I have mixed feelings about online dating. Anyone who has talked with me over the past few months knows my opinions on the negatives. And yet, I keep doing it. So there must be some positives in there too.
Let's start with the negatives though. For whatever reason, I think it's just borderline perverse to have a profile that sits up there for anyone and everyone to page through. I hate knowing that my boss or a business connection or my neighbor could stumble upon my profile and read all about me and what I'm interested in. That just feels really weird to me. Plus, it really does just make you part of a dating catalog. Let's be honest, all you do is flip through profiles until you find someone with a picture that you're attracted to. Then you stop and skim their profile and look through the rest of their pictures. It's exactly like flipping through a catalog. That grosses me out for some reason.
Also, it's so hard to know when people are being genuine about their intentions. I'm really not sure there's a much difference between having an OkCupid profile and responding to an ad on Craigslist. I mean, at least on Craigslist people are putting it all out there, right? On OkCupid, we know their profile says they are looking for a relationship, but really most of the time they're just looking to spend as little as possible on a date here and there and end up getting laid.
There's just something to be said for meeting someone organically, in person, face to face. You immediately know whether you have chemistry. You can look that person in the eye and at least get a better feel for whether they are being honest when they say they're single. You can easily judge their mannerisms and how they interact in a social setting and learn so much in half an hour about whether you could stand to be around that person, let alone be intimate and in a relationship with them.
And sure, you get to that part eventually with online dating. But I think too many people put too much weight on the first date from online dating. In my opinion, the first "date" is more of a meet and greet. Sometimes it becomes a date, sure. But sometimes it's just a chance to get a drink with this person and see them in real life to actually know whether they are someone you then want to date. This is where I think men do online dating better than women. So many women I know treat each online date as if it's a huge thing. It's not. If you meet and he likes you and then asks you out to dinner, for example, then it's a date.
But it still really is a great way to meet all kinds of people, people you really wouldn't run across in your daily life. That's probably my favorite part of online dating. I don't really like to date people that I come across in my work and social circles, normally. I think people who date on Twitter are insane. I don't like feeling like we're still in high school. I love meeting someone who has absolutely no connection to my group of friends or my job and getting to know them outside of everything else that I do day in and day out. I love then getting to introduce our lives to one another.
That's just what I prefer. And so for better or worse, I guess that means online dating is a part of my life for now. And despite the negatives, I do have fun with it. I love dates, I love meeting new people, I love that hopeful anticipation before the first date and the giddy happiness after a good one.