Today I read this article on Gaiam Life about online dating. I found it interesting, and liked the niche sites portion.
I kind of like online dating. I don’t like the idea of meeting someone in a bar (it always makes me think of that scene in Cape Fear where Robert DiNiro bites off that chick’s cheek), and most of the social groups I’ve joined consist of either married moms or 50+ people, all of them very cool, but none of them am I interested in dating. My church has no single guys my age, there used to be one, but he moved to Florida, and no way am I going to start looking for dates at work. I don’t really want to date anyone in the military (I know too much!), and I don’t like the idea of potentially dating then breaking up with someone I work with.
That doesn’t leave me with too many other options for meeting people. And in order to date, you have to meet people.
I find the biggest criticizers of online dating are chronically single people who take no action to try and meet anyone, or chronic daters, who simply pick up a bunch of one or two night stands at bars, then wonder why it never develops into a relationship. I don’t think I should pay much attention to the judgements of people who don’t meet people at all, let alone online, nor should I pay much attention to people who keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Online dating really isn’t that new. People have been posting personals for decades, until the invention of the internet, they did it in newspapers and magazines. After my parents divorce, my father spent a lot of time answering personal ads in newspapers. My mother posted an ad herself, and spent a lot of time weeding out the weirdos from the norms, then went on a lot of dates. Some of them were more successful than others. My mom also subscribed to Alaska Man Magazine (which still exists, but you’re going to have to google it, because if I type the website in at work, the Army Computer Nazis will swoop down on me). Internet dating is no different.
I think online dating is a tool. A means of meeting people. And if you are so inclined, you should certainly try it. I have some rules for internet dating though, that I’ve learned through trial and error, that I would like to share with you.
First, Myspace and Facebook are not dating sites. I met my son’s biological father on Myspace. Enough said, right? No? Well, the guy I dated before him (also a loser with no job, although at least he wasn’t an addict) I also met on Myspace. I don’t know anyone who ever met anyone good on Myspace. Leave the social networking sites to social networking. If you’re wanting to date, go to sites where the other members are wanting the same thing. That way there’s no confusion.
Rule number two, paid sites are better. I’m not saying don’t ever use a free site, I’m just saying use a free site at your own risk. Why? Well first of all, a lot of the guys on free sites aren’t really looking to date, they are just looking to get laid. People who are willing to pay to join a site are usually looking for a bigger commitment than a few drinks and some sex. After all, if they have money burning a hole in their pocket, and they just want to get laid, they can probably pick up a girl in a bar (probably one of those big critics of online dating I mentioned earlier) for cheaper than the cost of a dating site membership. Second, guys on paid sites are more likely to have jobs. Paid sites are a great way to weed out the jobless losers.
Finally, I agree with the above article about niche sites. Match.com, Chemistry.com and eHarmony are all well and good, but finding someone you like on those sites can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. I did Chemistry for a while last year, and I spent so much time weeding through Republicans that I gave up and did not renew my membership until just recently. Match.com I think is even worse. I did that when I got back from my deployment, and that was $40 down the drain, because I was so overwhelmed I didn’t even contact anyone (that being said, I have a friend who met her husband on Match.com and raves about it).
Then I found GreenSingles.com. This sounded perfect to me, because all the people on the site were pretty much garunteed to have a lot of the same interests as me! Unfortunately, in my area, most of the men on that site are well over 50, which is a little too old for me, but my quest for the perfect niche site continues. In fact, I’m on a few. There are niche sites for everything. For religions, for hobbies, for political bents. Seriously everything. Start Googling.
As for the bigger sites, I guess having more people there can be a benefit. If you’re on a site with 100,000 people, vs. a site with 100 people, you are definitely going to have more choices. When picking a big site, remember there are two main differences, there are sites that pick matches for you based on the answers to a “personality profile” (Chemistry and eHarmony), and there are sites that allow you to search through all their members (Match and Yahoo). I prefer a site where they choose matches for me, because I don’t have the patience to read profile after profile. I don’t, however like eHarmony. My mom was on that site for six months, and had major problems. First, she was honest in her profile when she said that she was 6 feet tall and over weight, yet for whatever reason, the site kept matching her up with short men who said in their profile that they abosolutely could not date an overweight woman. Furthermore (and this was a problem on Chemistry too), the site kept matching her up with Republicans, although she was quite clear that she is a Democrat. I would think that political beliefs represent some of your “core values”, which eHarmony claims to match you by. But apparently not.
Here are some sites I do like:
- Green Singles
- Act For Love
- Gaia Soulmates
- Veggie Connections
As far as free sites go, I like OkCupid.
I am currently pretty active on Chemistry but not the other sites. As one might expect, I have spoken to more people from Chemistry than I have from all the niche sites combined. Does that mean I think Chemistry is a better choice? No. It just means I wish more people would seek out the niche sites rather than the big, faceless sites. Niche sites automatically narrow the playing field for you, so you can weed out the people you wouldn’t ever be interested in more easily. But, most people can’t afford memberships on multiple sites (God knows I can’t) so I understand if you just choose to go with the most popular choice. Thats kind of what I did.