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Online Dating: The Grass is the Same on the Other Side

Disappointment with the free dating sites leads to anger at the pay sites.

Well, there hasn’t been much going on lately in the world of online dating, and this both relieves and frustrates me. The relief comes with the knowledge that the odds of me being approached for a booty call are slimmer. It seems like people with screen names such as “letsgetitin247” and “hangingoutmyboxers” (these are both 100 percent real names, and that fact alone depresses me) are starting to get the hint that I’m not on those sites for a quickie, and I don’t want to pick up whatever it is they’re putting down. I don’t understand it. I find it really sad that I’m one of the few that utilize a free dating site because it doesn’t cost anything. I’m not there for a one night stand, I don’t want to hear your slutty and demeaning opening liners, and I sure as hell don’t have the time to keep deflecting such approaches. This, my friends, is where the aforementioned “frustration” sets in.

I thought that the freebie sites were holding me back. I figured that if I went to a pay site, I would find more people who are looking for a relationship. People that aren’t going to harass me with sexual innuendos and inappropriate screen names. So I caved. I paid close to $40 for one month on a pay site to see if it made a difference. Not only did it not make a difference, it’s like I paid $40 for NOTHING. Every few days I receive a message saying that I have 15 new matches. The first time this happened, I went through each profile individually, sent a few well-thought-out messages and a wink here and there. Nothing came of them.

The next time I widened my own parameters, because I felt as though my paying for this site meant there was bound to be something good- that the fruitfulness would eventually make itself known. Three more sets of “15 matches!” and by this time I’m searching on my own. My first month is almost up, and I’m canceling it. I’ve sent out close to 100 emails, and a bazillion “winks”. It doesn’t make a difference. Not one person has emailed me back.

I got one person on my second day on the site that claimed he was interested. Well, the website sent me a message saying he was, so I can only assume that meant there was a wink, or he clicked on the “Yes I’m interested” as opposed to sending me a message. I sent him a few sentences introducing myself and got a one sentence response that just answered one of the questions I sent him. This irritates me. If YOU say you are interested in ME, and I close the gap and send out the floatation device of conversation starters, you better damn well grab on to it. I HATE having to force conversation. If I give you an opening with three questions about you, and a statement about something I have an interest in (for example), and you just respond with “yeah, I’ve lived here my whole life”…I don’t know what to do with you. *sigh* That’s it.

That’s the extent of my time on a large dating site. The commercials lie. Sure, your aunt, brother, high school teacher, or co-workers might all be on that site, but apparently they are all mute.

There’s my irritation. I don’t know what to do any more. Sure, the inappropriateness of the guys on the free sites were a depressing reminder of what I have to work with and what’s out there for me to peruse, but they were also fodder for my blog. Even those have slowed down. I had a friend recently volunteer to check out my profile and possibly rewrite it. I think that’s a good idea. I feel as though there’s a huge possibility I may be misrepresenting myself. I don’t know how, because if you don’t know how to sell yourself, then who does? It’s worth a shot.

The world is a tough, judgmental, and brutally discriminatory one. It’s hard enough getting through day-to-day tasks, but trying to meet someone seems even more challenging. Especially with technology. It makes it easier to “meet” people, but also easier to ignore them, stalk them, or be a creeper who is supremely inappropriate and disrespectful. I hope those of you who are doing the online dating game are able to navigate the extremely muddy and dangerous waters, because I feel as though I’m lost.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Barbra Watkins April 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Kristen - hope you don't give up, but the frustration definitely comes through. I've really enjoyed reading your blog (probably more than you've enjoyed experiencing the actual dating encounters!) It stuns me that there are guys who think they are going to pick up women with names like that (although it might stun me more to find out who is responding to them). Seems like the online world of dating definitely has some pitfalls. I have one friend who is now in a long-term relationship from an online relationship and another who tried it for 6 months and gave up in frustration. Don't give up though. Maybe you'll even figure out a better way to do this!
Michele Gonzalez April 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Thanks for this article. I've had the same experience with the free sites and thought I would try the paid one. I'm glad I didn't do it yet. It seems to be a complete waste of money.
Kristen Braun April 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Hi Barbra! Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it :) It's not that I'm giving up so much as I don't think that I'll be paying to try and meet someone. It's been quite disheartening to find that I've spent the money to try it out the "right" way, or where I convinced myself all the good guys were hiding, but alas that was not the case. I'm trying to skirt the pitfalls, but something new always seems to spring up! I'm still going to see what's out there, because it never hurts to try :) Stay tuned, I hope to have a positive entry soon *fingers crossed*
Kristen Braun April 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Hi Michele! I'm sorry to hear you're having the same experiences with the free sites. Though quite entertaining, it can be hard on the ego/sanity to get the same stuff all the time. I hope that you are able to find a way to online date that works well for you- I'm not discounting the pay-sites, I just don't think they were aimed towards people like me. I don't think it's a waste of time if you are a good looking woman, who is "active and likes to travel and go on adventures"...that seems to be the redundant qualification of every male on Match.com. Being an overweight woman, I'm almost 100% positive my weight was what was standing in the way of ANY response from the men. If you feel like taking a chance and seeing what's out there, you can always sign up for one month (I think it was $34), and then cancel before your next due date. I cancelled a week before my 1 month subscription was up, and I'm still paid thru next week. They said "We're sorry to see you go! How about 3 months for the price of one?" and I deleted that email. It was a waste of time for me, but if you do decide to try it out- I wish you the best of luck :) Thanks for reading and the comment, I really appreciate it!
John McKay (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
It's interesting how the whole online dating world (and social networking in general) works. In many cases, you already know if you have something in common with the other person based on what they list under favorite music, movies and hobbies. But then there's the whole image issue. Some people will be drawn to someone just because of what they see in the photo, while others can be ignored. It seems there's two sides to the coin. Some of my best friends probably wouldn't have given me the time of day if we just met in a normal setting, but instantly knowing you have something in common because of Facebook (or MySpace/LiveJournal back in the day) certainly helps. It's a blessing and a curse, I suppose.
Amy April 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Hi Kristin..... I was on numerous sites at one point....and finally did find someone who I now have been with for a year. It was a very long haul. I am a 57 year old woman who has been through a lot in life and it's ok because that is how we grow and learn. If I may give a few pointers....first and foremost the site that everyone pays for that is advertised all over? Yes MATCH! There are more predators scammers and con artists on there than the free sites. I had one ask me for money he was foreign and put up pics from a modeling site....seriously? I met one that was an ex-con even! Very scarey out there! So ladies and gents whenever you meet someone from a dating site? Get their full name and google them! Don't allow yourself to get taken in by a creeper.....Fortunately for me I knew someone who was able to help me with info on the ex-con....he was a liar from the first hello. And by all means don't let anyone know where you live until you have been on a number of dates. Have a friend call you once you have met your date not just to check on you but you can bail at that time if he's a creeper! And NEVER go to their residence.....way scarey! If they live far? They need to come to your area ..... I wish everyone the best of luck in the world of online dating....be careful, alert and watch out for yourself. =)
Kim April 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Hi Kristen, I just read your blog post. It is exactly the problems that you and many others complain about that led me to create the dating accessory... I simple and quick way to make a connection. Check it out...www.datingaccessory.com. I really feel that there are major problems with online dating or simply going up to someone and saying "hello"...that is why "You Caught My Eye" dating card helps to bridge that gap.. .best of luck ...take care, Kim
Kristen Braun April 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Hi John :) You're absolutely right! I don't think it's even worth it to have profiles anyway, because they don't matter. Honestly. I would read through multiple people's profiles, and I would fit the bill for a few of them, and I won't get a response. I think it's that a lot of people aren't willing to admit how shallow they are, or they want to come off as being on their high horse, when in reality they're just as judgmental as the rest of us. I may do an experiment and see what kind of responses I get if I just let someone else write a generic profile for me. Thanks for the comment!
Kristen Braun April 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Hi Amy! Thank you for reading, and thanks for the comment! You make a lot of valid points, as the online dating world is not for the naive. I started out that way, and made a few mistakes, but it's not worth compromising your safety. I'm 100% dedicated to my "let's go meet for coffee" routine (if I had anyone worthy of sitting down to coffee with). Thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom, and congratulations on finding one of the good ones!
Kristen Braun April 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Hi Kim, I was checking out your site and you have a lot of great information on there! That's a really interesting way to try and bridge the gap between secure privacy and the online dating world. It seems very easy and pressure-free :) Thank you for taking the time to read, I appreciate it. Hopefully I'll beome less jaded with the whole dating scene soon, and perhaps I'll try out your cards!
John McKay (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I think it would be an interesting social experiment to have identical profiles but different photos and see how people react.
Kristen Braun April 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
...hmmmm...interesting proposal John. I think that it would be quite different the reaction/response I would get using a different picture. Though I think the difference would take my self esteem down a few notches, possibly result in a few Ben & Jerry's nightcaps. I may look into this though.
T W. April 18, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Hi Kristen, I'm glad I stumbled upon your article to know this happens to women as well. I have spent considerable time on many of the sites (free and pay), and have had a string of disappointing first dates. It still surprises me that someone would put the time and energy into maintaining an online dating account, and not engage. I spent a weekend sending over 100 emails and countless winks, I received a single response. Unfortunately even the lone response was from a spam commercial external site. I'm not completely sold on dating sites, even as I'm a 30-something male. I think that the initial awkward face-to-face meeting is in danger of being lost to the ages. One thing I've found helpful is to completely quash my Google footprint. It's helpful when your first date knows nothing about you, save for what you have told them.
krdunnam April 21, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Hey Kristen (and readers) -- The only dating site I've had any success with is plentyoffish dot com. It used to be completely free (made money off on-site ads) and only recently modified to offer paid subscriptions. I guess the differences are: it's free to contact someone, the forums are interesting to read, and various local members host get-togethers which are listed on the site. Continued thanks for your war stories!
Kristen Braun April 23, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Hi TW, thank you for the comment and reading the blog :) Of course this happens to women! It's a rough world out there, and there's no group on the dating sites that's not hit with the same insanity. We're all going to be burdened with the same problems: no contact (even though we're sending out what feels like millions of lures), the contact that we DO get isn't what we're searching for. In my case, it's booty-calls. It's a battlefield out there, and I, for one, was not prepared. Though my arsenal contains wit and the strength to endure, I feel like I'm outnumbered. Best of luck to you on the sites!
Kristen Braun April 23, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Hello, and thank you SO much for the comment! I am currently on the Fish, and I've got to tell you, that's where the crazies have been coming from. OK Cupid has the booty calls, Fish has the crazies, and Match had nothing to offer me. Granted, it's excellent fodder for the blog, but it's hell on the self esteem. I'm glad you're having success! Gives me something to hope for LOL! I'm not too sure about sticking with the online sites though, to tell you the truth. I may just be pulling all the profiles and try to meet someone organically. We'll see :) THANKS FOR READING!

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