Online Dating

A long-time friend of mine joined an online dating site a few years back and eventually met his wife on there. After my breakup, I actually joined. Mainly because I realized I had very specific tastes in women and was past the point of just meeting pretty strangers. Plus, it pays into my general desire to do things efficiently. Obviously everyone you encounter on the site is single and looking, and sorting through attractive versus unattractive people is quite simple and much of the awkwardness associated with traditional introduction melts away (I usually need a few beers for this to seem natural).

Anyway, there are two interesting things I have noticed since I have joined. The first were the types of women that the sites have set me up with and the second was the way I began to define myself after I realized I wasn't trying to cast the widest net possible to attract the largest number of mates, but rather isolate those few people who see the world like I do (or at least have mutual acceptance of each others views).

On one site, you are allowed to answer literally hundreds of user-generated questions which offer a few choices on both how you would respond and how you would hope a potential mate would respond. It then allows you to state an importance level ranging from irrelevant to mandatory. It then uses these ratings to match up users with each other. The site does a good job - I have actually been quite happy with the results and met some interesting people though the site. Girls I wouldn't have met otherwise. Some are still friends. That being said, I was pretty surprised with the types of women it was matching me up with. Many had tattoos, piercings, were outspoken, and a few had pasts that involved heavy drug use. It was interesting to me that if I had a stronger desire to be around people who see the world like I do, I would have socialized with people like that. It was almost as if I started to identify myself in the same way - and that I was just masquerading as a frat/mama's boy.

Along the same lines, it was also interesting to see how my answers changed to the questions over time. My little fears surrounding conventional relationships melted away. I was able to answer each question with an increasing amount of honesty and clarity. And at each point, there were still nice, attractive, interesting people who were a 90+ percent match. All in all, it has been a pretty liberating experience. I feel like I have been able to embrace all my quirks and be at ease with the things I enjoy. It's also translated into real life. I feel like when I meet new people I am telling them exactly how I feel because I have a much greater confidence that I am not isolating myself. I am able to talk freely, and to my surprise people generally respond pretty positively, and when they don't, it doesn't bother me nearly as much, since I don't doubt myself. The need to fit myself into some silly little box fades away.

It's been fun....