Navigating the Rough Waters of Online Dating Part 1

The world of online dating is a completely different experience for a woman than it is for a man.  The second a  woman signs up for a dating site, she is basically “thrown to the sharks”.  I know this because one of my very first online dates worked for a site and he was kind (or maybe “buzzed”) enough to share some of the tricks of the Online Dating “trade”.

Once a female has created her online profile, she will appear in every man’s Search (whether she matches his criteria or not) for the first few weeks of membership.  With all of that exposure, she will then be flooded with messages.

Online Dating Guy also shared these two ploys with me:

1.) Inactive profiles show up in searches to make it look like there are more members than there actually are.

2.) Your “online now” light stays on long after you log out (which could potentially get you into trouble down the road).

After a few days, you may begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of your fan mail.  But don’t throw in that towel just yet.  Let’s try and organize the process, shall we?

Choosing your site – First off, decide if you have it in your budget to pay for a service.  As a single mom, it is hard to justify $20.00 or more per month to subscribe to a dating site.  In the beginning, it is probably best used towards gas in your car or treating the kids to pizza on a night you are too tired to cook.  With that being said, I recommend going with a free site at first.

These are the sites, I have tried and my opinions of them:

Match (overpriced and unorganized)

Tinder (often referred to as a hook-up site)

Okcupid (so far, so good)

POF (ew, just ew)

Zoosk (lame)

DBG (not enough members, yet)

EHarmony (ridiculously long process and price).

If you’re feeling intrepid, pick two.  Personally, I have had the best luck with OKCupid and Tinder.

OKC offers a free or paid service and is famous for its quirky questions that range from super irrelevant to super invasive.  But by answering them you up your chances of finding a good match.

Once questions are answered you can narrow down your choices using the percentage you match with someone.  There is also a really great search feature which allows you to narrow members by age, location, height, and so on.  And with a paid subscription, you get an even greater search tool (for picky “daters” like me) and are notified of who “likes” you.

My favorite feature of OKC is the Invisible Browsing.  When I find someone I am really excited about, I tend to read and re-read their profile.  I want to show my friends to get their opinion and before you know it I appear to be Cyber Stalker of the Year. To avoid giving off a premature Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction vibe, just take a screenshot of their profile and pics. By doing this, you can safely refer back to their profile and show off his photos to your friends(and he won’t be concerned for the safety of his pets).

Personally, I have had two boyfriends in the past 3 years and met both of them on OKCupid.  So, perhaps Cupid isn’t so Stupid after all.

Tinder gets a bad rap.  It’s like the slutty step-sister of dating sites.  But I like Tinder.  It’s not only free, but YOU are in charge of who can message you. The only men who can contact you are the ones you  swipe right (like) to.  This saves a lot of time and frustration, as I tend to be a magnet for the guys who have profile pictures that look like they were taken by the local police department or at a retirement home.

In order to create a profile on Tinder, you have to have a Facebook account.  That feature adds to the chances that Tinderfella’s age, photos and friends are legit.  Obviously, this isn’t always the case, so use caution.    I also appreciate the fact mutual FB interests and friends are displayed.  This has been very helpful.  For example, if I am checking out a guy’s profile and I see we have a mutual female friend in common, I will contact said friend to verify how she knows him before I swipe right.

I am still friends with some really great guys I met on Tinder.  If it weren’t for Tinder, I probably wouldn’t have had my first (and only)PBR with a PSB (Pro Snowboarder) or  learned how to play a card game called Tonk with an Ex-NFL pro-bowler, in addition to some other really cool experiences.

Tinder and online dating in general is what you make it.  You are in control.    Make it fun and easy.  But don’t be easy!

Stay tuned for Part II.





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