Foreplay: I'm convinced online dating is suited for: weirdos, pedos, perverts, hermits, freaks, losers, emotional train wrecks, and the occasional attention whore with self-esteem issues.
Sure, there are perfectly decent people out there in cyberland (just like there are perfectly decent people in prison) who simply don't have time to date in the real world but c'mon! Like I commented to my brother on the practice of matchmaking in China: If you can't find a mate in a country with 1.3 billion people, you've got problems, man.
I had met my last two serious boyfriends spontaneously and severely -- the sort of encounter where you just knew that you were meant to know this person in one way or another. In addition, I have great anecdotes to share about the respective original exchanges: I pushed one former flame in front of an oncoming bus but pulled him back to safety in the nick of time; I accidentally grabbed the other's man parts within hours of our initial handshake when he was still a minor at 17 (don't call Chris Hansen just yet; he became legal 5 days later and I was exactly one year older).
I wouldn't trade those memories for all the Warcraft experience points in the whole world wide web. Although I would never label myself a romantic, I'm a firm believer that chemistry is important and if you don't feel butterflies the first time 'round they're not going to come out of left field.
Laden with stories like that, I simply don't do online dating.
The Down and Dirty: So then why the hell did I decide to join an online dating site?! The short answer: Because I'm a glutton for pain.
The long answer: Because I read an article last month about a popular online dating website that had expelled members for holiday weight gain. BeautifulPeople.com is an exclusive community where members of the opposite gender vote whether or not candidates are "beautiful" enough to join the site based on their photos.
The masochist in me was practically writhing for a proper thrashing. I just couldn't not do it. It's like trying to drunkenly break into a zoo -- you know you're in for a world of pain but damn it'd be a blast if you could just make it past the tigers!
I established a profile and uploaded a nice albeit boring photo of myself. Yes, my lips curl skyward but Tyra would chastise me for not smiling with my eyes. I chalk it up to my lack of photogenicness (...that's not a word, is it?). Personally, I prefer quirky pictures of myself, ya know the ones where I'm making faces next to a bust of Bill Cosby or posing romantically with a Harlan's ground sloth.
Then I waited for the 48 grueling rating hours. It was absolutely torturous. Keeping my mind occupied wasn't working as I must have checked on my ratings every few hours. I'm a total coward when it comes to rejection but my crippling case of train wreck syndrome kept me coming back for more. I tried not to take it personally but dayum -- the internet is some serious butthurt business.
But lo and behold...
BeautifulPeople Network is pleased to inform you that the majority of members on BeautifulPeople.com found your application very attractive and granted you membership. Welcome to the BeautifulPeople community!
Well, great! I've been deemed not ugly enough by random dudes from all over the world that joined a site catered to narcissists who feed off approval from the opposite sex. Greeeaaaat.... After all the hoopla I might as well peruse the joint, right? I browsed the profiles on the site as one would poke around a dark, exclusive night club.
Hmm... didn't know receding hairlines were so common. Are ab shots a prerequisite? Wow, those are some bad nose jobs. Oh, well that's an interesting -- DEAR GOD! I guess they don't take their domain name that seriously after all...
The Afterglow: The concept of BeautifulPeople is one big circle jerk. A kinda-sorta-ish pretty one, but a circle jerk nonetheless. So far it's much less offensive than other dating sites but then again I have nothing of which to base it. Most of the comments are about how "nice" or "cute" another member's picture is. Their info sections are rarely referenced in emoticon-charged comments. And some random dude -- who I'm almost positive misspelled his own name -- just "kissed" me. I'll be damned if I know what that's supposed to entail.
This simply cannot be the future of dating. Feeling a warm, tingly sensation in your nether regions when you click on a profile picture does not equate to chemistry. An online profile is an overwrought, hyper-real representation. What good is a false sense of superficial utopia?
Why not log off, go out, and find something real? Yeah, it may be demanding but that's what life and love are -- hard. Life isn't effortless and if it is, then you're not living it.
Also, do you really want to one day relay a budding relationship in terms of, "Oh, it's a funny story! We both rated each other 9.5! Can you believe it? It was totally meant to be!"?