Nine Years Later: An Untriumhpant Return To Online Dating
What the heck was I thinking?
I wasn’t thinking.
I decided to dabble in online dating, circa 2022.
Literally the last time I paid attention to online dating in any form was in September of 2012, when I went on my first date with my former roommate.
Not too long after that date, I retired from online dating, for what I thought was forever.
Turned out forever is about 9 years or so.
If you’re a reader of my previous stories, or a friend of mine, you should know that my long nine year nightmare ended a little over one month ago.
Won’t go into much detail about what happened since (presumably) you probably already read what I wrote in previous post.
If you didn’t, you should.
Anyway, while I really am not looking to jump into another long term relationship, since I consider myself “under construction,” I did have a curiosity about the state of online dating NINE YEARS after I last paid attention to it.
Perhaps a morbid curiosity?
After all, the whole “swiping phenomenon” happened after I stopped using it.
After I “thought” I had met the one. Emphasis on thought.
Anyway, I was curious.
If I met someone, cool.
If I didn’t, also cool.
In a word….
Now, look, online dating has ALWAYS sucked.
Like the worst possible necessary evil to meet someone in this day and age.
I used JDate back when I identified as being jewish way back in like 2000 or 2001 for fuck sake.
I’m sure the wayback machine or whatever it’s called has what the UI looked like 20 years ago.
I think it was even free, or reasonably priced for the time.
I met a few people, but clearly it never worked out, as…..I’m here writing this after all.
I dabbled in JDate, POF, even Match, which were the only games in town back then as far as I knew. Heck, even Craigs had a personals section back then, and I actually had a relationship with someone on there for three disastrous years of great sex and not so great fights.
By the time I had met my now former roommate (she hadn’t been my GF for years, so let’s be honest) I had limited myself to one site: OKCupid.
Back around 2010 or 2011, OKC wasn’t all that bad. As I recall (memory is a bit hazy) you were able to write quite a lengthy profile, change your username at will, and it was pretty much free. You messaged someone (either instant or email like) and they either responded or they didn’t.
Some did, lots didn’t.
You had to develop a thick skin, as anyone who has ever tried online dating knows.
Don’t take it personally. After all, isn’t the ratio of single men to single women always not in favor of women? Like twice as many single dudes as ladies on there? Something like that.
While I’m no “fox” as they used to say in my day, I had no problems talking to people and meeting people. I also had no problem canceling dates I simply did not want to go on.
Frequently, a night in with friends or my beloved cats always ended up being more appealing to me. I’m a homebody at heart.
When I felt that the game of dating was annoying me, I would take the profile down and take a break for a few weeks and then dive back in.
By the fall of 2012, the breaks were getting longer and longer. I was pushing 40 at the time and hadn’t met anyone of substance.
I had had enough, and was about to resign myself to being a single dude who has lots of friends and cats but never got married.
Until….I made the huge mistake (in hindsight) of answering HER profile, and going down that rabbit hole.
Oh if only wormholes existed for real and I could go back in time…..
Anyway, when I met now now former roommate, I thought I was done for good.
In the years of torture with that….narcissist, online dating evolved without me.
Apps replaced sites.
Swiping replaced the paragraphs long profile.
The tinder world of dating took hold, and it would seem match bought up all the major sites.
While my “relationship” went into it’s dramatic decline, I did remain grateful that I was out of that world.
Until, I wasn’t.
Skip to February of 2022.
Now one month had passed since I finally got out of what turned out to be an emotionally abusive relationship with a covert narcissist
I dumped her and kicked her out.
After a few weeks to get over the shell shock and a few good therapy sessions under my belt I thought….
What the hell.
Let’s try this and see what online is dating is like after nine long years away.
I did some research on which are the major players and decided to try them with extremely low expectations.
No premium profiles, just the free version of all of them.
I’m not cheap, but I am NOT paying for any of this crap. No way.
I literally copied and pasted a short essay, posted some decent pics, set my preferences, and off I went.
Here’s my take, one by one, of the apps I’m currently trying:
I set up a tinder profile. Tinder is AWFUL and reminds me of the old “missed connections” section that CL used to have. As in….all fake bots or links to porn sites. Its reputation as a hookup app is well deserved. not taking this one very seriously. Full of fakes and bots and links to porn sites.
A bumble profile. Apparently the woman is supposed to make the first move and write you back if you both connect. I don’t get the bumble connection but….it’s a dud, as least as far as I’m concerned.
A hinge profile. This one isn’t bad, and has a nice looking app. Actually chatting with a few people. Seems relatively bot free.
A coffee meets bagel profile. I used to be jewish, it should be coffee meets bialy. But I digress….this one has been a slow burn. I think I’m the coffee and they’re the bagels? You get a bunch of bagels to rifle through like you’re picking up actual bagels at the supermarket and see if you connect with any of them. I finally connected with someone, so….who knows. Also seems bot free, so far.
A happn profile. This one is strange. You’re supposed to see who you cross paths with depending on where you are in the world and connect that way. Strange concept, I get that in these days of dime a dozen apps you need to have SOME angle to stand out but this one is random and, for me, doesn’t have much traction. Unless every single person I might possibly be interested in happens to either live on my block, shops where I shop or works in my fabulous office building.
Plenty of fish, or POF as it’s called. This one is a holdover from the bad old pre-app days. It was awful then, and, amazingly enough, twice as awful now. Clunky UI that hasn’t been updated much from like 2004. Just full of fakes and bots and links to porn sites.
A facebook dating profile. This one I am most surprised by. Despite facebook’s awful rep, this one really isn’t that bad. First of all, it’s free, second, you can actually have a chat with people. You’re limited to a certain number of likes a day, but it’s pretty easy to connect with people. I’ve had chats with a bunch of people, only one bot so far, and actually even made plans to meet with one really nice woman. All in all, and I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but facebook dating is the most pleasant surprise and the platform which, to me, at my age, might just have the biggest potential.
Notice I didn’t mention cupid? No way in fucking hell would I go back there. Not a chance. It led me to the biggest waste of 10 years I do not have left. I would NEVER go back there.
So, mini-platform reviews aside, what is my take of online dating after nine years away?
The whole swiping/liking/not liking concept that has taken hold of all the apps/sites is just a bad concept. I honestly do not recall what cupid used to do, I think they let you save profiles as favorites? Honestly don’t remember. That being said, online dating, something already as impersonal and humiliating, has been RUINED by the whole swipe right/swipe left thing. It’s as mindless, and as thoughtless, as swiping through any social media feed. The Tik Tok concept has taken hold, and I think it’s made online dating a whole bunch worse than it was as recently as 10 years ago. The fact that most limit the about me essay to 500 characters or less, but allow 8–16 pics and memes is, to me, proof that it’s all about the photo and not the person. As a 48 year old who has been around the block a few times, this is an error in judgement.
They’re gotten EXPENSIVE! Sorry, but not paying a fucking penny for this shit. I get that they’re a business and have to make money, but I’d rather save the money I spend for the actual date, thank you very much. Another reason the facebook model works best. I’d give up a little whatever facebook is stealing from me these days for just the ability to speak to people.
The bots. Perhaps they were there 9 years ago, but they are in abundance now. Fake profiles, fake photos, fake fake fake. You can sniff them a mile away if you’re really paying attention. If the photos are too perfect, if they message you and are clearly out of your league of half your age in my case, they’re bots.
I mean, c’mon. A hot 27 year old wants nothing to do with this old man, especially since I’m not loaded.
The lost art of the conversation. VERY FEW people seem to remember how to actually hold a conversation. As I see it, if you like me, and I like back, you should…..I don’t know….talk right? Nope. I think any dating profile should include some ted talks or youtube videos reminding people how to have a conversation. It amazes me how simply chatting to get to know someone is such a lost art.
So, there you have it. My take of online dating in 2022, after a long 9 years away.
The thing is, it’s not something that is bothering me.
In fact, I find it amusing.
As opposed to 10 years ago, when my approaching 40th as a single male was REALLY bothering me, my now pushing 50 without being married no longer bothers me.
If I meet someone, great.
If I don’t, also great.
No rush, no pressure.
It is what it is.
A way to meet new people and to see what happens.
I have the benefit of experience, especially recent experience with….HER…to know precisely what I do not want and the ability to not be immune or oblivious to red flags.
Cats are better than people anyway.
FFS, if you know how to develop an app, message me.
There has to be a better way.