About a year ago I signed up for a free online dating site called Plenty of Fish, also known as POF. The Interests Everybody likes music, and art, and traveling, and the outdoors, and sunshine, and having fun.While searching through the profiles that all women age 20 – 36 within the greater Los Angeles area made for themselves, I started to notice an alarming number of similarities or recuring themes. These are not things that give any insight as to who you are as an individual.Those issues may disproportionately affect me for some reason, right? Some intrepid fellow ran a little experiment to see how different the experience on OKCupid was for men and women.He created five dummy accounts for women and five for men, with varying degrees of attractiveness.For example: “I’m a nerd that likes to play scrabble and do crossword puzzles, but I also love doing girly things like getting my hair and nails done. I’m a big believer in efficiency when it comes to dating. Y’see, online dating can seem for folks, especially people who have a touch of approach anxiety or hate the bar and club scene but don’t necessarily want to try hitting up strangers at Barnes and Noble.Some, back in the early days of online dating (lo those dark days of the late 90s and early 00s), were evil and would sell a limited number of messages; if you sent out a message and didn’t hear back, well, tough shit Charlie, you just blew a buck (or whatever the per-unit cost was). were intended as a way of trying to get someone to message so that you could chat without wasting your hard-earned money.Needless to say, it was kind of an insult even back then; nothing screams romance more than “I’m interested in you but not enough to actually to join the site.” Fortunately most sites seem to have wised up and charge a subscription fee instead, but the vestigal organ that is the “wink” hangs in there like an appendix and does nothing but cause trouble.
Why do all of that when you can meet women without leaving your house?I don’t drink, so I don’t hang out in bars or any other the other places you might typically find other single folks. Furthermore, many of them browse anonymously so they don’t even appear in the visitor lists of the men they check it.My interests skew towards the geriatric; I’ll take a lovely cup of tea over a rock concert ten times out of ten. You can see how this could create problems and why dating websites seemed like a good solution to them. Women treat dating websites like coffee shop windows; merely a portal to peruse the selection from a safe distance. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how it’s annoying if a man asks you personal questions at a bar, but if no men message you on a dating website you feel dejected. This is what I meant by peering through the coffee shop window. There are exceptions, two of them being my sisters who each pursued the men they love.After one week the women had received a combined total of 392 messages, while the men had only been sent 22. Women received more than seventeen times as many messages as the men. I was admittedly a little shocked by that number, but somehow relieved.Perhaps my profile (and face) isn’t as bad as I had thought.
I’ve been trying to determine the first time I ever opened an online dating account and as far as I can tell it was in 2003 when I created a profile on Yahoo Personals.