The scene: Work happy hour at Wokcano. What began as me giving my boss a hard time about his Match profile has segued into a discussion of online dating in general.
Me: I don't know, I just sort of think the reason it works so often is because both people go into it wanting to be in a relationship. So you, like, rule that part out. Like, that part's already a go.
Bossman: I don't know -- I think there may be more to it than that. Have you ever tried it?
Me: (laughing) Oh God, no -- I'm not desperate.
I think I'm hilarious. My boss pretends to think I'm hilarious. COWORKER standing behind me does not think I'm hilarious.
Coworker: Oh, so I guess I'm desperate then, huh, Stacie?
Me: No! That's not what I meant.
It wasn't, but she was not buying a single one of my overly verbose and slightly convoluted explanations.
Yes, I had always been against online dating -- but for myself, not for other people. I knew plenty of non-desperate people for whom it worked quite well; it just wasn't a very 'me' thing to do. Unrelenting sardonicism coupled with Disney princess dreams does not lend itself nicely to taking Internet meet 'n' greets very seriously. Besides, I don't really have any trouble meeting people. As a freelance writer, I have a flexible schedule that puts my sometimes-too-approachable face in front of a lot of strange men. Cafes, grocery stores, the bank, the gym -- you name the location, I've probably had some sort of painfully adorable meet-cute there. Sure, none of these encounters sang and tapped their way to a solid rom-com ending and sure, I'd been single and minglin' for 29 years, but I didn't see why that would mean I'd have any more luck in the online sphere.
In an attempt to make amends, I told my coworker I would give online dating a whirl. I had to admit, my actual knowledge on the topic was minimal verging on non-existent. And what the hell -- if nothing else, I was sure to get a few entertaining stories for my blog. (Lord knows I'll do [almost] anything for the sake of my blog.)
My initial plan was to turn the whole adventure into a simple comparison of five of the most popular online dating sites: Match, Tinder, JDate, OkCupid and eHarmony. I was to go on one or two dates from each site and report back on the process and ensuing events. Unbeknownst to me, the moment I said yes to my first Internet-initiated date, the experiment would take on a life of its own, and my sardonic little heart would learn itself a hard lesson or seventeen.
After winking and right-swiping my way into an onslaught of would-be suitors, I was confronted with the fact that this whole online dating thing might just be a numbers game, and decided to change those 30 days to 30 dates. I also decided to set a few ground rules to keep myself honest/rule out those pesky, oft-quoted, why-you're-single myths:
1. You must be completely open to the process -- including the idea that it might actually lead to a relationship.
2. Say yes to someone under 6'0".
3. Say yes to someone who is clearly not your "type."
4. Say yes to someone who is terrible at communicating via the written word.
5. Say yes to someone who is 39 or older.
6. No bailing on a date or a guy unless there is a really, really, REALLY good reason.
The final numbers:
5 dating sites. Hundreds of chats. 30 days. 30 dates. 18 guys. ? boyfriend.
Check back for updates -- or at least to make sure I still have a pulse. I'll be posting once a week, unless some weirdo has me locked in his basement. Only time will tell.