I should start off by saying that I’ve found dating in general to be relatively crappy. Getting to know someone can be exciting, but also incredibly taxing. It requires constantly staying on your toes and reining in some of those qualities about yourself that might be a little too eccentric for someone to accept at first.
But online dating?
Well, that comes with its whole own set of challenges, doesn’t it?
Let’s be honest here. It all starts with the shiny commercials that promise true love while featuring nauseatingly normal people who have found their match floating around in the interwebs. Doting couples with bright smiles are a dime a dozen in this world. And yeah, the whole thing seems a little bit too good to be true, but what have you got to lose, right?
I signed up for eHarmony shortly after my 22nd birthday. I was still in college, swimming in a sea of available guys, none of whom seemed remotely interested in anything beyond a hookup. After a nudge from an older friend who married her online match, I coughed up a few bucks after I migrated to LA temporarily. It was perfect timing, really. Plenty of people to choose from, none of whom I actually had to see again after I went back home.
I only met two men in person before I nixed my account. But upon moving back to LA, I decided to give Match a try, when I remembered why I actually hated the whole ordeal in the first place:
1. Judgey McJudgerson Friends
I’ve been lucky that the majority of my friends have been supportive in my endeavor, but I have stumbled upon a couple who gave me the ole skeptical lift of the brow and disapproving, pursed-lips hum. You know the ones I’m talking about.
“You’re young. You’ve got plenty of time. What the hell are you doing on an online dating site? You look desperate.”
Well, I’m almost 23 and I’ve only had one boyfriend. So, you do the math.
Kidding (mostly). But seriously. Why is there this stigma attached that a woman (or a man) must be desperate to resort to a dating service? I’m just looking for a nice guy with similar interests. Can I help it if I can’t find him on my own? Seriously.
2. What Looks Good On Paper Falls Flat IRL
He’s the guy of your dreams! Funny, romantic, passionate. What more could you want? Imagine your surprise when his idea of funny is actually a bad Adam Sandler movie and his passion lies in excel spreadsheets (I’m not even kidding. I once dated a guy who compared spreadsheets to an artist’s canvas).
And so many people (myself included) are better with the written word than conversation. So how do you really know if you’re gonna get stuck with a dud?
3. Those Creepy Old Guys
He’s 50. Divorced with three kids. And “Hey, age ain’t nothin’ but a number, baby.”
Um. No. Unless of course, you’re George Clooney. In which case, let’s talk.
(Honorable mention goes to those creepy smarmy guys who pretty much pay for a sex service).
4. There’s Actually No Polite Way of Admitting That You’re Shallow
I can’t lie. I’ve clicked away on several occasions without actually reading a profile, based solely on what a guy looks like. And yeah, when it comes down to it, personality comes first. Who wants to date someone you have nothing in common with (especially when you’re a film and television buff like me and people just don’t always get you)? But attraction is important, too.
So let me just lay it out on the table right now and get it out in the open. If you’re shorter than me and your hair’s longer than mine, then this relationship is over before it even got started.
5. The System Kinda Sucks
Look, I know dating isn’t an exact science, particularly because men and women are attracted to so many different types of people. Person A might be looking for someone the total opposite of them, whereas Person B might want a carbon copy of themselves (okay, I don’t actually know anyone quite like that, but they must exist somewhere, don’t they?).
Still. You’d think eHarmony would know better than to ‘match’ me with a guy who’s completely disinterested in all things entertainment and loves to analyze spreadsheets. Like, I didn’t spend hours (okay, 15 minutes) filling out those personality profiles for nothin’.
Well. For more than a free dinner, anyway.
6. It’s Hard to Stand Out
No wonder jerks like me are only checking out your photos when everyone’s profile sounds the same. I once connected with a guy who created a sarcastic page just to get a little attention. And I respected him so much more for it.
Assuming anyone actually made it to the part where he admitted to joking (does anyone actually hate puppies?), I’m sure he received a lot of responses.
7. No One Really Looks Like Their Best Selfie
Do I ever look like this? Rarely.
There’s a filter for everything these days. And you don’t need to be a Photoshop genius to nip a little here or tuck a little there. Blame it on the lighting, make-up, the flash. But things are looking a lot bleaker in the harsh light of day.
Olivia Rowe is an Ithaca College alum who recently schlepped cross-country to the City of Angels to make her screenwriting dreams a reality. You can usually catch her procrastinating via feminist rants on Facebook or sometimes-witty entertainment commentary on Twitter (@OliviaJRowe). Olivia’s also an aspiring novelist, television critic and VP to future Madame President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Featured image via Shutterstock