Mingling online: Dating site scares away columnist

Advertisements may attempt to convince you that love can be found in a matter of five minutes by skimming an online dating site, but that’s just poppycock. Call me cynical, but my perception of online dating sites is slightly negative, especially since 99 percent of someone’s immediate interest in you is based on your profile picture. It’s all about judging people by their cover photos.

Since I love my readers (whoever you are), I decided to subject myself to what ended up being a semi-frightful experience. I signed up for an online dating site. My intention was to make keen observations as I surfed the interweb full of single (one should hope) adults looking for their “soul mate” in a somewhat unconventional way.

Since I’m a Christian, and since I like to mingle, it only seemed logical to choose ChristianMingle.com as my platform of study.

I started this experiment by filing it under investigative journalism. I imagined my martyrdom as the wolves began to prey on my virtual presence.

It was uncomfortable.

After a week, I deleted my profile. I was sick of my Gmail account getting bogged down by notifications informing me that mysterious men had sent me virtual smiles. The image of the “smile” looked like an emoticon from 1997 – clipart, in fact – which is enough to turn anyone off. Is it just me, or do outdated websites seem really shady?

It’s likely this dating site had a much creepier persona than its more popular relatives, eHarmony and Match.com. Perhaps these sister sites don’t utilize antiquitous smileys as a means of stating one’s interest in another member.

In the last year, 17 percent of marriages performed can thank online dating sites for introducing them to their current spousal bliss, according to statisticbrain.com. Seventy-one percent of people believe in love at first sight, or, perhaps, first site (mind the pun).

Out of the 54 million single people living in the U.S., 40 million of them have tried dating sites, so why do some still feel like they’ve failed in life by resorting to online measures, and why do I feel the need to expose how terrible one of these sites was during my week-long experiment?

Maybe it’s because it was slightly traumatizing. Maybe it’s because I failed to let these successful statistics settle into my brain. Maybe it’s because I went into it as a social experiment and didn’t intend on meeting anyone in the first place. Or, maybe I’m just a jerk.  

I started getting private messages sent to me, but thanks to how money rules the world, I couldn’t view these messages unless I paid a monthly membership fee. I’m sorry, HaggisLover1987, my cheapness overruled my curiosity. It was probably just a “Hey wuts up?” anyway.  

Read my next column on the do’s and don’ts of online dating profiles, based on my “extensive” observations during this week-long social experiment. 


Also published in the Valley City Times-Record.


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