If spring fever’s been lighting a fire in your loins, you might finally be ready to resign to that scary place in cyberspace known as online dating. Here, love is like a box of chocolates, and you never really know what you’re gonna’ get. Ask around and you’re sure to amass a handful of tales bordering on the slightly horrifying:
“I met a woman online. She was pretty. Seemed really nice. Eventually, I figured out she was slightly psychotic, and her father took away her car for reasons she never explained. After far too many drinks, she decided to do karaoke and dominated the mic for an hour, drunk, guzzling everything in sight. After she (vomited) all over, I had to take her home… After she took most her clothes off, she scribbled some numbers on a crumpled bit of paper and told me to call her. I didn’t.” – George, 53
“I met a guy on Plenty of Fish. Went on a date. Went really well. Went on a second. After we order drinks he says he needs to tell me something. Once our beverages arrive, he lets me know he likes to have (intercourse) with dogs. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. Never spoke to him again.” – Kate, 26
At the other end of the spectrum are the kinds of stories Nicholas Sparks would covet. Online anonymity offers a person the unique chance to open up in ways a face-to-face encounter inhibits, helping those who participate to gain insight into their partners, themselves and to build a trust that can withstand the test of time.
“Ivan and I met on eHarmony a few years ago and got married just last month. Between him and I we have six kids… Our family is huge… We have our struggles as any relationship does, but genuine love and affection have always been there, even in our darkest days.” – Sabra, 30
It’s true the online dating pool is huge and largely anonymous. If you’re fishing with a wide net, it’s hard telling what you’ll catch. eHarmony is reportedly responsible for two percent of all marriages in the United States, due in great part to its in-depth questionnaire and profiling system, but many people find themselves “failing” its test. As if rejection from another human wasn’t hard enough.
Oh, well. According to Forbes.com, there are approximately 2,500 online dating services in operation today. This does not mean all are created equal, and some are scamming cesspools—surprise, surprise. So how does one stand a chance at successfully navigate this whole online dating thing?
1. Stick to the sites with the highest success rates.
- Perfect Match
- Christian Mingle
- Plenty of Fish
2. Choose the right picture.
- Include a head and body shot.
- Make sure it’s no more than six months old.
- Avoid posting too many group pics with the opposite sex. Think about it.
- Don’t get prop-happy. Dogs, cars, sunglasses—keep them out of your main pic.
3. Choose the right username.
- Create an alias that people will understand and relate to. You may think it’s clever, but you’re not trying to impress yourself.
- Make it halfway legible. Right now it doubles as your name.
- Avoid the provocative. Unless that’s the kind of relationship you’re going for…
4. Create a knockout profile.
- Split yourself into three paragraphs: (1) who you are and what you like to do, (2) pet peeves and quirks, (3) things you like, places you’ve been, etc.
- Be brief. This is more of a résumé than a novel.
- Be unique. You are but one fish in a sea, remember.
- Please spell check.
Good luck, friends! Who knows what your story will turn out to be?