24, promising student, bilingual, athletic, 1.77 meters, into classic American literature, film lover, great cook, over average, available. A player bored of the game wants to take a shortcut, trying to ignore the stigmas and searching for what he lacks in the apparently dark world of dating websites. A young man in a place where most people would think he doesn’t belong.
Pathetic. As I was typing the website address in my computer and had decided to go through with it this time, I was thinking about how my friends would describe me if they knew what I was doing at that moment. Pathetic was the first word that came to my mind. When you go to a dating website the process starts with an extensive form. There you describe yourself, what you are searching for, what you are into and, according to each website, you can be as specific as you want, to the point that you can describe how a perfect date would be for you or how long your dick is. Really to do it thoroughly, since apparently to successfully getting contacts depends on how much effort you put into this step. At the same time I was thinking of a lot of excuses to justify this decision to myself in case someone discovered me trying to find people this way. Loser, the second word that came to my mind while the website asked me to choose a nickname for my profile.
I didn’t lie in my description. I didn’t think I needed to. I am an average 24 year old man, quite capable of getting a partner. A reasonably good catch, if you allow me. So why am I doing this? Despair, it’s what most people think concerning the motivations of the people going into these kinds of websites that are so often associated with old lonely people and fat disgusting middle aged men scrolling down through different profiles while sitting half naked in the darkness of their empty apartments, just their faces and big hairy stomachs visible, illuminated by the white light of the screen. But I was not as disparaging at the type of person described above.
I broke up with a girlfriend, that was okay. I mean, she was nice and pretty but she didn’t satisfy me as a life partner. Then, single again, you start to see the people around you. The same friends, the same friends of your friends, then you make out one day with some random person, you get a phone number, you meet again and still, no satisfaction. And then wait until you meet someone again. So if someone ask me, I will tell them that I got into these websites for boredom. Boredom of the process, of waiting until some friend introduced me to someone that is not a clubbing maniac, or of waiting for that lucky moment when the girl that sits next to me on the bus actually likes the same music, or maybe I’m just tired of trying to guess which girl is available and which is not. And maybe that is what first made me think of these websites. They are founded on the premise that everyone there is available.
There are a lot of dating websites, and each one of them is aiming to fulfill very specific promises. I won’t lie, some months after I broke up with my girlfriend, and after getting no empathy from the people that I met, I decided to go for the dating website focused mainly on sex. And the promise sounded quite sweet. More than 2000 active female members in my area. 2000! If they are there, you have to think that they all are available and ready for it. So Adult Friend Finder it was. The most successful one among them all. It had to be something.
Of course, when you go in you also have the same stigmatized vision of the members that are already there. You expect to find a zoo of creeps and hopeless people. It was surprising to actually see quite decent profiles with nice young people too. But this website didn’t work for me. Since it is so popular a lot of people create a one time profile just for curiosity. No photo, no info, no real contact. So I changed to Ashley Madison, a website which promises secret affairs aiming to get a lot of married people. Is quite popular, I got some flirting in there, but it still didn’t work quite as expected. Especially because it demands always more money than you first plan to spend. By then when I got a perfect one, not so big not so small, but at the same time driven away from just sex and more into relationships. I payed a one month subscription. Again my picture, my profile, and started to search for people in my area. In that month I got tons of emails, 3 Skype new friends, 5 live meetings, 2 of them ended up in nice casual sex and a girlfriend. I broke up with her 3 months after because I felt that there was not enough connection, but still, it didn’t go so bad.
It is not as a lot of people, included me at the beginning, think it is going to be. That is just about making a profile, try to be less pathetic than the others, send a “copypasted” message and get laid everyday of a month with a different person. Actually you still need to know how to flirt, you need to know how to send an attractive mail, look nice in the pictures and try and fail and try again, a lot.
You can not avoid to compare it with a catalog shopping experience, and it is certainly as fun as that could be. Going through a lot of options, colors, flavors, models, years, experiences, new stuff, the thrill of the answers and actually getting some results. It is definitely not the same as the experience of knowing someone in a random place and then allow you to think that it was a fate’s decision, but at least it is fun. And also it make things easier by skipping a big part of the flirting process. There are usually no secrets, you can see who has seen your profile, at which time, when certain person did log in for the last time, flirting with just a click, do it with a lot of people… These websites are basically designed to provoke an encounter by any move you make in there.
I would recommend it. But I am not sure if I would still tell all my friends about this. The stigma, even thought now might not be as big as before, is still there, everywhere. In your friends that talk about the users as creeps, in other couples, in your parents opinion and of course in popular culture (I always remember an episode from “How I met your mother” where one woman was very embarrassed about admitting that she met Ted through Internet and she made up a crazy story to cover it up); it is a plain opinion, it is cool to meet people in real life and sort of loser if you do it through internet. Funny thing is that the same friends that think that way are always into meeting new people somehow, even through Internet, like adding a hot unknown girl in Facebook as a friend. Also with Couch Surfing. A friend of mine was traveling to Italy and she sent a guy a couch surf request, to which he replied as “Maybe” and asked for her Facebook. She then saw the comments from the people he had hosted: all positive, but strangely only from girls, about 32 of them, all around 20 to 28 years old. At least the people that go to the specific dating websites have a clearer panorama of the situation…
My life did not changed dramatically, I am 24, still get some girls in real life, some others in internet, I still have not found someone that fulfills me. But at least I got fun. A guilty fun, since I am still thinking on an excuse not to sound too lame if my friends find out about my profile. It was a bet, a friend dared me to do it, is to research for the University, is just a marketing tool, God asked me to do it, love hides in funny places…