Thursday, July 08, 2004

Adventures in e-Dating, Part I: Fortune Favors the Bold (or is that the Desperate?)

About nine years ago, I was sitting at a wedding reception with a friend discussing dating; at some point in the conversation, personal ads came up.

"A haven for the desperate and lonely," I said. "Only freaks, fetishists and people who don't play well with others use them." I think I nodded sagely after saying this, because that's what I do when I make profound observations.

The ironic thing about me looking down my nose at the lonely is that I'm not exactly setting dating records myself. I have this uncanny knack of causing women to slowly back away after 30 seconds; that is, if they don't reach for the can of mace first.

So needless to say, you can probably see where this entry is going.

Fast forward to the fall of 2002; I was a new homeowner. I was recently dumped by my girlfriend. I had a car. I had a job. Heck, I even had some money rolling in from time to time - at least when I kept myself from the fire water and one-armed bandits, which wasn't too often, but I was willing to forego it once in awhile.

Digressions aside, somehow, I decided to put my writing skills to good use and find myself a woman. Yep. I tell myself that I can write. It's one of those illusions we all live under - like how we're all witty and charming, and people think we're really funny . . . wait - that's what I tell myself! Go find your own illusions!

But this left me with a different dilemma - which service to use?

There's Lavalife,, e-Harmony (that spokesman scares the bejeesus out of me - creepy little troll), Bubba's Dating, all those ads you see at 3:00 AM on weekends, Yahoo! - no shortage of possibilities!

After reviewing my options (i.e., seeing which service offered the most hotties), I made my choice - Yahoo! it was!

Armed with a special issue of Men's Health giving me advice on how to navigate these potentially treacherous waters, I boldly logged on and prepared to be overwhelmed by all the responses I would receive.

I opened my foray into e-dating by e-mailing an attractive woman who had just turned 30 (like me), recently returned to town (I know it well, so I could show her around), and works for Wal-Mart (I have nothing there. I hate Wal-Mart, but what the hell, she was cute). And I never heard back from her.

But that was okay. To hell with her! I didn't need her! I posted my profile, and promptly started two weeks of correspondence with a woman who wouldn't answer my questions but demanded I answer hers. She wouldn't show me a picture of herself, even though I sent her one. Oh, and she insulted all of the answers I provided. It was a lot of fun, in a self-loathing-maybe-this-is-all-I-have-to-look-forward-to-please-God-kill-me-now kind of way. However, she grew weary of playing with me and found a new mouse, so I was left to my own devices. Then I found another Amy.

Like everyone, I have a name that is the bane of my existence. Being with someone with this name is bad news; it means the train is rushing down the track with the broken bridge, and the engineer is laughing maniacally while taking a swig of whiskey, pouring it into the fire box followed by three more logs. The funny thing is that you really don't care while it's happening - it's a fun ride, until you go flying off the tracks. That's how I feel when I meet a new Amy.

Fortunately, she blew me off after a few e-mails back and forth.

I gave up for a brief time, then I jumped back in with a new message sent to a new girl. She seemed nice, fun and pleasant.

Yep. Her name was Amy. We corresponded for about two weeks, but she ran off as soon as I suggested we meet. I'm guessing it wasn't meant to be.

So I was discouraged, frustrated and generally pissed off; where the hell were the 30-40 women that writer promised me? Where were all the dates? Dear Lord, would a publication actually lie in order to increase circulation? Fortunately, I didn't have to face down this crisis of journalistic faith. Fate stepped in and I stared dating someone new, so I bid Yahoo! Personals a nice "adieu!"

"I don't need these losers anymore," I thought while giggling and canceling my account. Happily, I shut off the computer and the lights, and went off to start a new chapter of life.

A rather short one, as it turns out.


Lime Girl said...

you story rings so true. Previously, I scoffed at e-dating....then I became a statistic and got $14.95. I spent too much time filling out the massive questionaire, posting pictures and reading 'scientifically selected' profiles of potential matches that never really matched me at all. After having been affilitated with it for a little over 3 months, i can safely say that I have laid it to rest. Real people are much more fun.....(I say this as I sit here and post on a stranger's blog, eh?) ha.

Nuance said...

Funny ass shit. Reminds me of some of weirder moments I've had with Friendster and dates. Yes, I was trying to keep it kosher for a while, but became disenchanted and gave up last month. Need to get my shit together better before I tip my toes in that pool again.

Anonymous said...

I had a ton of first dates thru internet dating, a bunch of 2nd dates... and practically zero 3rd dates. But I found it a useful helpful experience b/c it helped me refine my relationship filter to the point where I knew almost instantly if a particular relationship would go anywhere.

Keep trying. The more dates and contacts you have, the better you will know yourself and what you want. Eventually you'll find the right one!


Gordon said...

Hey, I can do everyone one better...

I get this e-mail from this online dating account that I hadn't used since Gabe Kaplan was a bona-fide tv star. It's some Russian woman who wants to "get to know me."

Anyway, I do the whole "distant tight-lipped stranger" deal that gets the ladies a-pinin', and all of a sudden, this woman (who has sent me pictures, none of which match) announces that she's madly in love with me and wants us to be together.

Being the slightly skeptical guy I am, I do a Google search - turns out, this is a classic scam where someone bilks a lonely guy out of tons of dough to "bring" a woman into the US. Suffice it to say, I turned the tables on this person, and she (if she is a she) hasn't written me back.

I'm also sticking to the good old fashioned way of meeting women - "Hey, baby, what's your sign"

Brent said...

Tell me about it! I'm on Yahoo personals right now and I've tried to meet a few women that way in the past too (, Lavalife, stuff like that). Talked with a couple of women from Yahoo and even spent some time with one.

Guess what - I'm not Christian enough (I've recently joined a Unitarian Universalist church) or I'm not this or that or whatever.

Not that I feel desperate though - just another tool to use to find Miss Right. Beliefnet (a religious- and spiritually oriented site) is jumping in the fray at the end of the month too with Soulmatch. I signed up for it - hey, free month, so what do I have to lose?

I wouldn't give up just yet, anyone who's thinking about going on-line or not. To me, it's just another way to meet folks - and as I say, always keep your options open.