Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Waiting by the...inbox?

I was watching television yesterday and saw an ad for Match.com. As a current subscriber, I have basically tuned out their ads, mostly because so far they seem to over-glamorize this strange and mostly awkward way to meet a potential mate. But, last night's was different. The narrator stated that 1 in 5 relationships today started online. What?!? That means that for every 100 couples, 20 of those relationships started with an email?! That's crazy!

The more I thought about it in my own life, the more this fact seemed like reality. I know a lot of couples who started their relationships via Match.com or eHarmony or CatholicSingles.com, to name a few.  At least four of which are married or getting married.  So why does online dating have the negative connotation that it does? Match.com claims millions of users with thousands of new profiles added on a daily basis. If we can believe their claims, who then are the ones bashing online dating?

I will state openly that I have had absolutely zero success with online dating to this point. Prior to this subscription, I had had a couple of dates, none of which moved on past the first. On Saturday, I had my first date from my current subscription, heck, my first date in a long time! Having just thrown myself back into the Singles Market, after a long man-less hiatus, it was exciting to get dressed up and to be treated like a lady again, with doors held open for me and a meal paid for for reasons other than someone owing me money from the last outing. My date was nice, friendly, funny, courteous and respectful. But, it has been over 48 hours, and I haven't heard a peep. I felt that I was funny, full of great conversation, witty, intelligent...all the things someone would be interested in but not in a forced way. I tried dilligently to "be myself," whatever that means! So, why the ghost-town-like silence?

The thing about online dating that I think everyone should know going in is that you should have absolutely no expectations. And that your first "date" is actually not that at all. Although it may look and feel like a date, even if the gentleman pays and opens doors for you, it is actually just a meeting. And the conversation almost always feels more like an interview than it does a date. In a perfect world, you meet someone, strike up a conversation and decide to then go out, having already established a connection face-to-face. In the world of online dating, you've only read what this person chose to write about themselves in a profile. And who's honestly going to write "I like to sneeze at the dinner table without covering my mouth" or other things you could only learn by being in the same room with someone? So, to expect an instant connection upon meeting is a bit too much, and that's taken a while to learn.

So, I'll try to impose the rules of real-world dating on the new, technology-driven world of online dating and wait the traditional 48 hours to hear from Mr. Saturday.  I might bend the rules and touch base with him myself, I haven't decided yet.  Either way, I've gotten out of my comfort zone and met at least one of those "other fish in the sea."  We'll see if I get anymore bites.

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