Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Online Dating or How to become the most popular person at a party

July 7, 2010

To those of you fortunate enough to be in a long-term committed relationship, consider yourselves lucky. Consider yourselves especially lucky if you met your mate the “old fashion” way. The fate that awaits most singles of our generation is a fate almost worse than dying alone. Almost. It is the seventh circle of hell also known as the online dating website.

Being a member of this modern age, where we can do virtually everything online from filing our taxes to grocery shopping to stalking our ex’s, has its obvious perks. Things we use to have to leave our houses for can now be done in our underwear from the comfort of our couch with a bag of potato chips and a forty. Or is that just me? Why shouldn’t we go about finding a significant other the same way?

As old as the mating ritual is, I’m fairly certain our ancestors never in a million years would have imagined eHarmony. The internet has revolutionized courtship of our day the way the answering machine changed the rules in the mid 1980’s. We now have the ability to pre-screen our suitors. Mating has become big business. Online dating sites are charging people a premium for gathering all the desperate souls in one location for our convenience. People can now be sorted like merchandise by body type, religion, income, hobbies and favorite sexual position. But instead of putting them in your cart, you “wink” at them, and add them to your favorites list. How civilized.

 Huffington Post just released a startling study on online dating statistics: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/25/online-dating-statistics_n_511716.html

The findings really weren’t news to me because I have done my own research, this being my third go round (she types hanging her head in shame), and I can say that I am the one in ten who leaves with in three months, only I usually last one measly month to be quite honest. That’s when the novelty wears off, hope and optimism fades and the fear of going on one more bad date overrides my fear of never successfully procreating. Because lets not kid ourselves folks, that’s what this is all about: making babies or partaking in the activity that leads to making babies on a more regular basis. The study says that one in three women have sex on their first date. Really ladies? Its amazing what desperation does for the libido. 

Being celibate puts me at a serious disadvantage in this whole scene. Even though the sites promise compatibility and long-lasting connection, romance and even marriage, sex is still the name of the game.  As I mindlessly scroll through the endless catalog of “eligible” men, I’m not wondering who is really good at taking out the trash. I’m not thinking, “Oh, this guy looks fiscally responsible. I can’t wait to see his… check book.”

My inner monologue looks more like this as I rhythmically click from photo to photo: “Cute? Douche! Fat. No. Jersey. Douche. Cute? Hair piece. Gay. Virgin. Gay. Oh my! Cute? NO! Mama’s boy. Trying too hard. Cute?”

In all fairness, I am actually reading a lot of profiles. Not that anyone’s profile gives you any more of an idea of who the person is. One thing people as a whole are not very good at is self-awareness, myself included. Profiles usually read like a laundry list of ideal positive qualities and acceptable generic interest, with no mention of your short comings or secret obsession with say, novelty shot glasses. I mean, who doesn’t like travel and eating out, people?* I read hundreds of these, at least give me some impression that you find this whole thing as ridiculous as I do. Ultimately, reading just enables me to separate men into two categories. Clever and not so bright. And I’ll let you guess which category is usually better looking. Plus, people’s ads are usually not who they are, so much as who they want you to think that they are. For instance, my celibacy is one of those fun facts I’m coincidentally keeping to myself. And before you judge me too harshly, know that I am not alone in having a blatantly deceptive profile. That’s part of the fun. I’m not saying that people lie. Okay, some do. But they definitely spin the truth, like any good ad man.

Now don’t get me wrong, online dating is not limited to rejects and the socially awkward anymore. Everyone is doing it. There are some real catches to be found. Kinda like how Ross Dress For Less has some really good deals, you just must possess the patients to dig through all the crap to find them. And because there is a lot more selection online these days, it does become a lot more like real life in a way. The exceptionally good-looking people still have the upper hand. Men still want to talk to women who are “hot” and ridiculously too young for them. Women still want someone who is tall with a decent job. And there’s a good chance that if the 6′ 2, athletic, thirty-something investment banker with blue eyes, dimples and  a love for travel wouldn’t talk to you in a bar, he probably isn’t going to talk to you online either. Sorry ladies.

But who wants to date that guy anyway? Not me. Nope. Not at all. Couldn’t be less interested. I prefer for my potential mate to be 5 ‘7, overweight with bad skin, living at home with a love for video games. Oh, wait that’s not what I prefer. But that is definitely who wants to talk to me. Forgive me, I am exaggerating. Sometimes they have nice skin.**

The good news is, if you can stand the humiliation, online dating adventures can catapult you to stardom in your circle of friends. Sadly, people don’t really want to hear about how you met the love of your life. They do want to hear all about the freak who tried to give you their ex-girlfriends shoes on the first date. True story. And if you look at it as an adventure with nothing but amazing story potential, it can actually be a lot of fun. Who needs to find love when you have a fan base to answer to. You’d be amazed that you find yourself hoping for the epicly bad dates, just so you will have a good tale to tell.

Which is what I plan on doing.  In this blog and at parties. And I’ll let you know how the whole celibacy thing goes over. I’m excited for you guys. I have a feeling these are going to be especially good.

* I am aware that moving that comma would give the  sentence an entirely different meaning. But one that is equally true.
**grammar check wanted me to change this to “they have the nice skin”

Categories: See Jane Give Up Dick

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