Law-Wench Seeks Pirate for Intellectual Companionship, Make-Out Sessions
Okay, I'll admit it. I'd like to have a boyfriend.
I like to think I'm pretty good at flirting, and that I'm reasonably approachable, and I go out plenty -- but I've only dated a handful of guys over the last year or so, and nothing's come of it. So I bit the bullet and tried the online dating thing.
I can't say I've had much success. The first website I signed up for was match.com, which is kind of like the Starbucks of the online dating world. Match is decent, I guess, but their layout makes me think of a used car salesman. They have articles offering advice about dating and sharing fairy-tale stories of successful couples. Of course, the articles tend to be weighted toward the online dating world, which makes a degree of sense -- they're running an online dating service, and the people reading their articles are likely to be at least marginally interested in online dating. But there's something about their articles that makes me nervous about online dating (like this article about checking up on your sweetie). Apparently the same rules don't apply to online dating that apply to plain, old-fashioned dating. That makes me feel a little funny. It's strange enough trying to meet Prince Charming through the internet -- I don't need to be reminded how very different this makes me from more traditional daters.
I was determined, though, not to let the articles sidetrack me from my mission. If I was going to be single, it wouldn't be for failure to try new things. So I set up an online profile and posted a few pictures of myself that I thought were halfway decent. I had responses almost instantly. It was thrilling and flattering, but my initial excitement was soon dampened as I looked over the profiles of the men who expressed interest in me. Many didn't have pictures, and -- hey, I'm not shallow, but if I'm putting myself out there I don't see why anyone else can't. (And why wouldn't you put up a photo? Are you ashamed of your looks? Okay, maybe I am a little shallow.) The other problem was that some of them were very clearly not what I was looking for. The most egregious violation of my preferences was age -- I had men two and a half times my age contacting me! I have, numerous times, heard these common complaints from other veterans of the online dating world. I think the thing that bothered me the most, though, was the egregious violations of traditionally-accepted rules of spelling and grammar (not to mention common courtesy). The profile of one guy who contacted me displayed an alarming lack of punctuation:
"i like too play pool, go to movies long walks bike ride dress up for romantic dinner but mostly sweep my girl of her feet with my charming and warm smile ther after make her melt with my caring touch."
I also like the internal monologue:
"Im not really sure why im doing this but it worth a shot huh? This internet hook up stuff is very awkward to me and it makes me feel weird about dating. Who would of thought this is where i would look?"
But I think this one was my favorite:
"YOU'LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ME EMBARASSING YOU WITH LOUD PUBLIC OUTBURST DRAWING ATTENTION TO MYSELF."
The next site I tried, I found a link to from TheSpark.com, which is now SparkLife. TheSpark was this funky upstart website with random quizzes and tests that my friends and I would take (it had a score-sharing system that would send emails to your friends when you took a test; the emails had subjects like "LawFairy is totally gay!"). The creators of TheSpark started an online dating website, OkCupid.com. The key feature of this website is that it is free. It also has a lot of fun random tests and quizzes, just like TheSpark did. Because of that, it's not as serious a dating service as match.com, but, hey, I figured, it's worth a shot.
OkCupid users tend to be on the younger side, so fortunately I didn't have any grandfathers emailing me. Unfortunately, some of the users are correspondingly less mature:
"hi im  how are u im fine so wot u on here for"
They can also be less tolerant:
"Hello, I wrote you a while back, and I see you never responded to me. I was just wondering if you would reconsider. I think we might have some things in common. I can see if we talked, and you saw there was nothing there. But what is the harm in chatting a little? ...Hope you'll keep an open mind and that we can talk a little."
The last site I tried was American Singles. Not only was this the most expensive dating service I tried, it was also the most likely to subject me to lecherous come-ons. Thanks to their instant messaging program, I had the joy of talking to several late-night web surfers looking for cybersex. And they never even bought me dinner.
Now that I've spent a good hour of my exam-studying time composing this post, I'm worried that spam engines will pick up on the meta-tags in my post. Oh well, traffic is traffic, I guess.