I’ve talked to a few people over the recent months about online dating, and while I’m not quite ready to jump into those waters, I have gone online and checked out various sites to see what they’re like (or at least as much as you can without subscribing, which is not much actually). I’ve set up profiles on Chemistry, Date.com, Match.com and BeNaughty (just for kicks). All of them have similarities, and it’s fun to browse and see what people are looking for in their potential dating partners. It’s also fun to see how many people out there have just awful grammar!
I have to admit Chemistry has sucked me in the most; even as a non-subscriber, you still get the feel that the service is trying to line you up with people who match well with what you’re looking for. Unfortunately for me you can’t actually interact with these folks unless you pay up, which obviously makes sense if your a business. Occasionally they give you “free subscriber” status for a half day, sometimes for the weekend, and I’ve actually been able to read a couple emails that paid subscribers sent me. I tried to be slick and answer them, giving them my email address but when I got a similar email from someone who was also taking advantage of the “free subscriber” status, I saw that Chemistry strips away email addresses mentioned in their internal email exchange. Sucks for me, but again– makes sense for Chemistry to do this. They’ve got a smart set up, sucking me in and corralling me towards paying for a subscription despite my best efforts to cheat the system.
I’m not yet ready to pull the trigger on paying for an online dating service, but if/when I do Chemistry is probably what I’ll try first. The couple who’s wedding I went to last month? They met on Chemistry last year. Worked for them!
I thought it might be fun to share some of my profile stuff here with you all.
First off, they have you answer this questionnaire to set up your “personality profile” based on someone named Dr. Fisher’s research.
My answers indicated that I am an EXPLORER.
- Explorers love novelty, excitement and adventure.
- Explorers are also very curious, creative, and sometimes extravagant.
Hm, okay. Sounds about right.
Then you come up with a one line blurb about yourself that people can see when they are browsing through lists of potential connections. I wrote “a hopeless romantic and eternal optimist.”
There’s a place where you answer a bunch of stats about yourself– your age, your height, your body type, hair color, eye color, ethnicity, living situation (alone, roommate, kids), single/separated/divorced, children, education, occupation, yearly income range, religious affiliation, political outlook, smokes, drinks. I was honest with all these questions… I mean, if the goal is to eventually meet someone through this site, why lie in the beginning or omit stuff and potentially waste people’s time?
Then you get to use the same list of stats but narrow them down in what you want in a potential partner. They also ask how far away you’d be willing to travel to meet matches. I told them I’d want to remain in the state.
There’s a place where you get to write a bit about yourself and what you’re looking for. If you’ve read my blog then you know that I often find something to love about all sorts of women, so I pretty much left all these choices wide open. The one exception was age– while I’m very young at heart, I don’t really think I want to be dating someone who’s 19 or 20. I did set the floor at 27 because I know some women at that age who are quite self-assured and mature and I wouldn’t want Chemistry to fail to connect me with someone who is a great match in every other way.
Last but not least, Chemistry gives you an “In your own words” section where you get to talk more about yourself and what you’re looking for. I viewed it as a way to “close the deal” once your potential matches have viewed your basic stats. Here’s what I wrote below:
I’m a writer, a dad, a hopeless romantic, an eternal optimist and a bleeding heart liberal. I look for the best in people and try to win over cynics.
Life’s too short to spend it alone! Looking for a creative, fun, and loving woman who is quick to laugh, enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and getting caught up in great TV shows. She’ll appreciate romantic gestures, enjoy holding hands and public displays of affection. She’ll be up for spontaneous drives down beautiful roads to nowhere in particular, singing out loud to favorite songs, and going down to the river to get our feet wet. I want someone who will surprise me and enjoy being surprised by me.
I’m a recently divorced father of two awesome children, a girl and a boy; my kids live with their mom but I get them every other weekend and see them some during the week. I love pets but am too busy to take care of one currently even though my kids want me to get some. I work too much but am trying to change that, and hope to find someone to stop and smell the roses with. I’ve got a good stable job I’ve been with for 11 years and love the company, but deep down I want to make a living as a writer– I make a little money writing now, but someday I’d like it to be my primary career.
I also write a really great blog, so let me know if you’d like to read it and I can point you to it!
Heh, you know I had to give the blog a shout-out! Unfortunately, Chemistry prohibits me putting an actual link to the blog there… If you’ve read my About page then you probably recognize a lot of this.
Anyway, once you do all this, Chemistry gives you a list of matches. Each listing gives a first name, the “profile” type, and their blurb. You can then click on it to check out more.
On their profile page you get to see her name, age, city and state, and picture(s). You get to read what she looks like (hair/eye color, height, body type, age, ethnicity), and who she is (all the other stats). And then you get to see “what she’s looking for” and Chemistry gives a little check mark next to whether you match what she’s looking for.
There are a couple things I look for right away to see whether or not I should go any further. If she’s selected a body type that excludes me (“heavyset”) then I just move on. I know for some being overweight is a deal-breaker, and even though I am working on losing weight and improving myself, I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time there. Personally, I’d love to find a partner who would help and encourage me on my path towards a slimmer and healthier body, but for some they want that instant physical attraction and I likely won’t provide that. Also, if I don’t match their desired ethnic background (me being White/Caucasian) then I move on too.
I also look at a the combination of Religious affiliation and Political outlook. If it’s Christian and Conservative I move on. If it’s Christian and Liberal, I’m fine. If it’s Not Affiliated/Agnostic/Spiritual and Conservative then I’m skeptical but not it’s not a deal-breaker. But it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to get along with someone who’s Christian and Conservative for any length of time even if we connect on a lot of other levels. I’m liberal and at 45 I don’t want to waste my time there.
Lastly, I look a bit at the income level. I make decent money, and though I’m far from a classist, I would prefer a woman who’s independent and can take care of herself. My reality is such that I work a lot and a fair amount of my income goes towards supporting my children. While I would have a little bit of money to spend on dating someone special, I’m not in any position to support someone else and I don’t want to be with someone who might get angry that I’m not spending as much money on her as I do on my kids. I’m a dad, my kids come first. While income level isn’t a deal breaker, it certainly raises a slight red flag with me as I look at what else she’s got going on.
Anyway, if any of those quick checks fail, I click “not really” and move on to the next profile. If not I go ahead and read the “in her own words” section to see if she can close the deal. If the grammar is good and she makes me smile, or paints a picture of a sweet woman that I think might enjoy my company, then I’ll click “I’m interested.” This puts me in a queue on her match list called “interested in you” and then she gets to check me out and if she’s interested too then Chemistry lets her send an internal email to me. At that point nothing further can happen unless you pay…
So anyway, that’s my limited experience so far with the online dating services. I’m curious what your experiences might have been? What sites do you like or dislike? What do you think of my “in your own words” section? Any suggestions for punching it up, making it more enticing (without being dishonest)?