Love in Cyberspace

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend everyone. My first love gave me my gift early this year—a week-long stay at the Ritz at a ridiculously low (2-star!) rate while my apartment is being renovated. Yipee! I could really get used to this life. But that’s not what this blog is about. About a week ago, I got it in my head that I was going to do something for ONE WEEK that I really don’t want to do. I have no idea why—clearly I have too much time on my hands. But I figured if nothing else, it would be good fodder for my next blog. So I posted a note to Facebook; asking my friends for ideas about what I should try doing for a week. I received a variety of great suggestions—and they all fit the bill because I didn’t want to do any of them. Here are some samples:

  1. Don’t touch my laptop or phone after 7pm
  2. Eat seafood every day
  3. Try online dating
  4. Eat vegetarian
  5. Try cutting sugar and dairy out of my diet

#1 is just ridiculous. In the world of text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, work email, hotmail blabla…there is no way I could separate from my communication devices from 7pm-6am. I’ll admit that revelation is a tad bit sad, so I look forward to trying that another week after I get a life. The others sounded interesting too, but “online dating” stuck out like the best option because my sister and friends have been actively encouraging me to do it for a while. I’ve been dragging my feet for a long time, claiming “that just isn’t how it’s done”, but I’ve been running out of excuses. For example, I told my friend that I don’t want to go join forced dating clubs, be “set up” or go to bars to meet guys—I just want God to (if I’m supposed to be dating at all) just come up with a way for guys to show up at my front door for me to meet. My friend quickly pointed out that He did in fact do that—online dating allows me to sit in the privacy of my home in my yoga pants, while browsing all of the bachelors that show up in my inbox. I still had no interest in it because the idea of online dating creeps me out, but I decided that THIS would be the perfect thing (that I really don’t want to do) to try for one week and one week only.

One word to sum up the experience: FASCINATING. I laughed so much in the last week—there are some real characters out there, and it is really interesting to see how people present themselves and engage with each other. For anyone interested in trying online dating (or anyone who enjoys a good laugh), here is what I learned during the short time period when I tested it out:

THE FORUM MATTERS: I signed up for both Christian Café and E-Harmony. I chose CC because it was for Christians and EH because of all of those commercials about “matched on 70 aspects of compatibility blabla”. EH’s “free” offer didn’t really feel useful because of limitations, so I felt obligated to “upgrade” for $135 to the 3-month package. That sort of annoyed me but I was thinking it would be funny to someday put my arm around my husband and tell my friends “being introduced to him = best 135 bucks I’ve ever spent”. EH does do an analysis based on personality types, but my perception was is that it is all at the surface level, so I didn’t like it. Also, you can’t search for people—you only can see who they decide you are a match with. I may also be a little bitter because for the first 24 hours, the system kept saying “we are unable to find a match for you—keep checking back”. I kept thinking oh thanks—I paid 135 bucks to be told I’m unmatchable. Sweet. I am not trying to knock EH’s model—a lot of people seem to like it and thousands have gotten married. It just wasn’t for me. I liked CC much better because they ask important open-ended questions, so it offers opportunity to find out a lot about someone before any conversation starts. Also, on CC the guys seem to better understand the “I’m not going to initiate e-mail with you because I’m the girl. If you are interested, pursue me” concept. So, I think anyone “going online” should first do their homework to find the platform they are most comfortable with.

HELLO PEOPLE—PAY ATTENTION!!!: Christian Café has a feature where you can send someone a “wink”.  At the very bottom of my profile, I explicitly said “I believe a woman should be pursued, so please send me a message if you want to talk. I don’t respond to winks”.  I am blown away by how many people STILL sent me winks. Translation=they didn’t read my profile. Conclusion=they aren’t really interested in getting to know me. DELETE.

Also, I made my age range clear—30-40. You see, my “Tom Cruise” (don’t over-think the use of that particular celebs name—that is just how I refer to my dream guy, love of my life, etc) is within that range, so that is the only acceptable range for me. But I received many emails from men in their late 40s, 50s and even 60s who disregarded my wishes. What’s up with that? DELETE.

CHARACTER IS EASY TO SPOT: Sure, people can lie in their profiles, but for the most part it is easy to tell (by how someone answers their profile) where they are in life, what they stand for and how they would really treat you. I find that if you read slowly, most profiles will in fact stand out (in a good way or a bad way). One guy said in his profile that he wants a woman who cooks, dresses nice and has “some sort of relationship with God”. That made it easy to discern that he was not a match for me or any of the lovely ladies who travel in the Lucia circle—it’s all about Jesus—and first (but I know you’re all nodding thinking “we know Amy—you remind us in every blog” so I’ll leave it at that :-)) One of my favorites (in a bad way) was the guy that used the word “I” in almost every sentence of his profile and said that he really didn’t want an ambitious woman because there is only room for one ambitious person. That same person then repeatedly sent me messages trying to get my attention. He finally wrote me and said “So? Can we chat? I have all day but I don’t have all month.” DELETE.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS?  By day 3, I adopted the theory that in “business” I would do a competitive analysis, so why not here? I’m relatively confident that this doesn’t actually apply in the dating world (and is likely quite inappropriate)—but I desperately am looking for a way to justify the fact that I succumbed to the temptation to see what fascinating women in my age range were also trying their hand at online dating. The result? First, lots of lovely ladies of character are looking for love. So I prayed for all of them that day. Second, they can see who views their profile (oops!) so I probably should not do that again.

DON’T BE WHACKY:  Funny that I wrote that header just after my comment above. Anyway, I logged in on Wednesday to see subject line “I love you” from a new café member.  I laughed out loud, realizing that this would definitely be an entertaining email. The body of the email included a paragraph with all reasons why he loved me “I love your profile, I love your picture, I love your character, I love…..” Imagine 10 sentences about his love for me. I laughed so hard. Does that actually work for him? Maybe it will someday—like my dad says “there is a lid for every pot.” DELETE.

CONSULT OTHERS: I consulted a single guy friend I’ve known for many years to ensure I was accurately representing my personality and physical traits. That conversation made me laugh:

  • Me: Which drop-down do you think accurately describes my body type? I know I’m not toned/athletic, but am I slender or average? What is average? (here comes “work mode”) This thing needs a “key” so everyone can be reviewing these profiles with consistency against a more objective set of criteria. And they don’t have a drop-down for “A-Lo”.
  • Friend: No way am I going there! Figure it out yourself.

DON’T BE CHEESY: “I hope this day is as beautiful as you are <EOM>.” Really? DELETE. And pick a neutral profile name. You might actually be a great guy, but calling yourself “BIGDADDYxxx” might not be the best way to get someone to click.

DC—SERIOUSLY?: Everywhere I go in DC, people are talking about politics—is it really necessary that “political views” is the first question asked in DC online dating too? Apparently so.

FALSE ADVERTISING=NO BUENO: Conversation with my brother-in-law after he read my profile:

  • Jeff: “You look really pale too. You look like you have a vitamin D deficiency from living in Seattle for 10 years. Get a tan.”
  • Me: “But I DO still have a vitamin D deficiency from SEA. LOL. And it’s winter in DC. I don’t see a beach anywhere around me. What do you suggest I do?”

Well…it turns out there was something to Jeff’s (at the time seemingly superficial) perspective. In speaking  with numerous people this week (at work, friends, etc) about their online dating experiences, many had stories of meeting someone in person who looked nothing like their profile picture (not to say looks are the only thing that matters, but when it comes to anything involving deception, I think most people are opposed). And it appears that the WOMEN are the worst offenders. I just don’t understand what the motivation is—why would you want to be dishonest? Why would you want to false advertise? I gave up on that idea 14 years ago when I threw out the wonderbra. My theory=just be you and let the chips fall where they may.  

So why did I call my blog “love in cyberspace” if I’m poking fun at the experience? Because 1.) it’s Valentines’ Day Weekend and it seemed like a suitable title and 2.) because there actually are a lot of high-quality people that are searching online. Match.com says that 1 in 5 relationships today start online which I find fascinating—I can see why it is a good method in today’s society. Almost every person I surveyed this week knows someone who knows someone who met their spouse online. And I really respect the people that are brave enough to do it. It’s just more fun to talk about the things I found silly about the experience because after all, this is my blog. But the data shows that love definitely IS in the air right now for someone out there as a result of their online experience, and I think that’s totally cool. As for me, my 7 days are almost up, so I’ll be signing off soon, while remaining hopeful about the idea of “my Tom Cruise” in His perfect timing.

Advertisements

~ by amylucia on February 13, 2011.

One Response to “Love in Cyberspace”

  1. 2 comments:

    1. give it more than 7 days sister!
    2. our brother-in-law is harsh!

    love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: