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Dating Update: Looking Back
Saturday, 2005 September 3 - 11:55 pm
Now that I'm out of "dating mode", I want to look back on the last six months.

First, I want to say I'm very pleased that I was able to perform a public service to the online dating community. Thousands of people have read my articles about apparently-fraudulent dating web sites. This includes my posts on "finduslove" (a.k.a "heartdetectives", a.k.a "seekhotdates", a.k.a "meetfunsingles") as well as the heavily advertised "It's Just Lunch".

With that out of the way, I want to talk about the last six months I spent on the online dating service that rhymes with Latch Lot Guam.

I still believe that online dating, though somewhat weird and artificial, really isn't a bad way to meet someone. It's not necessarily better than meeting someone in a bar or at a party, but it's not necessarily worse either. The somewhat inscrutable nature of online courtship is offset by the sheer volume of people to whom you can introduce yourself. Maybe you're ten times less likely to find a match via an on-line date, but if you meet ten times more people, the odds balance out. And then for me, I feel like I'm a hundred times better at making a first impression via email, than I am when approaching someone at random in a bar.

In six months of online dating, I read about 1200 profiles of "mutual matches". Of those, I immediately discarded about 700. (If you're a paid subscriber, you can "remove" people so they don't show up in your searches.) I initiated contact with about thirty women, and nine women initiated contact with me. I had extended email conversations with twelve women. I had dates with six of them.

Only the last one turned into anything meaningful. One, out of 1200. These are the kinds of odds that I was up against. But I knew that, going into it. I've been dating online for a long time, and those numbers seem pretty typical. If you watch a TV show about online dating and then assume you'll find your soulmate after just a handful of emails, dream on. It takes work, perseverance, and a dating service with an assload of members.

I'm a bit saddened about the lack of honesty in on-line ads. Many men lie about their height and marital status, and many women lie about their weight and age... and this seems to be an accepted practice. Sigh. Me, my philosophy is that I might as well be honest from the get-go... lies are much worse if you get caught in them later. (Oh, by the way, I do want to mention that Latch Lot Guam requires you to list your height precisely, but it doesn't even have a place to list your weight. It strikes me as just a bit hypocritical that it's considered acceptable to use inches in your selection criteria, but not pounds. Who do you suppose is responsible for this?)

I'm also saddened at the lack of originality and effort in some ads. I think there are a lot of fantastic people out there who simply don't know how to express themselves properly. I'd help them if I could... but oddly enough, most people do not react well to getting an email out of the blue, saying "YOUR ONLINE PROFILE SUCKS ASS". So I keep my mouth shut (even though the phrase "I like to laugh and have fun" is used WAAAAY too often).

I feel lucky that, for now at least, I'm out of the online dating world. I'm off the circuit. But I feel like I owe something back to the online dating community... and perhaps the best thing I can offer is advice. Anyone got any questions? Need tips on improving your online dating profile? Need to come up with something clever to say for your first email to someone? Need better photos? I can help. But the effort has to start with you.
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Posted by Ken in: datinglife

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