Monday, February 25, 2013

Online Dating

So many people have a negative attitude towards online dating and it astounds me. There's an impression that it means you're desperate, or can't find a date the "normal" way.

I remember when I came out to my Mum as polyamorous over a year ago. She was initially shocked, of course, and I was telling her about my boyfriend at the time, Mr Oldman. She asked me a couple of cursory questions about him and when she asked how we met I said on an online dating site. I could tell from her reaction that she was horrified! (Perhaps even moreso than she was about polyamory itself).

But what is the "normal" way to find new sweeties? Here is my very scientific list detailing how I've met each of my sweeties:

  1. Mr First (51 weeks) - A long and rather cute story, but it ultimately results in me having met him through an acquaintance I met in class at uni. 
  2. Mr Wrong (5 years, ongoing) - Met at a mutual friend's birthday party
  3. Mr Oldman (8 months) - Online dating site
  4. Mr Wonderful (8 months) - Convoluted, but here goes: I was looking for a roleplaying group and found contact details for one online, that guy referred me to Mr Wonderful, who I had coincidentally seen at Roller Derby training earlier that month
  5. Mr Steak (1 month, ongoing) - Online dating site

So it looks like we've got 40% online dating, 40% meeting through friends, and 20% hobbies. Anecdotal experience is, of course, a terrible source for information, so I found some stats on snopes that was taken from a Harris Interactive Survey.

Turns out, 32% of couples meet through work or school, 30% through other people (friends/family/blind dates), 25% met in a public place (e.g. bar/coffee shop/neighbourhood) , and 6% met online (dating site/chat room).

The thought of meeting someone in a bar of coffee shop is really weird to me - probably as weird as online dating is to most. I imagine going to a bar specifically to find and pick up a sweetie, which would be out of character for me since I don't drink very often at all. Worse still, if you did, you barely have anything to go on about your potential date than whether you have chemistry and how they look and carry themselves in a social situation.

When online dating, I know if someone likes dogs or cats, smoker/non-smoker, how much they drink, if they do hard drugs, if they're into crystal healing, what they do for a living, how well they can communicate in the written word, and of course whether they're open to polyamorous relationships. Someone said that this takes the mystery out of the relationship, or the fun of finding out new things, but I disagree. Despite having a vast knowledge of Mr Steak's character thanks to his online dating profile, I still get to find out all sorts of things from meeting him in person. (e.g. he is fun to watch Survivor with, and he also dislikes Lord of the Rings!). It's just a lot of the initial screening process is taken care of for you. And I like that.


  1. It's interesting that you've posted this literally days after I deleted my own online dating account. Firstly, I guess I don't use it anymore, but something bothered me about the way your new boy recognised me from my online dating profile. It bothered me that we had never met before, but that he knew a whole bunch of things about me. Nothing secret, but still, they were things he knew that I'd never told him. Now, the weirdest part is, if you'd been like 'oh yeah, this is my friend Bec, remember I told you she studies such and such' that wouldn't have bothered me in the same way. he still would have had the same knowledge, but the way he acquired it makes me uncomfortable. Now don't take this the wrong way, I think he's a great guy and I'm not uncomfortable with this anymore, and honestly it's not really about him, it's just the concept of it. What if a person on the street who had seen me on an online dating site, who I had no interest in, recognised me and started talking to me, or harassing me. I realise that this is only really a possibility because we live in a small city but it was a kinda scary thought. A lot of guys (the ones who just post abs-mirror shots) don't even read your profile, and just look at your photo. They always assume you are single and interested, I could imagine a really awkward/difficult situation running into them on the streets, and they don't even have the original issue of personal knowledge.

    I realise this is all kinda worst case scenario, but I had a twingey momentary feel of uncomfortable and I just thought I'd share

    1. Haha, you reminded me that I actually ran into a guy I was hitting on on OKCupid at a mutual friend's party (Perth'd, amirite?), and it was kind of awkward and it was a little embarrassing.

      But yeah, Mr Steak felt really awful that he'd made you uncomfortable. Like I told you, he's got an incredibly good memory and it comes across as creepy. He recognised the wig on the dinosaur in our entryway as being the one from your profile. It's absolutely amazing to me how he remembers all this minutiae.

      For the record, I did tell him a few things about "my friend Bec", and as I was doing so he goes "Is she [USERNAME] on [DATING SITE]?", which creeped me out a little, haha...

      He also recognised my friend Pasan from one of my pictures on the site, and even commented on the fact he was wearing the same pair of shoes. I don't even...