This post was inspired by Jill’s previous post, Online Dating: The Most Depressing, Or Only as Depressing as Regular Dating?, which you should read. Some of what I’m going to say may have been covered in the comments on Jill’s post, but I didn’t read them, so I’m just going to go ahead and write this.
First, a little background: I started online dating in late November of last year. I went on dates with a total of seven guys, maybe eight. As with Jill’s experience, they were all totally normal, and though I haven’t boyfriended any of them (thanks Jill for that fun term), I’m still in touch with a couple of them and I still canoodle with one from time to time. Like Jill, I’ve gotten busy/bored, and after three months of not responding to really great guys who seemed interesting, I deactivated my account. (Actually, I JUST reactivated it…for the sake of research…Really. I swear.)
Now, back to Jill’s previous post. I especially love this part:
What’s particularly nice about online dating, though, is the ability to auto-eliminate the people who you definitely are not going to get along with. He lists The Da Vinci Code as his favorite book? Rejected. Are those wrap-around Oakleys? Rejected. Really, Creed? Rejected. Shirtless photo? Rejected. “I like to have fun and hang out with my friends.” Original! Rejected. Did he really not spell-check this thing? Rejected. Etc etc.
Why do I love that part? It’s EXACTLY how I finagle my way through the online dating universe. I’m sorry, but more than two spelling errors and I’m judging you. If you put “u” instead of “you” or anything along those lines, you are automatically out of the running. I’d like to quote Jill again:
Online dating makes it easier to be a judgmental bitch, I guess is what I’m saying. And in matters of the heart, I think being a judgmental bitch is a pretty good idea. That doesn’t mean rejecting people for any perceived flaw…but it does mean knowing what you can’t deal with…
Sing it, sister!
One thing Jill didn’t bring up that I would like to touch on is that, in addition to giving me an opportunity to be a judgmental bitch, online dating has also given me the chance to date outside my comfort zone. Okay, to be fair, getting approached by a man in real life almost always puts me outside my comfort zone, and I very rarely give out my number. But anyway, online dating has allowed me to look at a man I might not be interested in based on a short meeting in real life, notice all the awesome things we have in common, and eventually, give out my number. He likes Scrabble? One point. He likes this random, obscure book that I’m obsessed with? Two points. He likes cheese? Five points. Oh my god, he works for NPR?! That’s like a million points. Yes, a million. Come on! He could be the next Ira Glass! No? A girl can dream.
You might be saying, “Wait, you still reject him if he’s ugly right?” But to tell the truth, I don’t set much store by the pictures on online dating sites, because let’s be honest, not everyone is photogenic. If you judge the photos — I mean, other than judging a guy for being shirtless or having wraparound Oakleys — you could be screwing yourself out of meeting a hot guy who just doesn’t know how to work a camera. (I’ve definitely dated a few of those in the past.)
What am I saying? No idea. Attempt at a summary: I’ve met a couple of really awesome men as a result of online dating, and like Jill, I’ve found that dates with online suitors often go better than dates with real-world prospects. But more importantly, I think that the process of online dating has made me more open to experiences that come my way, both online and in the real world, because it has taught me that my knee-jerk reaction might be screwing me out of some really great dates. So thanks, OK Cupid, for opening my eyes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to update my profile.