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Posts Tagged ‘online dating’

Not long ago I wrote a post about giving OKCupid (an online dating service) a try and being quite pleased with it compared to some of the other options out there, and I had a few comments from folks asking if I’d gotten any dates from there yet… which normally would have struck me as a little premature since I’d just signed up and created my profile just two weeks prior to writing about it.  But, to my extreme delight… the answer is, yes– I did indeed meet someone super-cool on OKCupid and made plans to meet!

OKC stars

Four or five days after I set up my profile I got notified by OKCupid that someone had given my profile 4-5 stars… and I didn’t even realize that you could give a profile stars!  I’d gotten a fair number of visitors since setting up my profile, but I suppose this is how someone kinda nudges you and says “hey, I kinda like what I see.”  Anyway, I went and checked out her profile, saw a picture of a lovely woman, and then began to read her profile.  It was surreal… so many things we had in common, she almost seemed too good to be true, but then I realized– I suppose this is what OKCupid is set up to do, match up people with similar interests.  My age, divorced, has kids, similar tastes in music and a love for live music, similar tastes in TV shows, movies, likes to go to festivals, the vibe from her profile felt so similar to mine, on and on… so I went ahead and gave her profile five stars back!

OKCupid then said something like “well, you’ve shown interest in each other… why not send a message?”  Well, why not indeed?  So I sent her a message… and then a little chat window popped up from her– I didn’t even realize we could chat on here!  So we chatted a bit before I had to go, then she answered my message, and then we went back and forth with the messages a few times, then exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers, moved over to emails and texts and pretty much were in daily contact until one Thursday evening when I thought… well, she obviously likes my profile and likes corresponding back and forth… I realized it would probably be pretty easy to just coast along like that for a while, but… why was I on OKCupid to begin with?  The answer:  to find someone who might be interested in me as more than just friends, so I decided to go ahead and ask if she’d like to go on a date and meet on the following Monday.

She was up for a date, but said she had plans Monday.  She’s a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, and she had tickets to go see a documentary called Springsteen & I that was showing at this cool dinner & movie venue called CinéBistro where you can order a yummy dinner (or appetizers) and adult beverages you enjoy while you watch a movie in their big comfy chairs.  However, she didn’t have anyone yet to go with, so she asked if I wanted to go?  Sounded fun to me, I offered to pay for dinner and we called it a date.

A date!  The notion thrilled and scared me both.  I mean, it had to have been nearly 20 years since I’d gone on an official “date,” and even then I couldn’t really recall any specifics as to when that might have been.  Prior to my ex and I getting together many years ago, I was the master of the “hang out/pseudo-date” and very rarely was so bold to flat-out call it a date.  Is it any surprise all too many of those encounters ended with me in the Friend Zone?  This time I wanted to make it clear– while a new friend who shared as many interests as we did would certainly be very welcome in my life, my first intention was more than that.

The whole weekend I felt like I was vibrating at a different frequency from everyone around me, and was pretty sure there must have been a goofy smile on my face constantly.  I must have been super-annoying to my friends.  The undercurrent of nervousness was pretty much overwhelmed by my excitement though, and when Monday rolled around I could hardly concentrate on work waiting for the time when I could drive out to meet her.

I pondered what to say or do when we first met.  How novel and new this all was– we’d had this great connection online, gotten to know each other in a lot of ways already before we even met.  I mean, it was sort of a blind date, but we weren’t entirely blind– we’d seen each other’s pictures, read each other’s profiles, checked out each other’s questions, and sent a bunch of emails back and forth.  She was like an odd mix of a good friend I had the hots for and a total stranger.  What do I do when we meet?  Hugs or handshakes?  Do I kiss her goodnight?

I quickly realized I could overthink myself into a total tizzy, so I just settled down and tried to just roll with it.

We met about 30 minutes before the show outside the movie place, and then went inside and chatted a bit before they seated us.  Any sense of nervousness melted away almost immediately and I felt totally at ease with her.  The friendship we’d built on common interests and emails made it completely comfortable.  We ordered Cobb Salads and beer, and then watched the movie.  It was a really good film– lots of humor, great musical performances, and it left me regretting never taking the opportunity to see a Bruce Springsteen show before.  He’s obviously a great performer and musician.

Afterwards, even though it was quite late she was amicable to going around the corner to a nearby restaurant/bar and grabbing another beer or two to talk some more.  The time flew by and it grew quite late, and we finally headed back out to our cars.  We talked about getting together again soon… and there was a brief moment where I thought she might want me to kiss her goodnight!  Was I reading that right?  I certainly wanted to kiss her, but I felt a moment of panic when I realized just how long it had been since my last “first kiss” and worried my game was so off, so rusty, that I was misreading the signs.  I went in for the safe hug instead… and drove off kicking myself just a little bit.

Still, overall I thought the date went extremely well, and we texted each other when we got home saying how much we enjoyed meeting each other.  I was curious if some of the chemistry and flirtation that had been going on online would change a bit now that we’d met in person, but to my delight it did not.

We’ve gotten together twice since then, and we’ve discovered that it’s going to be a bit of a challenge finding time to spend together– she’s just as busy as I am and has a really full life of her own.  Which is fine– there’s no need to rush things, it’s been nice just getting to know each other bit by bit.

I will say that I’m now a big believer in OKCupid.  A program that can match me up with someone like her is alright in my book!

 

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I’ve written a couple times before about online dating (Online Chemistry, Research Paper), and while I’ve subscribed to a few dating sites, none of them have really led to any actual dates.  For one thing, most seem to demand a fee for service to actually interact with anyone more than just on a superficial level… which is fine, people are in business to make money.  And to be honest, I hadn’t really found anyone interesting enough who was also interested in me enough to make me want to pull the trigger and pull out my credit card to subscribe.  And so I had really stopped going to any of them for the past few months.

Recently two different podcasts I listen to brought up OK Cupid.  I’m not sure why I didn’t check into the site before — I seem to recall reading someone saying that it catered to a much younger crowd maybe? — but the folks I was listening to spoke very favorably about the site, so I took it as a sign maybe I should check them out.

I’m glad I did– I really like what I found there.  For one thing, there is no subscriber fee other than a “premium” version with a apparently a few more bells and whistles, additional search capacities, but the free side is still very functional and useful, letting you chat with whomever you want (provided they want to chat).  Much like the other sites, you set up a profile telling a little bit about yourself and what you’re looking for, load some pictures… but the part I really like about OKCupid are the questions it asks of you that drives its matching engine.  There’s a minimum amount of questions to answer to prime the matching engine — I think around 20 — but the questions are pretty basic stuff, yes/no or a few multiple choice, and then you get to choose which of the available choices are acceptable in your match, and then you get to rate how important the question is to you (ranked from Irrelevant to Mandatory).  There’s even a little text box where you can expand on your answer.

So you start with 20 or so… but there are thousands and thousands of questions to answer!  Some are silly, some are deep, some are dumb, but most are pretty fun.  I’ve answered over 300 questions so far and there are thousands more.  I could see spending all afternoon answering these questions.

OKC_Question

Here’s one I haven’t answered yet…  I think it’s a tough one.  I mean, first I thought about me — what do I want to do with my life?  I mean, I can think of goals, I can think of dreams… The question seems to suggest that a person is either driven or aimless, and I don’t personally feel I fall strictly into either slot but rather somewhere in between.  Who am I to judge someone else in that regard?  See, the questions are interesting!

Anyway, once you answer a bunch of questions, OKCupid’s matching engine figures out where you fall on various personality axes.  They even have a “personality” chart where you can either see how someone else compares to you along those axes, or how you line up among the average OKCupid user.  Here’s my chart and how I compare to the average:

OKC_Personality

On the one hand, this chart really flatters!  It says that I am (or rather, “might be” — hee, I like the legalese qualifier there), compared to the average, More Laid-Back, More Literary, More Cool, More Compassionate, More Kind… awww, shucks OKCupid you’re making me blush!  And it makes me wonder how in the world does a computer figure out how cool, compassionate or kind someone is from these questions.  See– interesting!

On the other hand though, the length of the bars from the average pushes me out to the margins, which could suggest it might be tough to find a good match out there.  Of course, questions and answers aren’t everything, and there’s a lot to be said for great profile essays and a willingness to chat to get to know each other better.

OKC_States Heat Map

I also got a cool email from OKCupid that sent out this Map of Love “heat map” — showing me the States with a higher density of matches.  As I have always suspected, my outlook on life tends to line up more with West Coasters and New Englanders… but it was nice to see Virginia at least in the right shade.  There just might be hope for me yet! 🙂

OKC_Countries

If I ever have the desire to look for love out of country, OKCupid was even kind enough to let me know where I should go, and where to avoid!

So I’m curious about other people’s experiences with OKCupid.  I’ve only been on two weeks but I really like what I’ve seen!

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“Very interesting blog… it’s almost like you are doing a research paper as opposed to meeting new people…”

My cousin was kind enough to chime in on my post earlier about online dating, and I went ahead and set up a profile on Plenty of Fish since it was free and would let me actually interact with people without paying first.  After a few days I got a note from a woman who asked me a few questions, including wondering about my blog.  After I pointed her to it she sent me the above message as reply.

It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting… but then again I’m not sure what I was expecting.  It was the first time that I know of that someone single and on the prowl in my area had read my blog.  I sent her a message back and haven’t heard from her since… so it apparently didn’t exactly hook her or keep her interest.  And I’m not sure what to make of it.

I mean, the core point she made is kinda true.  I’m not exactly in a position right now to be meeting people.  The clutch in my car needs to be replaced which is pretty expensive, and along with some other cash flow issues I’ve had to go back to working like a dog like I was pre-roommate.  Thankfully I know this is temporary, and as soon as I get everything paid I can ease back and reclaim my Saturdays for socializing.  Working like a dog doesn’t exactly leave time for conventional dating, especially “getting to know you” first dates.  Asking someone new to meet me for drinks at 11:30pm after I get off work from my second job would likely come across as creepy or sleazy.

So my blog… well I guess it is a research paper, on the topic of me— my thoughts, my past, my hopes for the future.  And maybe not exactly a great calling card for someone just getting to know me?  Perhaps what I write here is too much for dating prospects?  What do you think?

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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.  (more…)

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The last time I was a single man there was no such thing as online dating, so I find the idea both intriguing and terrifying.  I’m certainly going to be excited to try it out!

One thing I find funny though is reading various single women bloggers writing about their experiences with men through the online dating sites, especially the messages these guys send them.  I mean, maybe as a writer I’ve got a bit of a grammar snob in me, but some of what these guys are writing to women they’re interested in is barely comprehensible!  Maybe they just rely on being Studly McHardbody to gloss over lack of basic communication skills…

I can’t help but think that, looks aside, most women would want at least a modest ability to construct complete, coherent sentences that make sense and have a modicum of wit.  Maybe that skill might give a slight edge?  Have me stand out?

(one can hope… I’ll certainly need whatever edge I can scrounge hee hee!)

So ladies– how prevalent is that on these web sites?  Are the guys with horrid grammar atypical or pretty common?  Got any examples you’d like to share?

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