QUOTE(cecilia @ Jul 11 2008, 09:27 AM)
thirtiesgirl - I've been thinking about trying online dating. Thanks for all the tips! Are there any particular sites you recommend? My friend seems to have lots of luck with plenty of fish, so I was thinking of trying that one.
These are the sites I've tried: nerve, yahoo dating, match.com, American Singles, J-Date (even though I'm not 'J' ~ Jewish ~ they're generally ok with non-Jewish people using the site, and I'm kinda into Jewish men), Plenty of Fish, Craigslist, and several paid dating websites for plus size people.
Here are some of my experiences: I first started using nerve when it was still a new site, before it became the massive website it is today (or so I assume it still is). I think because I was using it when it was still new, and internet dating itself was still a relatively new thing, I got a lot of responses on the site. None of the guys I met worked out, but I will say, of all the dating websites I've used, I received several serious responses on nerve (i.e., not guys just looking for casual sex). I'd be willing to bet things have changed a lot on nerve in the past 8 years, though.
I signed up for yahoo dating around the same time as nerve, mostly because yahoo was free, and nerve charged you a fee if you wanted to e-mail people on their website. Similarly to nerve, I got some serious responses on yahoo, but fewer of them. Again, none of them worked out. And by that I mean the guys would meet me once and not want to date me again because they didn't find me attractive, or, on a few occasions, it was obvious the guy had a lot of issues and *I* wasn't interested in dating him
. One guy I met on yahoo had a live-in girlfriend who was out of town during the six weeks we dated. Which, of course, I didn't find out until after the fact. That was enough to stop me from using yahoo.
It was on match.com that I met my first real abuser of internet dating. Match has lots of bells & whistles, including an online IM service, so this guy started IMing me, being very flirtatious and fun, which I fell hook, line & sinker for. I was still relatively inexperienced with internet dating at the time, so I had yet to formulate my rule about no IMing. I was doing an internship at the time, so I had a lot of spare time on my hands, as my supervisors didn't really know what to do with an intern. Unfortunately, I got so hooked into IMing this guy that I'd often do it during my internship. I'd try to keep it to a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes every couple of hours, but for those of you who've done any IMing, you'll know that a LOT can be said in 10 to 15 minutes.
The more time I spent IMing this guy, it became apparent that all he wanted to do was flirt. He had no interest in discussing other things like his job, his interests, his marital status. He was so convincing, though, that against my better judgment (and, I have to admit, I was in a pretty desperate state of mind, too), I met him in person for coffee... and again, all he wanted to do was flirt - and extreme
flirt, at that. When we met, he dared me to make out with him in public (and by 'make out' I mean hands down the blouse, hands up the skirt, etc.), open my shirt so he could see my bra, etc. While I might be ok with that level of flirtation if I'm in a darkened club, I wasn't going to do it in broad daylight at the corner Starbucks, with everyone around.
Eventually, I came to my senses and realized he and I were not
looking for the same thing at all. I e-mailed a good friend about his actions, a woman who had an anthropological interest in internet dating and had spent some time studying it. She explained that he was only interested in extreme flirting, which is a particular sub-set of some people who use dating websites. All they want to do is extreme flirt. They have no interest in actual dating or trying to establish a relationship. They're interested in seeing how far you're willing to push the envelope as far as online and public flirting goes. The fact that I was IMing this guy from 'work' (aka, my internship) was a big aphrodisiac for him, as was seeing how far I'd go with the public flirting. The raunchier I got with my online flirting from work, the happier he was.
That was enough to put me off match.com, so I stopped using their website. American Singles was another site with a lot of bells & whistles, including an 'ignore' feature when you send someone a message on the site. If they check out your profile and decide they're not interested, not only can they choose not to respond, they can also put you on their 'ignore' list...which the website then tells you that they've done. While I was on American Singles, I found a guy who I thought I had a lot in common with. I work in education, and he's an 8th grade math teacher, my age, good looking, into indie film and music like me... so I thought we had some commonalities. When I sent him a message on the site, he decided to 'ignore' me. Which the site then told
me. "TeacherGuy2002 has decided to ignore you. He is not interested in any further responses." Yeah, way to go, there American Singles! Way to boost a girl's confidence!
The other problem I've had with so many internet dating websites, free and paid alike, is that there are always so many
guys looking for casual sex. If that's what you're looking for, the internet is definitely the place to find it. If you're looking for something else, there's a lot
of weeding out to do. At least, from my experience. And websites for plus size people are no different. Plenty of guys looking for casual hook-ups there, too. The only difference is, I've met several guys on those sites who also are into fetishizing fat.
If that works for you (collective
you, here; I'm not speaking to anyone in particular), go for it. Personally, I want to be valued for everything
I bring to a relationship: my intelligence, humor, sex appeal, independence, and a really good collection of music, if I do say so myself. I don't just want to be fetishized for my fat. So I found the plus size dating websites didn't really work for me either.
Plenty of Fish was the last free website I used, and after another bad internet dating experience last year (I met a guy for coffee six weeks after he'd just gotten divorced. Yeah. SIX WEEKS
. Which, of course, he didn't tell me while we were e-mailing. He saved that for our first date, after which I quickly finished my coffee and said goodbye.), I kind of put my internet dating life on hold for a while. I needed to take a breather and get my confidence and motivation back up.
Earlier this year, a girl friend of mine talked me into joining Geek2Geek which is a relatively new website for people looking to date some brainier folks. (I have to admit, I've met a lot of sweet but rather unintelligent guys on other dating websites. I mean, some of them seriously can't even spell.) I was hesitant to sign up, but my friend convinced me. The first 6 weeks, things were pretty much the same as other websites. I wasn't getting a lot of interest, and the few guys who did contact me turned out to be flakes. (It's also still a fairly new website, so there aren't a whole lot of people on it yet. Meaning, not as large a selection of men as other websites.) But about 5 weeks ago, a guy contacted me on the website, and we've been talking ever since. We had our first date 2 weeks ago, and while it's a long distance thing (he lives 5 hours away from me), he really seems interested in me and he's the first sincere guy I've met online in a long, long while.
In defense of internet dating, I do
know several people who have met, successfully dated and gotten married to people they've met online. In fact, one of the counselors at the school where I previously worked met a guy on Craigslist, of all places, and they got married last year. So apparently it is
possible to find what you're looking for online. But from my experience, you have to know what you're looking for, be specific about it, do a lot of weeding out, and kiss a lot of frogs. (This includes the occasionally married but lying guy, too. I've met 3 of them in the years I've been internet dating.) ...And candycane_girl
, flakiness is very typical of guys on dating websites. I can't count the number of times I've sent a message to guys and never received a response. It sucks, but it's par for the course with internet dating.
When you get a response from an interested guy, my recommendations are spend some time e-mailing with them (at least a week or two) and talking on the phone before meeting them. And then always meet them in public the first few times. Never go over to their place at first, or invite them to yours, and don't allow them to pick you up in their car. Just be careful, use some common sense, and let a friend or someone know where you're going, who you're meeting, etc. Once you feel comfortable with them, and your judgment is telling you that things are ok, you can take it further.
Damn. Sorry, ladies. Another long-ass post. Brevity has never been my strong suit.