Why Online Dating Is Not Stupid At All

Let’s just get the ball rolling by admitting right off the bat: I had an OKCupid account. Not one of those “OH LOL I JUST SET THIS THING UP TO LAUGH AT THE DISEASE BAGS THAT TROLL THIS STUPID SITE I’D NEVER USE ACTUALLY USE IT LOL” accounts. I didn’t trip and fall onto my keyboard at just the right angle to register myself with the side of my face. I consciously, actively set up my account, and used it. Although I stopped using it quite some time ago (upon moving to a part of the earth where it doesn’t really exist), I met guys on there; some I just talked to, some I went out with IRL. Though I no longer have it, if I found myself single-and-looking again, I would not hesitate to crank that bad boy back up and go fishing once more. This is why online dating is totally worth your time, and not just if you’re a recluse with a goiter:

Not Just Lepers Have Trouble Meeting People

It’s easy to divide society into two neat little categories: social rejects who need the romantic equivalent of a booster seat to get a date, and all the sexy people who can just walk into a Quizno’s and meet their soulmate at the condiment bar. Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in. There are all kinds of hindrances to meeting cool people (your classmates are pretentious, your neighborhood is dull, your colleagues sap your will to live, etc.) and they are problems that we all live with, no matter how sexy or vivacious we are. It’s not unusual to find yourself less-than-thrilled at the prospects of the people you’d meet out on a Friday night, especially if you don’t live in a city of a zillion people who are all just dying to give each other HPV. Sometimes we’re in a small pond, or our pond just isn’t that great. There’s nothing wrong with broadening your horizons, no matter who you are.

Bars Are Not the Be-All End-All of Human Civilization

I am not going to make the blanket statement that you won’t meet your soulmate at a bar, I know it happens. My parents met at a bar, I have friends who met at a bar, and I’m sure those are not the only two exceptions on a planet of nearly 7 billion people. I get that it’s physically possible. Though, really, is this the hook upon which you want to hang all of your romantic hopes and dreams? Who goes to a bar putting their best foot forward? I go to a bar to dance in a small cluster with my friends, drink lemon drops, glare at people when they step on my shoes, spill my drink on people and go “OMG I’M SOOOO SORRY,” and occasionally yell “Woooooooh.” Not to meet the man of my dreams. Frankly, I wouldn’t trust a man whose first impression of me was Drunk Chelsea and still wanted to take me out for Thai food. What is he hiding?

By the Time I Have Grandkids, Meeting Online Will Be NBD

I can only imagine, given the logical progression of the internet and society at large, that fifty years from now it will be considered romantic and quaint if you didn’t meet in a hardcore S&M video chat room hosted by Jack Link’s beef jerky. I don’t know where we’re all headed, but I can tell you that the online dating we have now is the very tippy top of the iceberg. We’ve started to realize, as a society, that we can read what people are like before we meet them,at least finding out if they have a basic grasp of elementary spelling and are able to coherently form sentences, and it’s awesome. Our grandkids will likely be pre-matched with their actual soulmate, found through some terrifying algorithm designed by a faceless Chinese conglomerate, and dating itself will be a funny little quirk of the past. I, for one, like this middle ground.

There Is Still the Element of Mystery

As much as finding out that someone likes edamame and The Wire allows you to form a vague idea about them, and perhaps even obsess, it certainly doesn’t even paint close to a full picture in your mind. Being able to know just bits and pieces of who a person is, and having to build your anticipation and excitement on their thoughts and opinions, instead of the drunken makeout the night you met at the bar, is a wonderful way to draw things out and make the butterflies last. We’re forcing ourselves to get to know each other bit by excruciating bit, exchanging flirtatious emails and falling in love with the way the other one writes. It’s almost old-fashioned, if you think about it. And the mystery of what they will be like when you finally meet them, after you built up this funny little image of your head is, regardless of outcome, an exciting surprise.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Guys Who Date Online

Rule #1 of the universe: There are creeps, and there are cool, decent people. This is true in school, at work, at the grocery store, on OKCupid, on Match.com, in your local bar, at the blood drive, at the free clinic, on JDate, and at Wimbledon. Internet dating is a mixed bag, like anything else. But look at it this way, if the guy actually took the time to write an interesting, witty, funny little blurb about himself to attract you instead of just going “Hey sexy lemme buy you a drink hnnnnrh,” he’s 93 percent more likely to read your poetry, pick you up from the airport, and be nice to your mom. That is just science. TC mark

image – Don Hankins

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Guest

    Actually, meeting online is NBD now.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      And not just for dating, I think.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        craigslist sex

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        also, Twitter Friends.

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        Let me know when you get on Grindr.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        ROFL. What’s the straight version again? And why isn’t it fun?

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        No straight version because once women get involved, something like Grindr cannot function in the way it ought to.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Much like hanky code, some things are better left alone by the straight community.

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        I guess I’ll stop wearing my hanky to Gawker parties then.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        I can’t even respond to that because my face is like this: >.<

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        craigslist sex

  • Guest

    Thank you for writing this almost instantly after KG wrote her assinine judgey-as-f*ck piece about online dating. This is a much more rational look at it without making 101 assumptions. -someone who “does” online dating

  • Marisaurus

    I met my current boyfriend online and I’ve never been happier. We did meet on an online game, not a dating site. I, for one, would never want to date the kind of guy who thought he could find a girl he’d want a serious relationship with IN A BAR.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500654073 Kevin Kelly Kenkel

      i know someone who met a (now ex-) girlfriend thru an online game also. that game was warcraft. that is the awesomest way to meet a future suitor.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      Stranger things have happened – I don’t think it’s fair to discount ANYWHERE as having potential for you to meet someone. Unless you’re in Planned Parenthood, and even then…

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        Especially not then!

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Just because they’re DTF doesn’t mean that’s an appropriate place to be trying to put the moves on a girl/guy. Even the most gorgeous man alive couldn’t get my number while I was seated in that waiting room.

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        I didn’t mean it like that.  More like from my perspective if I am a woman and see a man there I know he *gets it*

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        “It” being… pussy? What it’s like to sit in a room for four hours past your appointment time?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500654073 Kevin Kelly Kenkel

    can we have some real talk about kat george for a sec? i met my boyfriend of 2+ years online, but according to kat, we must both be fat, divorced lepers with no social skills and no vitamin D (?) – i’m kevin kelly kenkel and i disapprove of kat george’s message

    • Americanpatriot

       kevin kelly kenkel for president

  • http://facebook.com/sdouglas Scott

    Kat and Chelsea both make compelling arguments, but I feel I can trust someone who doesn’t use a truncated version of their family name a tiny bit more.

    Unless it’s actually Chelsea Faganopolous. Then, I am fucked.

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Chelsea Faganopolous.

      Can I get a “One. Of. Us.” chant? 

  • Tom

    Yep. I’ve got to agree with the you and the Guest up there; online dating seems pretty logical to me. I tend to be old-fashioned, so I really like the analogy of writing emails to writing love letters and such. Thank you Chelsea for spreading the word: Online dating is NBD.

  • http://deejberndt.blogspot.com DJ Berndt

    This is a great response, thanks for writing this.

  • GUEST

    I made an OKCupid account at the beginning of the summer when my boyfriend asked for a break. I figured I’d give it a go and I made an honest account and looked around and I was so surprised to find so many people doing the same. Online dating is not stupid, it’s so genius! and I met some really wonderful (goodlooking,  sane, and not at all creepy) people.

  • S.H.

    Love you for this. Mean it.

  • S.H.

    Love you for this. Mean it.

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    ” There are creeps, and there are cool, decent people. This is true in school, at work, at the grocery store, on OKCupid, on Match.com, in your local bar, at the blood drive, at the free clinic, on JDate, and at Wimbledon.” — Eeeeexactly.

  • Chick A Dee

    thank you!!! 
    (and agreed, it’s NBD now)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=46601588 Meghan McCrimmon

    I’m starting to feel a little more brave about trying online dating now….!

  • Danielle G

    My OKC dating experiences: 
    Guy 1 Spent the entire date insulting me (my clothes, my degrees, my music tastes, my drink of choice). He then went into some anti-gay hate speech (after he knew my roommate was a gay man) and then justified it by saying he doesn’t say “that’s so gay” except when he plays with stuffed animals and how he has two sharks who are bullies and often say that’s so gay. He also talked about how he doesn’t want a “job” and how he hates the word “job” (earning his PHD in literature) and then talked about how he was pissed off that he didn’t get a TA position even though he applied for it 3 months too late. He also asked me to drive him home and to the liquor store because he didn’t own a car. 
    Guy 2) We talked for about a month, he seemed pretty cool and everything was actually pretty decent. Finally went on a date and he was super nervous, which was kind of cute, and he was really nice except for one thing. Okay, quick background, He was in his final year as an engineer student and a math TA. So, we are sitting at the bar and I’m drinking my amaretto sour and he finishes his beer. So, he asks if he can buy me a drink and I say “Sure, that is fine but I’m still finishing this one.” He then has this like really nervous body language and explains that he is an engineer and can’t go get his drink and then later go get my drink because it is not the most cost effective (Meaning, not money but time and distance.) and so he would wait till I finished mine. About 5 minutes later I was still not finished and he was still freaking out and finally I was just like “Dude, don’t worry about it. Go get your drink, I’m fine with this one.”  So, he goes to get another beer and everything is fine. So,we go for a walk around the downtown area and I’m get really tired, so I explain this to him and that I’d like to go home. At the end of the date he asks me for another date the next night and I explain that I am busy that weekend because I had to work and the next two weeks because it was midterms time. (Which was true.) So, finally I was like, we’ll figure out another time later and we hugged goodbye. Then in the next 30 minutes I received 3 text messages from him and I didn’t respond to any of them because I was really tired and wanted to sleep. The last text message was along the lines of he was in love with me and I was the one for him. After several aggressive facebook status updates from him that sounded a lot like they were meant for me but he said they were not, I sent him a facebook message about how it wasn’t going to work out. 
    3) Guy I met online but not in person, seemed really handsome and funny. Then he insisted he would drive 45 minutes in December in 15 degree weather and our first date would be a bike ride through a secluded forest and we would meet at the forest. … yeah…

    • Danielle G

      getting really tired* 

    • http://karyninny.com/ karyn

      can not blame the internets for the crazies. crazies exist with or without computers. 

    • http://michaelynch.com Michael Lynch

      Hilarious. Better luck next time.

    • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

      I was guy #3.  It would have been fun – went on that date with someone else instead.

      • Danielle G

        I still talk to guy number 3, so I know you are not him. haha. I deleted him from facebook awhile ago and he messaged me on okc again to see how I was. However, I hope you enjoyed your bike ride with whomever you went with and that you didn’t kill them. ;) 

  • Anonymous

    I tried online dating the first time about 6 years ago and I have to admit, the people on the site were nuts. It was like every person in town with serious mental health issues had gathered there. However, I had a relationship end about a year ago and broke down and tried online dating again recently and it was a completely different experience. It really has become NBD, just like Chelsea says. There are a lot of interesting, intelligent people there who are looking for a variety of things. I would recommend it, but like anywhere you meet single people, you have to watch for the crazies. 

  • Kait

    It’s good for more than just dating. I met one of my best guys friends on OKCupid. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/TomSmizzle Tom Smith

    I love your counterarticles, Chelsea! I loved this one before I even realised it was a counterarticle!

  • Z.

    something not written by a greek australian currently living new york. how nice

  • Z.

    something not written by a greek australian currently living new york. how nice

  • TCz
    • SPE

      Your profile is really really cute. It made me giggle, and then think “Huh. What an intelligent person.” A++

    • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

      Yea this profile is awesome.

  • TCz
  • kristine

    this article saves the day! <3

  • kristine

    this article saves the day! <3

  • Anonymous

    This is delightfully written with great points brought to the issue; however, there’s still something so creepy about online dating.
    No matter where you live or what you do, nothing tops in-the-flesh experience and exchanges with another person.
    Some people actually dress fabulously and are at their best when they go out drinking and dining. And so, it’s the perfect atmosphere to meet some great people.
    Online dating is here to stay, no doubt; however, it’s still not “cool”. But some can hope!

    • http://karyninny.com/ karyn

      you understand that “online dating” is actually just the first step to set up what you call ” in-the-flesh experience and exchanges with another person”, right? 

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      dude, nothing is creepier than the phrase ‘in-the-flesh experience’

    • Musemusemuse

      I feel like this is an echo of words that left my mouth a few months ago – just this summer actually. I attach a tremendous weight to “organic” experiences in atmospheres that are bound to create magic. Meeting and falling for another beautiful unsuspecting lesbian while spending a week getting lost in Costa Rica was exactly what I’d spent a ton of time hoping for – incredibly exciting, unpredictable, gut-wrenching, impossible. And then a few months later, reality set in: the surreal date I went on underneath a waterfall (yes, I’m aware that sounds ridiculous) was months behind me and I was seven countries away feeling more isolated than ever. I’d given OKC a few tries, but couldn’t get past the motions I felt I was going through. But the pride I swallowed actually didn’t taste too bad when I gave another seemingly hopeless shot to another “here we go” date who turned out to be the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

      I’ve been amazed by the charades in modern dating circles – offline and online, and the need to wade through a lot of bullshit. But as for the rest, there comes a point when the superiority of your pride that is really just drowning in confusion and pretense will start to weigh you down.

      Good luck to everyone. And although it’s tempting to be part of the charade, just be yourself.

    • Musemusemuse

      I feel like this is an echo of words that left my mouth a few months ago – just this summer actually. I attach a tremendous weight to “organic” experiences in atmospheres that are bound to create magic. Meeting and falling for another beautiful unsuspecting lesbian while spending a week getting lost in Costa Rica was exactly what I’d spent a ton of time hoping for – incredibly exciting, unpredictable, gut-wrenching, impossible. And then a few months later, reality set in: the surreal date I went on underneath a waterfall (yes, I’m aware that sounds ridiculous) was months behind me and I was seven countries away feeling more isolated than ever. I’d given OKC a few tries, but couldn’t get past the motions I felt I was going through. But the pride I swallowed actually didn’t taste too bad when I gave another seemingly hopeless shot to another “here we go” date who turned out to be the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

      I’ve been amazed by the charades in modern dating circles – offline and online, and the need to wade through a lot of bullshit. But as for the rest, there comes a point when the superiority of your pride that is really just drowning in confusion and pretense will start to weigh you down.

      Good luck to everyone. And although it’s tempting to be part of the charade, just be yourself.

    • ayla

      A bar being the perfect atmosphere to meet great people? While I’ve met two of six serious relationships on outings, they don’t really count as it was really through mutual friends. I think Chelsea nailed it, if you want to have an awkward one night stand, the bar is definitely the place for you. Yes, you look amazing.. but is your personality/intelligence/etc. even being considered?

      You make online dating sound exclusively online, when in actuality, when you’ve exhausted your dating pool, it’s a means to encounter others to have in-the-flesh experience. You simply have a somewhat better idea of who you’re encountering.

      I’d never admit to online dating, but I’m in a city of under 200,000, and had either dated everyone available via mutual friends/etc, am painfully shy in certain circumstances, and have rather high standards (unfortunately, “reads, good taste in/passion for film, literature and music, can have intelligent conversation, not a dudebro/tool” seems to be “high standards” in this era/area.)

  • Jessica

    Loved this article. You made some really awesome points here. Plus, you don’t sound like a judgmental asshole, so, points!

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