I've done it, and I'd do it again. I just hope I don't have to.
There really is nothing wrong with internet dating, though.
Hahahahaha - you thought I was talking about burying my neighbours under the azaleas, didn't you? Ah haha. No no. I collect stamps now.
Really, though, internet dating is not the dip into the sleeze pool so many people make it out to be. You have to have a special membership for that. For the main part, internet people are a lot like real life people. It's almost as if the two were connected in some strange, mysterious way.
One of the greatest concerns people have when considering online dating is misrepresentation. Most women worry that the people they're talking to might not really be single. Most men worry that the people they're talking to might not really be women. Everybody worries that the person they're talking to might not really look like their picture, almost as much as they worry about whether or not anybody's going to notice the "Happy New Year 1987" banner in the background of their own picture.
The next most common concern is the matter of how does one describe oneself? A lot of people have realized that the simplest approach is to just write "I never know what to say in these little boxes LOL anything you want to know just ask". As I honestly have no idea how they keep up with the torrential responses from people afire with intrigue and probing questions I can't in good conscience recommend this approach.
Another popular method of self description is to describe yourself using nothing but cringingly obvious references to painful dating experiences:
"I believe in HONESTY and TRUTH in a relationship. Game players NEED NOT APPLY. If you just want someone to take you out and buy you drinks all night and pay for a cab to wait while you make out with the obviously underage cashier and then never return so much as a single one of forty six phone messages even though your mother said you were home and your car was in the driveway you know LOOK ELSEWHERE. I'm not willing to settle."
Some don't even get as far as the date:
"I'm not here to play games. If I write you the nice thing to do is write back, even if just to say you're not interested. Why are you even here if you aren't even going to write people back? I would write you back! IT'S THE DECENT THING TO DO."
These latter approaches manage to circumvent the torrential responses from people afire with intrigue and probing questions problem very effectively.
Those among us with basic powers of observation have likely noticed something of a pattern developing here. The two elements that are evidently very commonly believed to be essential for a successful dating site profile are:
1) Informing people that you do not play games, do not like games, are not on the site to play games, don't like people who play games, and don't care if they didn't ask you to play their stupid games anyway because you just said you didn't want to so there.
2) Remembering that if you need to share with people an important insight about the kind of person you are and what you're looking for in a relationship, ALL CAPS AUTOMATICALLY MAKE ANYTHING YOU WRITE POIGNANT. They're especially effective in conveying just how deeply sincere you are about the fact that you DON'T PLAY GAMES.
The self description component need not be an issue, however. If unsure of what to say or how to say it, simply post a clear picture of as much cleavage as the site censors will allow and/or an annual income of $100,000+, and you can write "Wheeeeeeeeeeee I'm a gumdrop!" and still hit in-box capacity within an hour.
In-boxes are someplace else entirely. Equal parts Christmas morning and visiting your mean aunt at the nursing home. Gardens of delights and cat poops.
The first thing you learn is not to open your mail. That is, not all of it. Open the profiles of the people who sent it first, then decide if you want to open their mail. If the profile features, for example, a webcam image of someone holding a ruler alongside their fully extended tongue, you might not be interested in learning their impression of the photo you posted of yourself holding a cat. If their profile is illegible l33t and emoticon soup you don't need to open the letter. I'll tell you what it says right now. It says "What's up?" or some witty variation such as "howru2nite?" or "40SS#%^?" which I mostly just made up but could possibly mean something (and I apologize if it made anybody cry), which in dating site-ese means "I'm bored, entertain me". If you want to help someone achieve the world record for most chat windows open at any given time by all means involve yourself. If you're hoping for a more romantic interaction I would suggest placing an order at a take-out window. You can play Chris Isaak on the car stereo and let your fingers touch when they hand you your change if it helps.
Letters with a subject line that clearly references something you wrote in your profile and indicates that they totally get your sense of humor? Clear your schedule, get a fresh cup of coffee, turn off the music and give every word every ounce of your attention. Those are the gold you're mining for.
If you're serious about finding someone to date, find other people who are serious about finding someone to date.
If they can't take the time to type full words for you, they're not going to go to much effort to win your affection later on, either. Delete.
If they're full of compliments for your photo and mention nothing about what you wrote, that's because they didn't bother to read anything that you wrote. Save your time for people who care as much about your contents as your packaging. Delete.
If, after reading their letter, you can imagine it being addressed to a someone completely different and still being completely relevant, it's a form letter. Delete.
You will get fewer responses if you don't post an income. That's a good thing.
You will get fewer responses if you don't post a hyper-flattering photo. That's also a good thing.
You will get bored, disappointed, frustrated, disillusioned, and fed up. So will the person looking for you. That's okay. If you both persist, the internet really isn't all that damn big. You'll find each other.
Just remember - always wear protection when kissing frogs.
1 hour ago