Ok...Cupid: My Experience in the World of Online Dating - Internet Dating Week
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Zachary Ehren

Photo from favim.com.

I remember when I was young I started realizing the fun I could have on the Internet. At the time, it was just an outlet to play Mad Libs on the now long-gone Prodigy Internet browser. Many lazy Sundays I would insert dirty nouns into their designated places and giggle my tiny little ass off all afternoon.

As the years went on, what began as an outlet for Mad Libs evolved into a source of music to download on Napster, a forum to discuss how fucked up the 9th grade history test was on AOL Instant Messenger, a platform to put together a fictionalized version of myself on Myspace (Facebook came calling for me later), and finally, a place to buy most of everything I own on Amazon. The Internet was my guiding light through all of my different walks of life since the days of dial-up, so why not pursue a new love interest by the same means? The more I waited, the more the chances to meet the perfect mate could be burning away six licks to the minute. It was time to submerse myself into the world of online dating.

I could picture it already in my head; a few carefully crafted emails here and there and in no time, I would find myself neck deep in an estrogen-filled love pool. There were literally thousands of women waiting to be courted by a nice, strapping, young man who would woo them with just the right online profile. I had been creating online versions of my life for years through social networking, so this shouldn’t be that much different. Soon enough, I’d be on my way to Boom City.

The first step was to choose the perfect dating website. This task was more difficult than it sounded. Within the last decade, a dating website was created for every little niche a person could be included in. Christiansingles. Farmersonly. AshleyMadison. The list goes on. How was I supposed to find just the right one? Well it came down to a process of elimination. I’m 26, unmarried, Jewish, and my knowledge of farms are from re-runs of Green Acres. This easily ruled out the previously listed websites. After further deliberation, I decided if I was going to get everything I could out of this social experiment, I should not limit myself to one website and chose three different outlets. They were the following:

OkCupid – Free dating service. Grown in popularity over the last few years.

Plenty Of Fish – Another free dating service. Has nothing to do with anything in regards to maritime.

JDate – Not free. Specializes in fellow members of the tribe.

Setting up the profiles on three different websites was easy. Basically everybody wants to know the same things no matter which niche you belong to: What are your interests/hobbies? What are your plans with your life? Will you force your date to put lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again? I answered all of the default questions on OkCupid and copied and pasted those answers onto the other two websites.

Then the fun began!

I scoured the different websites looking for the right profile picture that called out, “Email me, Zach. You are awesome, and I will acknowledge that.”

Making sure I spent about an equal amount of time on each website, I started sending out the emails. Common sense told me not to just say “Hey. You’re hot. ;)” The day you can name a guy that picks up a girl by only saying three words followed by a fucking emoticon is the day I’ll name you a good movie starring Katherine Heigl. Girls online are no different than girls in the flesh; they want you to put a little thought into your actions. So, the process to a decent email seemed easy enough. I found a part of their profile I could relate to or found interesting, asked a question making them warrant an answer, tried to slip something witty in the mix, and then got out of dodge. Too much writing would appear needy and desperate.

I figured it out right? I had the formula to a good email down and my charming pictures would handle the rest. Well, I came to realize that for as many girls as I emailed, there were scores of other guys emailing them too (emoticon users and sans). Girls are just shooting fish in a barrel and hopefully finding a guy that doesn’t waste their time. No matter how carefully worded my emails were, I would see about a 5% rate of return. I knew most emails would either go unread or skimmed over and on to the guy lined up. But that’s how it goes in this world. As long as there are women ready and willing to socialize, a larger number of guys will be ruffling their feathers to get their attention. I was just another asshole with feathers sticking out in all directions. However, I kept on. Once more into the breach, dear friends.

Things progressed and email exchanges that went beyond a single response began to happen more frequently. I was either getting better at sending emails or finding which girls would be into a guy that has cartoon dinosaurs on the back of his iPhone case. After a few emails back and forth with one particular girl who I struck a chord with, I realized that it was time to move on from words on the screen and talk in person.

During this whole experience, I came to quite a few conclusions. They are the following (in no particular order of importance):

– Finding a date on OkCupid is like finding a job on Craigslist. It’s heavily saturated with too many people. Guys can send out countless emails and would be lucky to receive a single response.

– Plenty of fish is the opposite of the above. Maybe people haven’t caught on to this free dating website like they have on OkCupid, but, at any rate, girls are much more responsive through this online network.

– JDate has beautiful, classy women. Enough said.

– Guys, don’t use emoticons. For the sake of your libido, don’t do it.

– If girls “love being active and being outdoors as much as possible” then I would see a whole lot more girls outdoors. You might think I’m exaggerating when I say that around 6 out of 10 profiles have a version of this quote, but unfortunately, it’s true. I read right through it, ladies, and I’m not buying it. If this were true, local parks across the country would not have any open container laws.

When all is said and done, the Internet provided me with a source to socialize with people I never would have gotten in touch with otherwise. I now have some dates lined up, and you never know, I might even show them my collection of Russian nesting dolls. If things don’t work out, at least I had some fun during the process. I’m really still just playing an adult version of Mad Libs; inserting dirty nouns into their designated areas while I giggle my tiny little ass off. 😉

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