1. Finally being seduced into trying online dating by your friends, after your last serious relationship imploded.
2. The closeted period, where you are too embarrassed to admit you’re actually looking online.
3. Only telling your very closest friends that you’re trying online dating, and then spending hours giggling over goofy profiles together.
4. Meanwhile, you are checking your inbox obsessively (and we mean every three minutes) to see if anyone has taken a shine to you.
5. Sending out dozens of messages in the vain hope that someone decent will reach back in this cold, lonely universe.
6. OMG you got a message! And they don’t look like a serial killer! Win!
7. Celebrating with your friends that you might not die alone after all.
8. Chatting for days, and then finally coming up with the courage to override your nerves and meet the person.
9. Spending hours preparing for the date, and still hating the end result, then realizing that you don’t have time to fix the mess you made of your hair and tearing ass for the restaurant.
10. Suffering through a supremely awkward first date, when you knew five minutes in that there would be no second date.
11. Being stuck listening to their long-winded explanation of their job/last trip/love of ferrets and wondering when you can escape this loon.
12. Being wildly optimistic about the whole thing, even when he or she turns out to be an idiot.
13. The months go by and you’re starting to get a little nervous, because you’ve met approximately 12,569 schmucks. Your courage and faith are starting to fail, and you have to make an apology to both you heart and genitals.
14. Bonus level for journalists: Getting so frustrated by all the pervs and jerks on the internet that you round up their messages and post an article about it.
15. Cursing your friends for getting you into this mess in the first place.
16. Giving up and drowning your sorrows in Yellowtail … then starting all over again the next morning when someone new messages you, because it somehow still seems like a good idea.