- Posted January 22, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The ups and downs of online dating
My Love/Hate Relationship With Online Dating
I have been using online dating sites off and on for the past two years. By off and on I mean I have made profiles, then deactivated them, then RE-activated them. What’s fun about that is it actually gives me the chance to be rejected by the same men more than once. I’m kidding, I’m not bitter. I would get cold feet and think I wasn't ready so I would deactivate but I actually do think online dating is a good way to meet people and I know several people, including my mother, who have had long term relationships with people they met online.
When I decided I wanted to try online dating I talked to people that I knew had used it with varying degrees of success. I got advice ranging from "don’t write too much in your profile" to "don’t mention Star Wars." I did not take either piece of advice, which may explain why I have been having difficulty. I chose the site I wanted to use, a free one, though I have heard that sites that require a membership fee are more successful because people there can assume that the other people there are more serious, and have at least $30 a month. I didn't want to discriminate though and honestly, I don’t have $30 a month to use on a dating site and I would go out with me so I figured there were some dateable men on free sites as well.
Once I chose the site, I checked out a book about online dating, written by a former PR person in Hollywood. Even though I have kept journals my whole life, I was drawing a blank about what to put in my online profile. I was even stumped as far as what name to choose. I knew I didn't want anything OVERTLY sexual, but I didn’t want anything too cutesy either. The book suggested choosing two of your favorite things or activities and combining them. Feel free to look me up at "shoedonut." NOT my online name, though it could be. The book also suggested not to use your real name, of course.
Once the bio was written I was ready to choose a few pictures to go with it. That was easy enough. I found a recent full body shot and a couple of pics of my face and I was ready to go. I figured all I had to do now was wait for the dates to start rolling in. Not exactly.
I did not realize that as a 42 year old woman dating online would still be pretty tough. At least it is for me. I am reasonably attractive. I mean, I have never been met with pitchforks and torches. I am comfortable in my skin, which at this point in my life means I would like to get "healthier" but I have been pretty much the same size since I was 12 and that size is "a little extra", to use online dating profile speak. I think I'm relatively intelligent and pretty fun to be around.
I am not one who waits to be contacted first. If I like someone's profile and pictures (let's be honest, that matters) I will contact them. More often than not, I don't get a response. My self-esteem takes a little hit, then I shake it off and move on.
One issue I have noticed is an age discrepancy. Many men in my preferred age range, 30-55, have THEIR preferred age range listed at 25-39. I understand everybody has their own preferences but this continues to be something that is frustrating to me.
As for the actual men that I have met on the site? No horror stories...so far. I dated one man I met on the site for four months or so but it just didn't work out. I had a date "forget" his wallet the first time we met. I've been called a bitch by one man via email because I called myself "independent." Several of them look nothing like their pictures and I would not be surprised if they were not even pictures of them. I have met one man I consider a friend, which is nice.
SO why do I continue to do it? I live in a college town and I am almost 43 years old. Meeting people is tough. I seem to have two choices when it comes to relationships; go the cougar route or just wait a few years and move into a retirement community and try my luck there. The first option is just not for me and frankly, I just don’t like the odds for the second option. I read somewhere that women outnumber men 5 to 1. No thanks. I’ll take my chances out here.
Maybe I SHOULD take mention of Star Wars out of my bio. It’s worth a shot I guess but how will I answer what I spend too much time thinking about?
I would suggest online dating if you have a thick skin and a sense of humor about yourself. I am hopeful that somewhere somebody will find my profile and think I am JUST the special kind of crazy he wants in his life.