3 years, but “would like to one of these days,” and in terms of cooking, he likes to “whip up something special once in a blue moon.” So kids, the lesson here is: don’t get your hopes up about everything see/read on a dating profile. It might not be bad idea to talk on the phone and use your handy-dandy bullshit detector before you meet them in person.
I’ve changed my mind about online dating probably a hundred times. I’m not trying to advertise it and I’m definitely not trying to convince everyone to give up on finding love the “old fashion” way. In fact, I don’t think online dating is for everyone. I simply believe it’s another option to meet people, and I really hope it sheds that unrelenting stigma dragging it down. When it comes to finding love, I’m a believer in fate, and it doesn’t matter how it happens or where it happens- the fact is, it happens because it’s meant to be. Whether you meet your soul mate in a coffee shop, in a bar, or online — Regardless, you’re a lucky bastard for finding your soul mate.