Please exit the car to the left and make sure you don’t leave your valuables behind…

I’ve kissed a lot of frogs… I mean that metaphorically.  I’ve been experimenting with online dating.  My general inexperience with dating has made it a somewhat treacherous, somehow thrilling adventure.  I guess it’s like a roller coaster ride in that sense.  But like any great ride…it comes to a stop and it’s time to get off!

I found that internet dating is akin to speed dating…or what I imagine speed dating would be like. (I’ve never actually speed dated)  A flurry of activity with an urgency to cram as much personality into, and gather as much data as possible from, a brief window to a person, making rash decisions and learning to live with some poor choices.  Rating, prioritizing and rejecting… harsh.

Although these sites claim to use an algorithm to present you with your best possible personal matches, it’s really just a crap shoot. And I think that if we’re being honest, we can admit that often the matchups they suggest are limited or poor, so we troll through the photo galleries looking for faces and lifestyles that turn our crank.   If you tried to read every single profile to give each person their due, you’d need to leave your job.  So because you really only get that surface look you’re doing a lot of book cover judging, which is a terrible way to try to make a deep connection.

But defining and aligning your intentions was what I really found to be the hardest part of all this. Thankfully, there are those who are straight up about looking for a romp or a friend with benefits, which is not what I was after.  Unfortunately, there are also those who are willing to pretend they want more and they’re hard to identify without some creative chatting.

Trust me:  When you’ve been single and celibate for a long time… staying true to yourself, your values and your own intentions can be a challenge amidst all the flattery.   For as many good-time-Charlie’s as there are, I believe there an equal number of genuine, good quality men.  (And, ladies, from what some of these men have told me, there are just as many good-time-Suzie’s…) so it’s no wonder it’s hard to navigate.

I found I was bombarded with emails; often too many to reply to and certainly too many to juggle – again, it could almost be a full time job… and if I’d wanted to stray from my path, I had enough offers to fill a calendar!  Good for the ego, sure; until you realize how superficial it all is.

My two “favourites” in the insincere (or uninspired?) category were the guy whose opening line was:  “I love you” and the other who said “What are your plans November 21, wanna tie the knot?”…. Wow! Delete and block!

Happily, the courting gods have smiled on me.  After weeding through all the meat market pickup lines, and cheesy-get-to-know-you-interview type interactions, I ended up talking seriously to about 10 people, meeting 6 of them and 2 made it past the initial meeting to a second “date”.  And because I am either very lucky or very deserving (thanks, kharma!!), I’ve managed to meet someone who not only turns my crank… but respects me and is worth making a go of it with – he made it to date #5 and beyond!

1 in 10?  Yeah, I think those seem like pretty good odds, so I’d say online dating was a success!

So goodbye online dating!  I enjoyed the ride, but it’s time to exit the car to the left and make sure I don’t leave any of my valuables behind.

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