Adventures in Online Dating: Tinder

I suppose if there’s any silver lining to my most recent breakup, it’s that it put me back on the online dating scene and gave me more blogging fodder.

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Ah, Tinder! Where do I even begin with you?

I assume that by now, everyone is at least marginally aware of how Tinder works, but just in case: Tinder is an app-based dating platform. In order to create a profile, you need to have Facebook, which Tinder will use to show you mutual friends (either first degree or second degree) you have with the people you encounter on Tinder, much like Coffee Meet Bagel, and mutually liked pages.

As with any site/app, you’re welcome to add as much personal information as you want. Unlike other sites/apps, Tinder does not give you any sort of prompts or suggestions, but rather presents you with a blank box and lets you fill it in with whatever your heart desires, including nothing at all, if you so choose. Tinder will choose photos for your profile as well, but you’re welcome to switch out whichever photos it selects and replace them with ones you like, such as, say, a photo from the CARA banquet where you cropped out your now-ex-boyfriend because you looked bangin’ in that dress and forced him to take a picture with you so you could put it on Facebook and show off to all of your non-friends that you both had a boyfriend and a super amazing little black dress, but then after he drove you home you spent nearly two hours sitting in his car successfully convincing him to delay breaking up with you for a month, and decided, in light of that conversation, that perhaps Facebook would not be the appropriate place for that photo, but held on to it anyway, and then post-breakup decided, oh, eff yes this is going on my Tinder profile. Not that I did that, because I’m not petty, shallow, or predictable.

Anyway.

So, once you’ve done all that, the real fun begins, and you get to swiping. Tinder will use the location services function of your phone (and drain the hell out of your battery, let me tell you) to find you potential suitors within a distance you’ve specified, anywhere from one to 100 miles. It will then present you with people who fit the gender you’ve selected to be shown (men, women, both men and women) and the distance you’ve requested. Upon initial swipe, you will see their photo, their name, their age, and their school and/or job information if they’ve allowed Tinder to share that from their Facebook page. If you want to know more, you can tap on this area, and it will open their full profile, with more schooling/job information if they’ve chosen to share that, their distance from you, any mutual friends/interests, and the ability to scroll through the rest of their photos. If you like them, you can tap the green heart or swipe right. If you don’t like them, you can tap the red x or swipe left. If you really like them, you can tap the blue star, which will “super like” them (I don’t think anyone uses this function, or at least not on purpose). If you swipe right, Tinder will hang onto that person for you, but you can’t find his/her profile again unless he/she swiped right on you in the past or swipes right on you in the future. If you swipe left on someone, they are, allegedly, gone forever, unless you upgrade to Tinder Plus, in which case you get access to an undo function. Or you could just be patient, because I’ve definitely had people I swiped left on show up again later.

If you match with someone, the two of you now have the ability to chat and/or sexually harass each other. Chatting in Tinder is basically identical to texting, so if you hoped to woo someone with your command of the English language, I suggest moving your efforts over to OkCupid or Match.

Now, let’s tackle the number one thing everyone associates with Tinder: hooking up. Can you find a hookup on Tinder? Yes, absolutely. People looking for hookups are fairly easy to identify. If you see someone with no profile information, someone whose profile says, “In *insert city here* until *date not that far in the future*,” or someone who matched with you at an extremely obscure hour of the morning, like 3 a.m. obscure, I’d be willing to bet a very pretty penny that they’re on Tinder with the primary goal of finding a hookup. Now this, of course, doesn’t mean people who have profile information aren’t looking for a hookup, or that only sleaze balls swipe at weird hours, but if you are (or aren’t) looking for a hookup, those above profile indicators are the things I’d pay the most attention to.

I actually spent a couple of weeks on Tinder right when I started talking to my most recent ex-boyfriend. I had been a Tinder holdout for quite some time, but one of my roommates (who met her boyfriend, likely soon-to-be fiancé, of over two years on Tinder) was quite insistent that I at least give it a shot. After a summer of failed OkCupid dates and absolutely no success on Match, I decided I’d start using Tinder on Sept. 1. I caved and downloaded it the weekend before Sept. 1 (so either Aug. 29 or 30). I then met and started talking to my most recent ex-boyfriend on Aug. 31. I had stopped actively Tinder-ing before I actually went out with him, because I was really interested in seeing where things would go with him and wasn’t all that invested in Tinder during the whopping two weeks I tried it last fall. And to be honest, I was pretty disappointed with my experience. I had very, very few matches, despite not being that picky. The few people that I did match with rarely messaged me, and if they did, it never lasted beyond one or two days. I certainly never got asked out, or even asked for my number.

Side note about messaging: I, personally, will never first-message someone on Tinder. I will happily first-message boys  on Match and OkCupid, but never on Tinder, because I don’t trust anyone on Tinder. I’m sure there are guys who swipe right on every single girl who comes up for them, just to see who’s swiped right on them, and quite frankly, I have no interest in getting involved with anyone like that. Therefore, on Tinder, I always wait for someone to message me, because I figure if they message me, they must have some sort of interest. I also apply all my other messaging rules to Tinder, which is to say if all I receive is a, “hey,” “sup,” “hi,” or any other shocking lack of effort that makes me weep for mankind, I do not dignify that with a response.

When I got back on Tinder after my most recent breakup, I expected the same experience. I had no illusions that I’d match with people, no assumptions that I’d receive messages, and absolutely no expectation that I’d be asked out. I wanted a low-effort, low-expectation way to ease myself back into the world of online dating, and Tinder seemed like the best way to do that.

Well! Was I ever wrong. In my first few days on Tinder, I matched with more guys than I ever expected possible (however, after that initial match-fest, the number of times I’d match with someone dropped off dramatically. I’m talking going from matching with  at least a dozen people per day to maybe matching with three people per week, at best. My one theory is that Tinder recognizes fresh blood, and pimps you out accordingly. My other theory is that after matching with so many people, Tinder had run out of other viable guys for me to match with that fit my age and distance criteria). To my great surprise, some of these people messaged me. To my even greater surprise, almost all of them asked me out, and generally pretty quickly. With the exception of one guy, everyone that I matched and then engaged in a conversation with asked me out within less than a week. I had been out of the online dating scene for six months, so maybe a huge cultural shift took place during that time, but this was lightening speed compared to my past experience. Out of everyone I met on a non-Tinder dating site, only one asked me out quickly. Otherwise, it usually took a week at the absolute best, but usually much longer than that–sometimes up to a month–for someone to ask me out. I was blown away by how many people I met on Tinder that asked me out within hours of matching.

I went on a string of Tinder dates with mixed results, so in that department, I’d say the quality of people I met on Tinder is fairly equal to the quality of people I met elsewhere. The one biggest issue I personally ran into, however, was religion. Every other site I’ve used has had a place where you can identify what you believe religiously, if you believe anything at all. Because I’m a Christian, and it’s important to me that the people I date are on the same page as I am in that department, at least in a general sense, I’ve never before paid any sort of attention to anyone who either doesn’t say what they believe on their profile, or says they believe something different than I believe. While I’m not necessarily husband hunting, I do see marriage as the end goal of dating, which, for me, makes it very difficult to even consider dating someone who doesn’t share my religious beliefs, as that’s one of my very few non-negotiables when it comes to what I’m looking for in a partner. Obviously people can change, but, as I think most people know very well, you can’t change someone else, and I think you especially can’t change someone else when it comes to religion. Certainly they could change themselves, but this isn’t like telling someone you don’t like their cologne and want them to wear something else, you know? This is a really big thing, and expecting someone to change in that realm seems like setting yourself up for failure.

All that to say, the whole religion thing has made things sticky for me on Tinder. I’ve gone out with guys that I’ve really liked, only to find out they aren’t religious at all, which has been wildly disappointing and frustrating for me. You certainly can bring up religion in your bio on Tinder if you so choose, but from what I’ve seen, it’s very uncommon to do that – about as uncommon as it is for people to talk about their religious beliefs in their bios on other dating sites (Match and OkCupid, for example, both have basic, fill-in-the-blank forms that allow you to disclose things like religion, height, body type, etc. This is where people usually say what they believe, if they say anything at all. Rarely does someone reinforce this message through their bio.). It’s entirely possible I just read too far into things, but since it is so uncommon, I know when I come across someone who includes their faith on their Tinder bio, I assume that they are a particular type of Christian, and the type of Christian I assume they are is not the type of Christian I am–namely, the type of Christian who advertises, in no uncertain terms, that they are a Christian. While my faith is intensely important to me, it is also intensely personal, and not something I usually/ever bring up apropos of nothing. So it makes Tinder difficult.

Beyond that, Tinder also has a reputation–and I think nearly everyone gets on Tinder knowing this–of not being serious. I’ve never taken Tinder all that seriously, and I would consider myself pretty serious about dating. Tinder is a bar; Match is a singles event. You go into Tinder knowing something could happen, but having very low expectations that anything will happen, and, if it does happen, that it will lead to anything exclusive, serious, or long term. Does it happen? Sure. Does it happen often? I doubt it–or at least less often than on other sites/apps. You go into Match expecting something to happen, namely: a relationship, and quite possibly a long term and/or marriage one. But because Tinder is so casual and so low key, it feels weird to talk about religion. If you met someone at a bar and struck up a conversation with them, are you going to ask them right off the bat what they believe religiously, or expect them to ask you the same question? Probably not. If you were at a singles event, where you intended to walk out with at least one, if not more, potential people to date, would you feel more inclined to ask about religion? I’d imagine so. That’s where things get complicated with Tinder and religion, at least in my eyes, and for a religious person, that can make things really complicated in general.

Tinder to me also feels more like a sprint, whereas I’d consider OkCupid, Match, and even Coffee Meets Bagel to be more of a marathon. I get burnt out on Tinder a lot faster than on any other site, not because of consistent disappointment, but because honestly, there’s only so much you can do. You can stay on OkCupid and Match for hours, searching through literally hundreds of thousands of profiles, tweaking your own profile, answering questions, sending messages to people who’ve never contacted you, etc. On Tinder, you’re much more limited. You can swipe for hours, sure, and exchange messages with people you’ve matched with, but I think it’d be tough to spend hours on Tinder, which is not at all hard to do on Match or OkCupid. Everything on Tinder, in my experience, is rapid-fire. Match, message, exchange numbers, go out, never speak to each other again. Boom. Done. Case closed, all within seven days. Other sites, for me at least, moved much slower. It’d take days, weeks to find someone that wanted to message with you. It’d take weeks, up to a month, for them to ask you out. It would drag on and on, creating a very different sort of environment than Tinder. I don’t know if I’d say one is better than the other, but they are quite different, I think.

I don’t hate Tinder, not at all. Based on the number of people I’ve run into on there that I’ve also known in real life compared to other sites, it certainly seems to be the most popular app to use. It’s easy, it’s simple, it requires very little effort. But remember, it’s a bar, not a matchmaking event. Adjust your expectations accordingly, and you’ll do just fine.

 

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Adventures in Online Dating: Match

Yeah, yeah, I realize this was supposed to be a three-part series, and I’ve already finished three posts about online dating sites. However, I wrote the original intro to this series last April. A couple weeks after that post, I went through my first “three date relationship,” as I like to call them (where the first date goes amazing, you set up a second date, during the second date you get that sinking, “…oh,” feeling, you agree to a third date anyway just to be sure, and by the end of the third date you [and usually, in my experience, the person you’re dating as well] realize this is NOT going anywhere, and you mutually agree to “be friends.” By which I mean, “Never speak to each other again.” I had three of these between late April and early July, for those of you keeping score at home.), and, in a fit of lunacy, decided the best way to “mourn” the loss of that “relationship” (so many quotations in this paragraph. I’m the worst.) would be to throw my credit card at the granddaddy of them all: Match.com.

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Because I don’t do anything halfway, I signed up Match’s highest subscription package, which cost the most money up front (a smidge over $100, if I remember correctly. Maybe like $130ish?) but also gave me the most benefits (none of which I remember. Sorry.) and lowest cost per day. This package lasted six months (so, for me: from early May through early November), and I told myself that I would not, under any circumstance, purchase another subscription package in November. If I couldn’t find anyone on Match in six months, I’d be done with it.

I found Match confusing as hell from the get-go. My experience with web-based (as opposed to app-based) online dating consisted exclusively of OkCupid when I signed up for Match, and I expected Match to have the same intuitive design and operation as Match. Not so! Not by a long shot. On OkCupid, everything is fairly straightforward. You can like people. You can message people. You can tweak your profile on a daily basis and/or answer questions on a daily basis to increase your visibility. That’s about it. It’s a pretty easy site to hack, in the “this is how to make the site work for you” sense.

Match? Not so much. To be honest, I never really figured out how to work the system. I had no idea what I needed to do to make my profile more likely to be seen, other than paying to “boost” my profile. I never did this, though one day I had the option of doing it for free for an hour. I tried that, and got probably 20 times more views than normal. Not a single person who viewed my profile indicated any interest, nor did he message me, so as far as I was concerned, that was a pretty useless function.

Like OkCupid, Match features a “match percentage,” that, in theory, tells you how likely you are to get along with another person. Unlike OkCupid, however, where (at least in my experience) it was not all that common to find huge numbers of people that match you at 90% or higher, on Match, it seemed like every single person on the site was a 90% match–if not a 99% match, or a 100% match. What did this mean? I had no idea, but it’s pretty hard to put faith in a system that is allegedly telling you that every person you encounter could be The One.

Match has several different ways of allowing you to indicate interest in another person, none of which I really understood. You could like their photos, a la Facebook. You could wink at them, whatever that meant. Every day, you’re presented with 12 people that Match thinks would be great for you in your Daily Matches (highlights for me: my best friend’s sociopathic ex-roommate, and the brother of a particular Bachelor contestant). You can either say you’re not interested, in which case this person–who I’m convinced must be a completely random guy Match drug up from its list, based on the best-friend’s-sociopathic-ex-roommate situation. I met that guy in real life plenty of times, and I can ASSURE YOU that we in NO WAY should’ve been matched together, regardless of the fact that he’s quite probably a sociopath–has no idea that you were matched with them, or say that you’re interested, in which case Match emails the person to tell them as such, along with sending them a notification within the website, AND gives you the opportunity to flex your creative writing skills right then and there by messaging him/her right off that bat.

In six months on Match, I had four people indicate interest in me via their daily matches (even though in theory, I showed up in someone’s daily matches every day), and I’m pretty sure three of them were neo-Nazis based on their photos. So that was reassuring. (The fourth guy, fortunately, did not give off any neo-Nazi vibes.)

While I would usually get at least one message per week on OkCupid, depending on how active I had been lately, I RARELY got emails on Match, and I don’t mean quality emails (something other than “hey”): I mean emails, period. I’d say my profile views were slightly lower on Match than on OkCupid–though, to be fair, for most of my six months on Match, I didn’t go on all that often–but in terms of profile views:communication, I found OkCupid to be MUCH more productive than Match. In terms of communication:dates, I also found OkCupid to be much more productive. In my experience, nearly every substantial messaging exchange on OkCupid eventually led to at least one date. Granted, I had far fewer substantial email exchanges with guys on Match, but out of the ones I had, only one ever led to a date.

To be honest, I hated Match from the start. Absolutely hated it. Part of my hatred came from not understanding the site–to me, the whole design felt like a relic of late ’00s Internet–but another part of my hatred came from how utterly useless the site felt to me. This is the site people send you to when you’re looking for someone serious, isn’t it?! Why on earth was it only populated by extremely attractive 29 year olds who would never even consider speaking to me, or weirdos from the suburbs who quite possibly have Confederate flags painted on the back windshield of their pickup truck? Because I hated Match, it felt like a chore to use it, so more often than not, I chose to not use it.

Last summer, I read Love in the Time of Algorithms, which I cannot recommend enough to anyone interested in online dating, either as something he or she plans to do, or as just a general topic of research. In that book, I learned that Match is meant to function, essentially, like an online version of printed personal ads, while OkCupid aims more to present you with people it thinks you’ll like. Using Match is like shopping at Macy’s. Using OkCupid is like using StitchFix. In the first instance, you have to sort through thousands and thousands of blouses to find one that works for you. In the second instance, someone does that leg work for you, and send you a blouse they think you’ll like based on what you’ve told them, with varying results. I think if I had known that when I started using Match, I would’ve had a better experience with the site. I was expecting OkCupid for Grownups, and since that is not at all what I got, I became extremely frustrated–frustrated to the point where I didn’t even want to bother logging on at all.

 

As you’ve probably gathered from all of this, Match did not at all live up to my expectations. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was just the people who I found on the site, maybe it was my age, maybe it was my timing, maybe it’s who uses Match in Chicago, maybe it was my previous OkCupid experience and resulting ideas about how online dating work. Whatever it was, Match was not a good match (worst pun ever) for me, and if one of my friends came to me asking which site I’d recommend for online dating, Match would be at the bottom of that list.

Adventures in Online Dating: Coffee Meets Bagel

Ah, it’s been awhile since we’ve had one of these, hasn’t it?

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Back in February, six days before my ex-boyfriend dumped me, I went out to dinner with one of my good friends from my CARA group. Though I wasn’t single at the time, the topic of dating came up, and she told me about this guy she had gone out on a couple of dates with, though things didn’t seem to be going anywhere, especially considering that he had left the country for three weeks. I asked her how she met him, and with great shame, she said, “It’s embarrassing, but I met him online.”

Pfft. Like I, the queen of online dating, would ever judge someone for meeting a romantic interest online.

I then asked her where specifically she met him, and she told me Coffee Meets Bagel. I had vaguely heard of Coffee Meets Bagel in the past, but didn’t know much about it. Since I was in a relationship anyway, I filed that information away in the back of my head and carried on with my life.

Well, six days later, I was no longer in a relationship. I didn’t want to jump right back into the online dating scene the day I got dumped, but a few weeks later after a totally horrific Project Fixup date, I remembered that my friend had mentioned this Coffee Meets Bagel app, and decided to download it for myself.

I would describe Coffee Meets Bagel as a stepping stone between OkCupid and Tinder, or perhaps the online dating skeptic’s Tinder. Coffee Meets Bagel is entirely app-based and requires you to have an active Facebook profile to use it. After downloading the app, it requests permission to access your Facebook profile (but doesn’t post to Facebook or indicate on Facebook that you’re using the app) and then creates a very basic profile for you using your age, religion, high school, college, and photos from Facebook. You’re free to fill in additional profile questions beyond that, but you’re not required to (Coffee Meets Bagel does recommend that you do this, however, and since there are only three questions – come on, people. Put at least an iota of effort into this.).

Every day at noon, you receive one new “bagel,” which is to say, a person who, in theory, should interest you. After checking out your bagel, you can like or pass him/her and explain why you did what you did using a variety of qualities that pop up after you’ve made your decision (“cute,” “smart”, “common interests,” “age,” “too far away,” “not my type,” etc.). If your bagel likes you as well, you’ll have access to a private messaging space where you can communicate within the app (much like Tinder). There are two big caveats here:

#1: You only have 24 hours to like or pass on your bagel. If you don’t check Coffee Meets Bagel within that 24 hour period, you’ll lose your bagel, no matter how much you think you may have liked him/her.
#2: If you both like each other and get your messaging space, that messaging space only remains open for seven days. No languishing away sending messages back and forth here: if you don’t exchange contact info within seven days, you’re outta luck if you want to keep communicating with your bagel.

Doing various activities on Coffee Meets Bagel–creating a profile, referring friends (or having your Facebook friends join, with or without your knowledge), passing or liking your daily bagel, etc.–earns you beans. These beans can be used for a variety of in-app “purchases,” including getting personalized insights on your profile (reasons people have given for liking or passing you, tips on how to improve your profile, etc.) and “taking” additional bagels in one day. Remember, you only get one person for free per 24-hour period (for the most part – occasionally you get “bonus bagels” and receive two people in one day). If you want to see someone else, you can pony up some of your hard-earned beans, and Coffee Meets Bagel will present you with another person to like or pass.

Because you used your Facebook profile to access Coffee Meets Bagel, the app has access to your friend list. If you and your bagel have mutual friends, it’ll tell you, but you’ll have to pay a small bean fee in order to see who your mutual friends are (if you can’t figure it out based on his/her high school, college, or other profile clues). If you have second or third-degree connections with someone on the app, it’ll tell you that as well, and for that information you don’t have to pay. So, for example, if your daily bagel is John, and John is friends with Susie, and Susie is friends with Billy, and YOU’RE friends with Billy, Billy will show up on John’s profile as a second-degree connection. If you’re friends with Susie, however, she’ll show up as a first degree connection, but only after you’ve paid Coffee Meets Bagel to tell you that John also knows Susie. I don’t know this for sure, but I have a theory that Coffee Meets Bagel only shows first, second, and/or third degree connections you have with people if YOUR Facebook friend uses the app as well. The app doesn’t say that that’s the case, but since the mutual friends who showed up for me were always the same people, I began to wonder if it was more than a coincidence (though to be fair, the girl who almost always showed up as second- or third-degree connection for me does have nearly 2,000 friends on Facebook, which would make her second- and third-degree networks enormous).

For awhile, I was quite picky with who I would like or pass on Coffee Meets Bagel, but then I found myself going for weeks on end without a single match. That was discouraging, to say the least, so by the end of my time on Coffee Meets Bagel, I was liking literally every single bagel I got, unless there was some ENORMOUS problem with him (all his photos showed him in various states of drunkenness, we didn’t have the same religious beliefs, or something else equally dramatic/dealbreak-y). You can tell Coffee Meets Bagel what you want in terms of distance, age and religion, so for the most part, the guys I received as bagels were what I was looking for. But as anyone who has ever in any way had romantic feelings knows, just because you like someone doesn’t mean they’ll like you back!

I don’t have an active Coffee Meets Bagel profile at the moment, so I can’t say for sure how many connections I made through the app. I know for sure that in the five months I used the app, I went out with two different guys I met on Coffee Meets Bagel (I, uh, may or may not have liked one of them exclusively because our one mutual friend was my ex-boyfriend, and I wanted to see what would happen. Imagine my surprise when that guy liked me back, asked me out almost immediately, and then turned out to be great! What a conundrum. We only ended up going out twice because of other circumstances, but I’m glad I never had to explain to him that the main reason I liked him was in hopes that it would somehow make my ex jealous *hides in shame*). I exchanged a few messages with maybe a handful of other guys I connected with on the app, but those never led to anything. I’d estimate that MAYBE 10% of the guys I liked liked me back, so for the most part, I didn’t connect with people, anyway.

I think Coffee Meets Bagel is a particularly gentle introduction to online dating. It’s easy to use, FAR less overwhelming than OkCupid or Tinder, and lends itself to arranging in-person dates as quickly as possible. It can be discouraging to go day after day after day without making a connection, but given how many rejections you face on other online dating sites, I’d say the rate of rejection is pretty similar overall. If someone came to me who hadn’t ever done online dating and wanted a way to dip his or her toes into the waters, I’d send them to Coffee Meets Bagel first.

Adventures in Online Dating: OkCupid

Because if you know someone single and they mention OKC, chances are they aren’t talking about Oklahoma City…!

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Ah, OKC. The young twentysomething’s Match. The pre-Tinder Tinder. The good ol’ cesspool.

I signed up for OkCupid on a Saturday night in January of 2014 100% out of spite. I had been gchatting with a guy I liked at the time, and he signed off, telling me that he was heading out with “some people.” Since I was not invited, like I normally would be, and since he chose to not elaborate upon who these “some people” were, I assumed (correctly) that this meant he was going out with his girlfriend at the time, who I, being the scorned woman, had less than no use for. Naturally, I did what any reasonable person would do in that situation: I joined OKC to find me a boyfriend to make the guy I liked jealous. Definitely a good mental place to be in for this sort of situation.

OkCupid, in my opinion, is the Salvation Army of online dating. (In the most delicious coincidence of my entire life, about two weeks after I came up with this clever metaphor, I met someone on OkCupid whose parents work for the Salvation Army as pastors, thus meaning this guy was raised in the Salvation Army. Every now and again I accidentally predict my future like this, and I kind of love it.) While the VAST majority of available options are outdated, not your style or damaged in some way, and while literally every available option has been rejected in some capacity by someone else, if you are both persistent and patient, you’ll find what you’re looking for. In my experience, you HAVE to go in with this mindset, or else you will lose your will to live…or at least, you know, lose your will to continue using OkCupid. Let’s say you’re looking for a perfectly tailored Theory blazer, but don’t want to drop $425 at Bloomingdale’s to buy said blazer. Are you going to find that blazer at Salvation Army if you waltz in on any given Saturday afternoon? Probably not. However, if you go to Salvation Army every single day, if you figure out when Salvation Army restocks its inventory and make your daily appearance accordingly, if you scope out several Salvation Armies to find which one would be most likely to stock what your coveted Theory blazer, chances are you’ll eventually find, if not a Theory blazer, a perfectly acceptable substitute. You have to know, though, that it could very easily be a long, long process, and you’re going to have to sort through A LOT of crap to find what you’re looking for. If you’re not willing to put up with that, then you should probably just go to Bloomingdale’s in the first place.

OKC is completely free with the option to pay to upgrade to A-List service for a little bit of bonus material (more search filters, the ability to see who has indicated that they like you, the ability to browse anonymously, etc.). I’ve never gone A-List, so I can only speak from the free standpoint. To register, you fill out a profile with as much or as little information as you choose, come up with a username (this, in my opinion, was the hardest part of the whole situation), upload some photos, and answer more multiple choice questions than you ever dreamed you’d see this side of the ACT. OkCupid doesn’t require you to do any of these things aside from choosing a username, but the more information you add, the more OKC has to go off of in determining your match percentage with someone, and–perhaps more importantly–the more someone viewing your profile can see and use to decide whether or not you are worthy of his/her virtual flirtations.

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I think there are two major stereotypes about OkCupid (and, to an extent, free online dating in general). Stereotype #1: 95% of the people on OkCupid are looking for a hookup. The other 5% are either lying or delusional. Stereotype #2: If you are a girl, you will be bombarded by asinine-at-best messages from every dudebro caveman with Internet access, and will need to spend untold hours sorting though this useless correspondence. Dozens of men will visit your profile on a daily basis, and most of them will solicit you for sex. If you are a guy, you will have to fight tooth and nail to overcome the preconceived notion that you, possessing a Y chromosome, are inherently a dudebro man looking to get laid and/or a serial killer. The chances of you receiving an unsolicited message from a girl are about as high as the chances of you finding a glittery rainbow unicorn prancing up and down State Street.

In my experience, neither one of these things has proved entirely true. In regards to Stereotype #1, I can’t speak from experience or actual researched knowledge (though I do think this would make a fascinating study), but I hypothesize that Tinder has overtaken OKC as the way to find a hookup in this, our smartphone age. In my OKC experience, it has been exceedingly rare to find someone or be contacted by someone looking only for a hookup. Granted, that could be based on how I have my profile set up–I don’t know what all OKC takes into consideration when presenting me with eligible boys–but I haven’t found that to be much of a problem.

In regards to Stereotype #2, I will say that I delete probably 75% of the messages I’ve receive without ever responding, because those messages usually look like “hey” “how are you” or “what’s up.” I have a few rules of thumb when it comes to responding to messages: they have to look like dudebro put at least an iota of effort into it, they have to come from someone within my acceptable age range (49 year olds need not apply), they have to come from someone who lives within the city of Chicago (or a very easily accessible suburb, if he seems outstanding), and they have appear to not be a form message sent out to tens/dozens/hundreds of girls hoping for a response. To say that I’ve been inundated with messages, however, would be wildly inaccurate. I’d say I get, at MOST, messages from three new guys in a week. Usually it’s more like zero to one new guys per week – and that’s just messages in general, not messages I will justify with a response. This has led to plenty of existential crises–am I not pretty enough? Not interesting enough? Not chill enough? Why am I not being sexually harassed like everyone said I would be?!–but, realistically, I think I’m doing okay 😛 As for the other side of the coin–that girls never message guys–I imagine that by and large that’s true, but I’ve certainly sent a first message to my fair share of guys. On rare occasions, they respond. On even rarer occasions, this leads to something (true life: I first-messaged my now-ex-boyfriend, who I met on OKC. I was, once again, frustrated by that same guy who drove me to sign up for OKC in the first place, and in browsing through guys on OKC, I saw one I thought was super cute, read through his profile, and straight up asked him out right then. Though it obviously didn’t work out long term, it definitely was an effective strategy! To be fair, though, I’ve tried this strategy again since we broke up, and it has not worked out at all with anyone else.). OKC indicates how often someone responds to messages when you see their profile, and in my poking around, I’ve found that most girls respond selectively or very selectively according to OKC, whereas most guys respond frequently. You would think this means if a girl messages a guy, she’s guaranteed a response, but I’m here to tell you that is NOT always the case. While that stings the first time or two, the more it happens, the more you stop caring. The way I see it, if a guy can’t respond to a thought-out message I sent him, he’s not worth my time. So I move on and continue looking for that perfect blazer–I mean, boy 😉

You can try all sorts of strategies on OKC to get attention. Updating your profile makes it more likely that OKC will show you off to people, and this can legitimately mean adding or removing a comma from a sentence. Personally, I like to go on OKC during what I refer to as the “witching hour”: Sunday night. I’ve found this is when the most people are online, so if you want traffic, this is a good time to be active. If I want to actively look for people on OKC, I use QuickMatch, which is basically OkCupid’s answer to Tinder. It shows you random profiles and you can choose to either like them or pass on them. Passing on them doesn’t mean you’ll never see them again, but liking them moves them to your list of liked people. From here, you can browse people’s full profiles. If I’m actively OKCing (as opposed to passively OKCing, which is being on OKC and waiting for someone to come to you), I’ll set aside a certain amount of time to QuickMatch – until I get home, until I finish this meal, for the next five minutes, whatever. I’ll like the guys who seem interesting, then go to my liked list and more thoroughly look through their profiles, keeping a particular eye on when he was last active on OKC, because I’m not going to waste my time with someone who hasn’t been on in two weeks (the fact that OKC tells you when someone is online is also useful if you’re in the market for a solid dose of schadenfreude, because it will tell you when your ex-boyfriend is online if his profile happens to show up when you’re browsing matches, and then you can think, “Ha-HA, loser! Guess whose fault it is that we’re both online right now??”). OKC lets you know who’s visited your profile, so in theory, these guys should all know that I’ve visited their profile, which I think is the equivalent of continually looking in someone’s direction at a bar/on the train/wherever, hoping that they’ll make eye contact with you and come over to introduce themselves. Sometimes, I can’t think of anything to say to him after doing this, which I choose to believe is fate telling me this isn’t worth my time (unless of course he chooses to message me later). Sometimes I come up with something witty and creative to say, in which case I message him.

OKC has a lot of active members (187,000 people are online as I write this), which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have a lot of people to choose from, so chances are you’ll find someone worth finding (though, like I said, it’ll take some persistence and patience, most likely). On the other hand, there are 187,000+ people on OKC, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from online dating, it’s that the world is much, much smaller than you may like it to be. If you’re a twentysomething doing the online dating thing, there’s a really good chance you’re going to run into your fellow single twentysomethings on OKC, whether you knew they were single or not…like, for instance, a person recently hired by an organization that you work closely with, who you talked to on the phone for work related things a couple weeks ago, who suggested that the two of you get a business lunch some time, who you accidentally ran across on Facebook two days later because he had liked something on a page you were viewing for legitimate research purposes, who, when you clicked on his name, had a very familiar profile picture, and OH SNAP, yep, you DEFINITELY know this guy from messaging him on OKC. And, of course, the golden rule of dating, “Thou shall not attempt to date other runners,” certainly applies on OKC just as it applies everywhere else, because inevitably, you will run into this person later on down the line, like, say, when you’re volunteering at Participant Packet Pickup at the Shamrock Shuffle, and that’s awkward and uncomfortable for all involved.

One issue I’ve encountered with the guys I’ve met on OKC (I like to refer to them as my suitors 😛 ) is that it can be REALLY easy to get caught up in messaging and never go beyond that, or take for.ev.er. to go beyond that. In my OKC life, I’ve gone out with five guys I’ve met via the site, only two of which (the now-ex-boyfriend and Salvation Army) I ever saw and/or spoke to again post-first date. The other three guys became penpals–we’d exchange messages almost daily–before finally–and I kid you not, every single one of them said exactly this–saying, after a FULL MONTH, “I don’t want to be too forward, but would you like to meet up in person?” UM, DUH. I didn’t join OkCupid to find a digital penpal, and I’m guessing you didn’t either! Based on that, I have to say that if you and your suitor exchange messages for a month–honestly, for more than two weeks–and neither one of you feels compelled to ask the other person out, RUN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. You’re wasting your time and his time. Of course, all the usual rules about meeting up with Internet strangers certainly apply with OKC: meet in a public place, tell people where you’re going, having an emergency exit strategy in place to use if needed, don’t pass off too much personal information the first time you meet them, etc. But do meet up with them if at all possible.

If you’re willing to put time and effort into online dating, I think OKC is completely worth it. You’ll likely meet people you never would have met otherwise, and though you will need to put up with some junk, you’ll probably find some gems if you keep at it. It’s the only thing that’s ever gotten me a boyfriend, so it must be worth something 😉

Though be forewarned: if you reactivate your profile after deactivating your profile due to dating your now-ex-boyfriend, OKC will have no sympathy for your fragile emotional state:

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What an ass 😛

Adventures in Online Dating: Project Fixup

(There are two referral links in this post. If you sign up for Project Fixup, you and I both get a free date. Project Fixup has no clue that I’m writing this post, so all opinions are my own, blah blah blah.)

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About two and a half years ago, I got wind of a new Chicago-based startup: Project Fixup, a company that promises to help you “meet people, not profiles.” Unsure about but intrigued by the idea of online dating, this seemed like a fairly safe place to start.

Thus began my love affair with, in my opinion, the best way to get dates in the city of Chicago.

Project Fixup

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The Premise: Scrolling (or swiping, these days) through endless profiles into which people have put varying degrees of effort is exhausting at best and useless at worst. Project Fixup eliminates that step of online dating entirely. You create a profile that only the staff at Project Fixup can see. Then, after indicating your availability and joining either on-going or monthly “themes” (or both), Project Fixup will comb its database to find someone they believe will be a good match for you. After finding said match, Project Fixup arranges a time, date, and location for the two of you to meet, along with a special phone number through which your actual phone number is routed that will allow you to text or call your date before meeting without giving out your real phone number. This special Project Fixup phone number expires after your date, so if you ever want to see your date again, you must exchange actual phone numbers during your date. Otherwise, you will have no way to contact them.

I started using Project Fixup in October of 2012, and, like any startup, it has gone through several different models and operating methods since then. The current system is a nice combination of previous models and had yielded the most success for me up to this point, at least in terms of getting dates.

When you register for Project Fixup, your first step is to fill out a questionnaire that gives the staff of Project Fixup the opportunity to get to know a bit about you and what you’re looking for. They ask for basic information about you–birthday, ethnicity, religion, height, education–and also give you the chance to say what you’re looking for in all of those categories and how much you care about each category by indicating whether you are “picky” or “not picky.” You can also list specific qualities that you are looking for or things that qualify as dealbreakers. These last two options are open-ended, allowing you to say whatever you want.

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After making it through the basic information, you move on to on-going themes. Here, you can select which kind of “themed” date you’d like to go on. Current options for Chicago include craft beer, coffee, whiskey, tacos, mystery (a catch-all theme that includes places like Headquarters), desserts, craft cocktails, dive bars, and wine. You can indicate your interest in as many themes as you’d like, and also indicate if you’re only interested in one-on-one dates or if you’d be interested in group dates as well (I’ve never received a group fixup).

Next, Project Fixup gives you space to tell them a bit about your interests and personality by selecting qualities you feel apply to yourself from a long list of options.

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(That’s not even half of it.)

After that, you add photos. In general, only the Project Fixup staff will see your photos. They use this to help set you up with a person who would likely find you attractive, and vice versa. For example, if you indicated that one of your dealbreakers was a juiced up macho man, Project Fixup could use their database of photos to not set you up with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conversely, if you indicated that you wanted a juiced up macho man, Project Fixup could use that information to find you your very own Arnold.

The last bit of information you hand over to Project Fixup relates to personal details: your actual full name (which they will never give to your date), your phone number (which they also will not give out), your occupation, and where you’re located in the area (which they keep secret but use to help find a date venue convenient to your location).

And then you’re free to go! Project Fixup allows you to indicate your availability based on their pre-selected times, and once you’ve done that, you sit back and wait for your inbox to ding.

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Each fixup comes with basic information: which theme this date falls under, where your date will take place, the day and time of the date, the name of the person you will meet, and two sentences that basically amount to an elevator pitch on your prospective date — without photos. These dates, under the current model, are 100% blind.

When you receive your fixup, you have three options: confirm, pass, or reschedule. If your potential date sounds interesting, you confirm and wait/hope for them to do the same. If your schedule has changed, you can reschedule the date, proposing a new time that works with your prospective date’s indicated schedule. If you chose this option, Project Fixup requires you to explain why you’re rescheduling, and this explanation is emailed to your date. If, for whatever reason, you would prefer to not go out with the person Project Fixup has found for you, you’re allowed to pass (though Project Fixup will give you much grief for doing so. “Are you sure you want to mess with fate?” and all that.).

If you confirm and your date confirms, Project Fixup will charge you $20. This $20 does not cover the cost of any date-related expenses – it’s how Project Fixup stays in business, as they have no advertising. In the grand scheme of things, $20 is not all that much money — I mean, you can barely find a studio fitness class for that price in Chicago, as you may recall. I also think having this fee helps weed out a lot of riff-raff if you’re looking for something more serious than a hookup. Who’s going to go through all that work and pay $20 to find someone to bang when you can do the same thing on Tinder for free? I’ve yet to be stood up on any date, period, but I also think someone who already put down $20 to go on a date would be less likely to bail entirely. If your date ends up being THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE, you can also ask Project Fixup for a refund. I’ve gone a couple dates via Project Fixup that have definitely worked hard to take the title of The Worst Experience of My Life, but given my affinity for Project Fixup, I’ve yet to actually ask them for a refund.

After your date, Project Fixup requests that you review your date, asking you about the fixup process, how you felt about the venue, how you felt about your date, your interest in seeing your date again, your interest of going on more fixups with different people, how likely you are to recommend Project Fixup to someone, and if you have any additional comments for them.

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Project Fixup is FAR AND AWAY the best way to get actual dates from what I’ve found. Since joining in 2012, I’ve gone on dates with 11 different guys courtesy of Project Fixup (one in 2012, eight in 2014, and two this year). In my experience, Project Fixup works in fits: I’ll go weeks with nothing from them and then usually get two dates scheduled within the same week (once I went on two dates in the space of three days, in fact). I don’t know why this is, though there are plenty of possible reasons: my schedule, the schedule of guys who Project Fixup thinks I’d like, the growing pains of being a startup, etc.

I’ve gone on some really, really great dates through Project Fixup and some really, really terrible dates through Project Fixup. The thing with Project Fixup is that even though they can see your profile, it’s not as if they actually know you (though given how verbose I tend to be in my reviews, it’s probably safe to say that Project Fixup and I are more or less on BFF levels at this point 😉 ), nor do they actually know the person they’re setting you up with, so it can be a crap shoot. As I’ve learned the hard way several times, just because someone sounds great on paper does not mean they will be great in reality. Sometimes, though, people sound great on paper and then do turn out to be great in reality, so you never know.

I’ve been wildly unsuccessful in getting second dates out of Project Fixup. The very first guy I went out with because of Project Fixup asked me out to lunch about a week after our first date, then invited me to run Jingle Bell with him (the “fake date” I mentioned yesterday, and also the reason I discovered Jingle Bell and my subsequent age group domination. Or, you know, age group placement 😛 ), then wished me a “belated Merry Christmas” the day after Christmas in 2012, then never spoke to me again. (Though he did train for the Chicago Marathon with CARA in 2013, so guess who I got to see bright and early every. stupid. Saturday. for 18 weeks that year?? Pro tip: if you are a runner in Chicago, do not date other runners, unless you are okay with seeing them around. I know it seems like a big community, but it. is. not. If you’re actively involved in this world locally, you will run into that person at some point again, and it will be exceedingly awkward.) After that, I had several dates where I exchanged numbers with my date, and neither one of us ever called or texted the other person, even if the date went quite well. To be honest, I’ve only once left a Project Fixup date thinking, “I really, really hope this guy follows up,” and that guy did follow up, so I think in all of these other cases, it mostly comes down to a lack of an “x factor,” if you will. That kind of stuff doesn’t show up on paper, so I hold nothing against Project Fixup.

The guy who did follow up, for what it’s worth, more or less asked me out on a second date, but the timing was terrible. We met the weekend before Thanksgiving, and then he was out of town the whole of Thanksgiving, and despite the fact that we texted a lot throughout that whole week, when we both came back to the city after Thanksgiving, I didn’t hear from him at all. I reached out to him the Friday after Thanksgiving and he never responded. (Then 48 hours later I found the guy who turned into my now-ex-boyfriend, so I guess overall that worked out just fine. Well, aside from the whole now-ex thing, but whatever. At least I had boyfriend.)

Last August, I went out with a guy who had moved back to the Chicago area from New York, where he lived after graduating from an Ivy League school (*swoon*). While we were talking, he told me about this startup he had worked for in New York – this company that granted you access to fitness studios around NYC if you paid said company a flat rate. YEP: he was one of the first people to work for ClassPass (though at the time it was called Classtivity). I went out with him literally seven days before ClassPass announced their launch in Chicago. So that was kind of cool…even though I never saw him again.

I’ve definitely gone out with a few guys I would not have picked for myself through Project Fixup:

– They sent me on a date to a really awesome cocktail bar in Boystown (which I’d argue was weird locale for a straight couple’s first date, but whatever) with a super socially awkward fellow. I got a bit more than tipsy, since I can’t hold alcohol for the life of me, and spent most of my time flirting with the clearly gay bartender. Good work, Bethany.
– I went out with a guy earlier this year who defined “schlubby” and could not stop telling me about how he was a lawyer. Did he mention that he was a lawyer? He works in law, in case you were wondering. Courtrooms and everything. Big time. Oh, and he’s a lawyer.
– Perhaps my least favorite individual was the winner who told me how he’d like to run the Chicago Marathon for Team World Vision (which I have no use for, but this is not the venue for venting my frustrations about Team World Vision), despite the fact that he had never run more than a 5K, because “people don’t have clean water. Can you even imagine? Like, they don’t have access to WATER,” and then in the same breath proceeded to tell me that the best thing about Chicago, in his opinion, was the way it’s “cleaned up areas like Cabrini Green.” *headdesk* Right, yes, because the only black people worth caring about are the ones living in Africa. HEAVEN HELP US if we have to see, never mind deal and/or interact with, black people, systematic repression, and poverty in the city of Chicago, especially on the North Side. Gentrification for the win, amirite?! He also happened to go to a church that I have deep, deep problems with in the city (this idea of saving Africa/third world countries while egregiously ignoring any social justice issues literally right outside your church door is horribly pervasive at that church, and that is something for which I have absolutely no tolerance) AND had literally the exact same first and last names as this kid who was the bane of my existence on the newspaper in college, so needless to say, I never saw him again (even though he was a massage therapist, which probably would’ve been a useful quality in a boyfriend to me as a runner. I think I’d rather pay my fake boyfriend physical therapist to take care of me, however 😛 ). This is also why I’ve now labeled myself as “liberal” on my survey haha.

Realistically, I shouldn’t be so gung-ho about Project Fixup, given the dire lack of boyfriends I’ve acquired due to its services. I’m not on a mission to become Chicago’s best serial first dater: I’m on a mission to find a boyfriend, and clearly that has not happened at all with Project Fixup. Regardless, I think it’s a fantastic service. It is without question the best way to get a date in my experience, and dating, like anything, gets better with practice. I think because I’ve gone out on so many (omg so. many.) first dates through Project Fixup, I’ve gotten much better at dating in general. I have a better idea of what I’m looking for, I have a better idea of how to act on a first date, and I have better small talking skills, which seems silly, but is totally critical for first dates with people you’ve never before met. I’ll admit that I’m very “everything happens for a reason,” but I really think if I had gone out on my first date with my now-ex-boyfriend without having gone through all of those Project Fixup dates first, that first date with the now-ex-boyfriend would’ve never led to a second date, never mind a relationship. I knew how to handle myself and I had the confidence that I could handle myself well, and it worked. I’m a huge fan of Project Fixup and highly recommend it to anyone.

Project Fixup currently only operates in Chicago, San Francisco and Durham/Chapel Hill/Raleigh (the Triangle) in North Carolina. If you happen to be interested in checking out their services in any of those cities, you can get your first date for free here. Like I said, I think it’s fantastic, and if you want to go on dates, I’d definitely give it a shot.

Adventures in Online Dating: An Introduction

Though I, like all good Millenials, know that I am a special snowflake, I have not allowed this obvious truth to delude me into believing that I excel at all things. I know where my talents lie–writing, editing, passive aggression–but I also know areas in which I have little to no talent: organized team sports, basic (and not-so-basic) math, putting together fashionable outfits.

But if there is any area of life in which I have shocking lack of talent, it is getting dates.

To make things simple (see: lack of math talent), let’s assume I have encountered 1000 boys/men I would consider, in the most inclusive sense, dateable (i.e., single and interested in women) during my dating years (which we will say started in sixth grade). That was September of 2001, meaning I am 13.5 “dating years” old at this point.

I dare you to guess how many people I encountered in real life in those 13.5 years asked me out on a date.

(No cheating. Keep your eyes on your own papers.)

Ready?

One.

ONE. One person–one. person.–in thirteen and a half Godforsaken years met me in a normal, not-meant-to-find-romantic-partners setting, saw me, and thought, “Yes, I would like to take that girl out on a date, and I shall ask her accordingly.”

That is not an impressive batting percentage, team. I really think 1000 is probably an underestimate of the number of potential guys I could have dated–again, operating just under the “must be single and interested in women” premise–but even if 1000 is accurate, that one person represents .1% of the population. POINT one percent. Woof.

I have spent approximately 13.5 years analyzing this situation (is it my face? My hair color? My body? My personality? My interests? Do I just the crappiest luck out of literally everyone, ever, in the history of humanity? Am I not actually a special snowflake?! 😦 ), but no one likes self-deprecating navel gazing in Blogland or elsewhere, and in my experience (of which I have plenty), engaging in self-deprecating navel gazing has yet to lead to anyone beating down my door, professing their hidden love for me, never mind, you know, a date.

But you know what has led to dates? The Internet.

Oh, the Internet! My best friend! See, the nice thing about the Internet is that it lets me get through my awkward stage without having other people around to witness said awkward stage. For as long as I can remember, I have always taken a very long time to get comfortable in a new setting. It usually takes a few go-arounds for me to get my bearings, and then–only then–do I feel confident enough to contribute to the conversation. In real life, this makes things weird for everyone, because you know what’s super uncomfortable? Having this new girl sit in the corner by herself and not say one word. It’s awkward for the people there and it’s awkward for the new girl (that would be me). But the nice thing about being online is that I (or anyone else like me) can get through that let-me-lurk-around-and-get-my-bearings stage without everyone else having to witness it. ALSO, the Internet lets me write, which is just fab. Writing I can do, no problem. Talking? Not so much, unless I’m really comfortable (or tipsy 😛 That’s not exactly a normal state of being for me, however.).

I’ve been online dating, in one capacity or another, since November 2012, and while initially this was insanely embarrassing, I have definitely gotten over it by this point. Here’s the thing: despite the fact that I am an Independent Woman who can take care of herself and doesn’t need a man, that certainly doesn’t change the fact that I want a man. I want a boyfriend who will turn into a husband who will turn into the father of my future kids, and I’m not ashamed to acknowledge that, nor do I think I lose any feminist points for acknowledging it.

My life circumstances, however, are not exactly ideal for meeting just a dateable boy, period, never mind any a boy who could progress through those various levels of Bethany’s ideals. There are exactly two single men in my office, neither of which I have any interest in even seeing outside of the office, never mind dating. They function well as work buddies, and that’s exactly where I’d like to keep our relationship forever. Though I’m straight, I found a church I very much like in a predominantly gay area of Chicago, which means that the VAST majority of boys at church are themselves in the market for a boyfriend, if they don’t already have a boyfriend. I literally know of one non-married straight guy in our entire congregation, and though I know he’s straight, I don’t know if he’s single or if he even has any interest in dating ANYONE, never mind me specifically. My hip hop class is almost all girls (and one gay guy, who obviously is not future boyfriend material for me), and while there are guys in my breakdance classes, it strikes me as incredibly unlikely that any of them have any interest in asking me out, since, you know, I’ve known all of them for anywhere between eight months and two and a half years, and not one has in ANY way expressed ANY sort of romantic interest whatsoever. There are four guys in my running group, all of which are married. When I’m not doing one of those above things (working, churching, dancing, or running), I am generally 1) commuting 2) sleeping or 3) reveling in the few hours of my week where I can be at home and just chill. Not exactly conducive to finding a boyfriend in real life, even if I DID have a better track record in that department.

So I took to the Internet, as one does. Whether or not I’ve been successful at online dating I suppose depends on your definition of success. If you define “success” as going out on dates, overall I have been wildly successful. Since starting, I’ve gone out on real life, meet-in-person dates with 15 different guys, which, assuming all things are similar, is 14 more than I would’ve gone out with had I stuck to my previous method of “continue existing and hope for the best.” If you define “success” as “ever speaking to any of these people ever again,” I have been…far less successful. Haha. I *almost* went out on a second date with one guy, went out on two real dates and one fake date with another guy (more on that later), and too many dates to count with a third guy, that third guy being the infamous now-ex-boyfriend who launched a thousand (or, you know, three) angsty blog posts. But again, that’s more than I ever got out of real life.

As the responsible blogger I am, I know it is my duty to publish my obviously-not-biased-or-tainted-by-my-own-personal-experience review of everything I do, as that was part of the contract I signed (and, as we all know, I’m all about following Good Blogger Rules, like utilizing a 1:10 picture:word ratio in every post, keeping any and all personal problems off my blog, and never rambling. Oh wait…). To that end, I’m launching a brand new series so I have something to write when I don’t run races or have anything to say about my weekend: Adventures in Online Dating. It will last…all of three posts, so don’t get too excited 😛 (Or do?!). Originally I planned to start it with this post, but then this introduction turned into a 1300 word missive, so here we are. Haha. But get SO STOKED. There are inspired metaphors, witty commentary, and general lamentation coming soon to a computer near you!

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