Monday, June 24, 2013

Gone Fishin'

Since I haven't been having much success with, I decided to sign up for a free membership on I've only been on the site for a couple of days now. Due to all of the guys' pictures that I've seen so far, I now think of this site as being home to guys whose personal motto is "I THINK I'm too sexy for my shirt, but I should really put on a couple of sweaters."

Plentyoffish is a dating site that I haven't tried before. I had heard that the Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, found her current boyfriend on this site (though I couldn't help wondering why she turned to an online dating site to find a guy when she is a professional matchmaker). I liked Patti's no-nonsense attitude towards her millionaire clients, most of whom were not as good-looking as they thought they were and only wanted to date women who were twenty years younger than them. I thought since it worked for her, maybe it would work for me.

One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the guys on that site are apparently allergic to clothing. Actually, in the FAQ section on the site, it says, "Only females can send private images. This feature was removed for men because of nudity." (I'm not making this up, though I wish I was.)

On,, eharmony, and okcupid, most of the guys wrote detailed descriptions of themselves and what they were looking for. I always thought that descriptions that were too short (or profiles that didn't include any descriptions at all) were red flags; it made me think that the guys were only on the site for one thing or didn't bother to put much effort into making themselves look good to potential dates. I know it's difficult to describe yourself, but I think you should write at least a paragraph.

On, there are some profiles where the guys wrote detailed descriptions of themselves. But the majority of the profiles have very short descriptions that are usually only two to four lines long. One of them wrote, "I'm not going to write a book. If you want to know anything, just ask me." And that's all he wrote.

Another guy wrote, "I really like sports. Go White Sox!" And that was it. Seriously.

Other guys' descriptions were a little too detailed. One guy made a point of assuring potential matches that his "man parts" (his words, not mine) were functioning properly. Another guy wrote that he was looking for a woman with a high sex drive. One guy wrote, "I don't want to date BIG GIRLS. So if you're hefty, please don't e-mail me." I mean, really?

On sites like and okcupid you can "wink" at someone to let him know that you're interested, though I always send an e-mail. On plentyoffish, if you don't want to send an e-mail, you can "send a flirt" (which isn't even grammatically correct, but WHATEVER), or you can click on the "Meet Me" option. This is where the site shows you a series of pictures (though you have to click on the guys' screennames in order to see their profiles) and asks you if you want to meet the person in the picture; you have to click on "Yes," No", or "Maybe". If you click on "Yes", then plentyoffish will let that person know that you want to meet him. So basically, you can base your decision on whether or not you want to meet someone solely on what he looks like in his pictures.

According to plentyoffish, dozens of men want to meet me. That's definitely flattering, but I don't want to meet them. Some of them are too young (22 or 23). Others live in different states, and I'd really prefer to meet someone who's a local. If I were to go on a date with someone who lived out of state, I'd feel obligated to spend a lot of time with him, because he traveled all that way to see me. But what if we didn't like each other? That would be several hours of awkwardness as opposed to just a casual coffee date with someone who lives in the city.

Although the "Meet Me" option does bug me because it bases dating decisions on physical appearance, and it REALLY bugs me that I keep seeing the line "I'm looking for someone who's in shape" again and again in guys' profiles, I have to admit that looks matter to me too. In fact, one thing I like about this site is that unlike the other dating sites I've been on, you have to put pictures of yourself in your profile in order to e-mail other people. When I looked at the pictures of the guys who wanted to meet me (though I read their profiles too), I couldn't help cringing at most of them. The fact that I'm apparently only attractive to guys that I'm not attracted to depressed me. Looks aren't the ONLY thing that matter to me. Personality, shared interests, and similar values are more important. But I have to be at least a LITTLE attracted to the person that I'm dating.

So far, then, I'm less than pleased with plentyoffish. I think I'm only going to stay on the site for a week or two, just to see if I can meet someone nice. If not, then I'll just cancel my membership, because I don't have time to maintain two online dating memberships at the same time.

Several of you have suggested that I write a book about my online dating experiences. That's a good idea. I've actually filled up more than one notebook with my descriptions of the dates I've been on, the guys I've communicated with, the weird profiles I've seen, and my observations of the differences among the dating sites. So I already have plenty of material. (I'm a little tempted to join sometime in the future, just so I can write about it.) As I said to one fellow blogger, my consolation prize from all of this is that even if I don't end up with the right guy, at least I could end up with a novel.

What about you? Why do you think that some guys don't write much about themselves (or anything at all) in their profiles? Do you think that an online dating site with no pictures at all (but with the requirement that the members write detailed descriptions of themselves) would work? I'm not sure I would join it, but I'd be interested in reading the profiles.

Monday, June 17, 2013

(Almost) Ready to Give Up

During my first year of graduate school, I developed a crush on a fellow graduate student. I thought he was kind, quiet, serious, smart, and a genuinely decent person. I talked to him about grad school and teaching, but I never told him that I liked him. Recently, I found out he got married.

I wasn't in love with him, but I have to admit that I did feel a little sad. Obviously, the fact that he's married to someone else is the ultimate proof that he isn't the one for me. But I couldn't help wondering what would have happened if I had invited him out for coffee years ago.

I've never been good at making the first move. It took me a long time to even get up enough courage to venture into the dating scene. When I first started dating, I just wanted to see who was out there and go out on dates. Now, several years later, I want more.

The other day I was walking down the street in my neighborhood and I saw a little boy sitting on his father's shoulders. His mother was walking alongside them, holding a baby. They were all laughing about something, and the little boy was singing. Family, I thought. That's what I want. 

But now I'm starting to worry that it'll never happen for me. I'm thirty-two years old, and even though I'm still young(ish), seeing the majority of my friends, acquaintances, and relatives who are my age or younger get married and have children makes me feel like I'm falling behind.

I thought that online dating would help me find someone special. After all, several people have met their spouses online. Everyone knows of at least one online dating success story. In fact, one of the guys that I dated on eharmony is now married to someone else that he met on that site. (I'm not really sad about that, since I didn't like him very much. I can't help feeling a little resentful that someone who was a total tool was able to find his future wife and I am still single. But then again, you don't have to be a nice person to get married. Every single bride on that TV show Bridezillas can attest to that.)

I've joined four different online dating sites. And what have I found? Hundreds of guys who only want to date women who are decades younger than them. Guys who write stuff like, "Don't message me if you aren't as thin as you look in your pictures" in their profiles. (I'm seriously not making that one up. I've seen that line several times.) Fake pictures in online dating profiles. (How do I know they're fake? The guys post pictures from ads that I've seen on the Internet, and others post pictures of famous actors, like Daniel Craig and Macaulay Culkin.) A guy who only posted two pictures of himself, and in both pictures, he was wearing a ski mask. (Incidentally, I made a joke on this blog about showing up for a first date in a ski mask. I didn't think anyone would actually post a picture of himself looking like a bank robber in his online dating profile, but I was wrong.)

There were also the disappearing acts. The dates that disappointed me, disgusted me, or freaked me out. The genuinely nice guys who liked me, but who I didn't feel anything for (though I wish I had felt something for at least one of them, who is the only one I regret pushing away.)

Now I'm on a second time, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I still haven't gone on any dates, even though it's been a month now. This has never happened to me in my previous online dating experiences; I was always able to get dates before.

In high school, everyone took a "matching" test for fun, and we were all given a list of other students in the school that we were most compatible with. The matches were based on percentages; that is, the test revealed whether we were one hundred percent compatible, sixty percent compatible, ten percent compatible, etc. Even though I had my own list of matches, they were all revealed to be less than fifty percent compatible with me. A "friend" said that meant I wasn't very compatible with anyone.

I know it was just a silly test that didn't really mean anything. But I can't help thinking that maybe the problem isn't the online dating sites or the guys. Maybe it's me.

When I was younger, I thought that I would meet the right guy at school, at work, at the gym, or at a party. I thought that maybe we would become friends first, and then it would eventually turn out to be something more. But now I'm starting to think that maybe there isn't someone out there for me. Maybe I'm not meant to get married or have a family. Maybe I'm supposed to do something else with my life.

It's not like anyone hasn't messaged or "winked" at me on, because there have been several guys. But I really DON'T want to date someone who's thirty years older than me or who is missing his front teeth or who wrote in his profile that he's "looking to have some fun" before he leaves the country in a few weeks.

If I stop trying to find someone, maybe the right guy will show up anyway one day. In the meantime, I could focus on the other things that make me happy, like writing, reading, dancing (in classes at my gym), teaching, and fantasizing that Satan's Siblings (also known as my neighbors) have moved away. I could spend more time reading books and articles for my dissertation, and I could finally prove myself as an academic.

But then I think about that grad student I had a crush on, and how I kept waiting and hoping that he would finally notice me as someone who was more than just a classmate. I kept waiting for the right time to tell him how I felt, and I lost my chance. I'm afraid that if I just wait rather than put myself out there, I'll end up losing again.

I've been thinking about joining, which is an online dating site I haven't tried before. In fact, one of the reasons I joined okcupid a few years ago was because wasn't working out for me (though I did get to go on dates with guys I met from

I also thought about joining one of the amateur sports leagues that a lot of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in Chicago join. But then it would mean I'd have to play sports (I'd also have to learn how to play sports), and I'm not sure the sight of me tripping over myself or running away from the ball, screaming, "Somebody ELSE catch it!" would be very attractive.

But on the other hand,  I don't know if I have it in me to keep searching forever. I don't want to still be joining online dating sites and going on first dates years and years from now. Eventually, I might just give up.

I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound self-pitying. But after all my failed attempts at finding love, it's hard not to feel discouraged. Not to mention I saw a sign that read "DIVORCED! RING FOR SALE", and it made me think that I'm not the only one who's less than optimistic about love.

What do you think? Do you think that there's a right person out there for everyone? Do you think it's better to actively look for the right person, or is it better to leave it to fate?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lost in Translation

As I've mentioned before, I've been a member of,, okcupid, and eharmony (though not all at the same time, of course). So I've looked at hundreds of profiles, which also means I've seen hundreds of pictures of shirtless guys in their bathrooms.

Although some guys put a lot of thought and effort into making their profiles sound informative, interesting, and thoughtful, a lot of guys put the same lines on their pages, which makes me feel like I'm reading the same profile again and again. (I wish I could send them "feedback" like "It's really not necessary to include your sixth-grade picture in your profile," and "You should put more than three lines in your summary, because your shirtless pictures don't really tell me much about you, except for the fact that you are very hairy.")

Here are some examples:

"I'm tired of the bar scene, which is why I signed up for this online dating membership."

What they could be saying: I really don't like going to bars anymore, unless someone else offers to buy the next round of drinks.

"I'm looking for a woman who's fit and leads an active lifestyle."

What they could be saying: I'm looking for a woman who's thin and works out a lot. The only things on her body that should be big are her chest and her booty.

"I'm looking for a serious relationship."

What they could be saying: My mother keeps asking me when I'm going to get married. (To which I say, "Me too! I think that every person over the age of thirty has a relative asking them when they're going to get married.")

What they could also be saying: On the other hand, if you bring up the topic of marriage before I bring it up, I will lose your phone number.

"I recently read [insert scholarly-sounding title here], which is now one of my favorite books."

What they could be saying: I really did read that book, but I also like to read magazines with pictures of women with big chests on the covers.

"I'm looking for a woman with a sense of humor."

What they could be saying: I'm looking for a woman who thinks my friends are funny, even when they start making fart jokes.

"I want someone who is independent."

What they could be saying: I want someone who doesn't expect me to pick up the check every time we go on a date.

"I want someone who leads an adventurous lifestyle and likes to spend time outdoors."

What they could be saying: I REALLY want someone who's thin.

On the other hand, some guys are a little too honest. On another dating site I was on, some guys actually specified that they didn't want to date anyone who was overweight; one guy wrote that he didn't want to date anyone who weighed more than 140 pounds. Another guy wrote, "If I pick you up and carry you, I hope you won't break my back!"

But here is one that I just saw on a few days ago:
I'm just on here for all you guys out there who are talking to [name redacted] that she is not telling the truth whatsoever. She just got out of a three and a half year relationship yesterday. She's a liar and if you go out with her you will find that out first hand. She does smoke and she never wants kids or marriage. She doesn't volunteer or go to wine tastings or work out 3 to 4 times a week or go hiking or yoga or volleyball. She is looking for nothing then going out on a date. How do I know this well let's just say I share a lease with her still.

It isn't easy to write a description of yourself or what you're looking for. And of course, I'm sure that women use cliches in their profiles too; I think I was guilty of using a few when I first joined an online dating site. This time I tried to make my profile sound like one of my blog posts, so that the guys who saw it would get a better sense of what I'm really like. But sometimes I think that they're only looking at my pictures, because several of the guys who have e-mailed me (rather than "winked") asked me questions that were already answered in my profile.

A guy recently started e-mailing me, and we've been messaging each other over the past few days. He said he's moving to Chicago next month, which means I won't get to meet him for a few weeks. I hope I do get to meet him, though, and I hope that he doesn't pull a disappearing act like the last guy. I'm starting to think that he will, though, because I haven't heard from him since Friday.

I also hope that I meet someone special soon, so that I don't have to look at any more pictures of shirtless guys in their bathrooms. You'd think that would actually be a pleasant experience. You'd THINK, right?

What about you? Even if you've never tried online dating before, do you think that most people are honest in their profiles?  Do you think it's better to conceal certain facts about yourself, at least at first, such as the fact that your biological clock is ticking louder and louder? (I may or may not be describing myself, though the fact that I'm 32 makes it kind of obvious.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Disappearing Act

Last week I mentioned that a guy I e-mailed on wrote back. He sent me two long e-mails, and it gave me hope that I'd eventually get to meet him in person. But after his second e-mail, I never heard from him again. What's even stranger is that he hasn't logged onto the site since he last e-mailed me.

I can't help wondering what happened. Did he meet someone else, either on or offline? Has he been so caught up with work that he hasn't had time to e-mail me back? (I find that one hard to believe, because even a workaholic like me has time to sit down for five minutes and write an e-mail.) Was he turned off by something I wrote in one of my e-mails? (I can't imagine why, because I simply answered his questions and wrote a little about myself.) Was he taken by his fellow aliens back to his home planet, otherwise know as Jerkopolis? I also can't help feeling tempted to track him down and write the words "I have mommy issues" in indelible ink on his forehead.

Another guy on also responded to my e-mail, but he disappeared after the second e-mail. This has happened to me repeatedly; it happened on eharmony, okcupid, and Guys will e-mail me a couple of times and then pull disappearing acts; one guy disappeared after sending me twelve e-mails! In fact, I have encountered more than thirty disappearing acts. I wish I could tell all of them to LEAVE ME ALONE. If they're not interested in meeting me, then they shouldn't have e-mailed me at all.

Why do guys do this? It puzzles and infuriates me at the same time. I think it was fellow blogger Talli Roland who told me that some of them are "browsing"; they're not ready to date anyone yet, but they want to see who's out there. Others might have girlfriends or wives (or both), but they're selfish enough to want more. Maybe they get some kind of sick ego boost in misleading lonely women like me. I think it was another blogger (I can't remember who) who told me that they're holding out for someone "better"; they think that a Victoria Secret model will finally give them the time of day. I'd like to tell them that the chances of that happening are about as likely as me joining the NFL. (I don't even know who played at the Superbowl this year, or any year for that matter.)

I'd also like to tell all the guys who post pictures of their dogs (not themselves with their dogs, but just their dogs) in their profile that unless they look exactly like their dogs, they should include more pictures of themselves. I'd also like to say that it's really not necessary for them to post pictures of their cars (not themselves with their cars, just the cars), because as long as their car isn't evil like the one in the Stephen King novel Christine, I don't really care what kind of car they have.

And I'd like to know why so many guys do not include any pictures of themselves in their profiles (this was an issue on every dating site I've been on, except okcupid). I'd like to ask them, "If I showed up for our first date wearing a ski mask, would you still want to date me? No. You'd think I was there to rob you. So then why do you think it's okay to conceal what you look like before we even meet?" (What's interesting is that more than 90% of them describe themselves as "athletic and toned", since you can choose a "body type" like "athletic and toned" or "about average" to describe yourself in your profile. As I've stated before, any guy who has a nice body is going to flaunt it in his profile; I know that for a fact, based on all the shirtless pictures I've seen in the other profiles and all the guys I've seen strutting around in muscle shirts at the gym.)

If I had a dollar for every time I saw the statement, "I like to go out on the town, but I also like to stay in and watch a movie," I'd have enough money for at least five new online dating memberships. I think it'd be more interesting if they said something like, "I never leave my house because the apocalypse will happen any day now," or "I don't spend much time at home because of all the spores" (though I wouldn't necessarily want to date them.)

I've gotten so discouraged that I've hardly e-mailed any guys this past week, though I did get several more "winks" from men in their forties and fifties (I didn't respond to any of them). I'm starting to worry that I won't get to go on any dates this time, which has never happened in my previous online dating experiences. Maybe I should join another online dating site. What do you think?

Why do you think guys pull disappearing acts and don't post pictures of themselves in their profiles? What are some of your pet peeves regarding online dating or dating in general?