I uhhh… well, I joined okcupid. I’ve been debating whether or not to blog about this for the past two weeks due to fear of judgement, and have since decided that my fear is completely unfounded. Also, there is too much good stuff to not share. Over Christmas break I was empathizing with a dear friend who is also new to a big-ish city and talking about how hard it is to meet people, the usual. She said it was difficult at first, but then she joined okcupid and met tons of cool cats.
First reaction – Oh my gosh. Online dating, really? Isn’t that for women in their late thirties who have suddenly realized they want babies? And for serial killers? And sad divorcees? And socially awkward people? She is so much better than that. Why?
Well, because it is not just for biologically aware women, killers, divorcees, and those lacking normal social graces – it is for everyone! Everyone looking for anyone! It’s like a humongous online grocery store where you can simply plug in your preferred produce and out come endless recipe options, and the opportunity to pick up your ready-made meal at the dive bar around the corner. Except exchange the produce for characteristics and the recipes for humans. This may be a bit of an exaggeration. Sometimes your meal has all the right ingredients but tastes awful, or needs a ton of salt, and it might leave you frustrated and wanting to start from scratch. Nevertheless, I realized that online dating sites can be useful, and that plenty of normal people use them just to meet folks with similar interests. Which is what I decided to do.
I made a profile, scribbled a few paragraphs about myself, and set my “looking for” to “new friends” (FRIENDS), so as to avoid any awkwardly forward and undesirable date proposals. And, whoah. The results were overwhelming. I don’t know how many messages I got in the first week, but it felt like hundreds. A lot of them were boring, generic, possibly mass-messaged; but a lot of them were interesting and inquisitive, well thought-out, and glistening with good intentions. It was exciting! I could meet/talk to more people in one day than I had for the past five months in Philadelphia. I began responding to messages, started several meaningful conversations, and answered lots of questions about myself (this is how the site calculates your propensity to get along with other users). After the newness of it all wore off, the endless back-and-forth online messaging started to feel kind of pathetic. It was like I was in middle school again, chatting on IM, and trying to make my xanga look cool. To the first couple of people that suggested we meet up in person I was like, Whoah now, hold it right there, are you a murderer? But then I realized that this whole thing was just silly if I never actually met anyone. There is so much discourse right now about how the advancement of technology and social media is a detriment to our social selves. Sure, it’s a problem when every single person in line at the cafe is staring silently at their cell phones, refusing to interact in the real world, but I think maybe you just have to learn how to use these things correctly. It’s not about hiding behind your computer on a Friday night – it’s about finding ways to connect and putting yourself out there.
So that’s the whole story right now. I’ve met two people in person thus far – both seemed relatively normal (only time will tell). And one of them I’m going to a concert with tonight!