My last gf and I broke up last September, and I spent a number of months drawing lessons from the practice, learning from mistakes and thinking deeply about the type of person with whom I might have a successful relationship. Also, I discovered Game Of Thrones and, well, let’s just say that finding lifelong companionship does not in terms of interest compare to the doings in Westeros. Dragons? Revolts? Beheadings? Nekkid HBO lovemaking? The hell with love. You killed Eddard Stark, you bastards! And Robb Stark! And Catelyn Stark! Hell, if your name is Stark on that demonstrate, you’re very likely toast. Maybe even if you’re named something close, Stork or Stack, e.g.
Eventually I began dating again, mostly meeting potential sugarboogers online, and I found myself debating which dating site to go with. The weird HTML Trio one? The Krazy Kristian One? The one where I met the woman with histrionic personality disorder who broke my heart? (Yes! That one! Because I’m deeply stupid.) And as I considered, it occurred to me that you, my many readers (okay, twelve) (eleven if Harry’s still got that case of hysterical blindness), might benefit from my practice with these sites. So, herewith, my deeply individual — by which I mean, as always, super-cranky — take on dating sites. Reminisce: your practice may differ, however only if you look a lot like Jon Hamm, in which case, why are you on an online dating site? You’re married to Megan, you idiot! And you were sleeping with Lindsay Weir. Jeez, leave a woman somewhere for the rest of us, Draper. I may not understand television.
PlentyOfFish: Slew Of Fish is a wonderful dating site, if you hope to date fish. If you’re shooting for a fucking partner a bit higher up the evolutionary ladder (or the fish ladder), not so much. Slew Of Fish combines a horrible circa-1998 user interface with a more or less utter lack of selection criteria, so after squinting at the multitude of low-res pictures and the vaguely- or not-at-all-filled-out profiles, if your dating strategy is anything other than “whoever responds to my thousands of vague spam emails, she will I marry” (it’s more of a fellow thing), you realize that not only are you barking up the wrong tree, but in fact it’s a coat-rack, and you should stop barking because of how you’re not a dog.
eHarmony: Unsurprisingly, given that it was founded by a conservative Christian who for years claimed that his “special sauce” people-matching algorithm didn’t work on LGBT people, eHarmony looks like the Facebook page of a member of one of those right-wing homophobic megachurches: squeaky-clean and creepy-religious. I mean, it’s the fucking Mormon Tabernacle Choir up in that bitch. (And that? Is my eHarmony profile headline, look me up!) Jesus Christ (a frequent topic of many of the profiles), you can find pretty much any kind of person you’re looking for on eHarmony, as long as you’re looking for a devout Christian who very likely treats snakes, speaks in tongues, has scheduled in GCalendar for next Thursday, “Rapture, dress light” and believes that premarital lovemaking causes oh let’s say Ebola or maybe incurable hiccups. I would crucify myself — literally, drive in the smashes, except for that one last forearm, with which I feel I’d need a little help — before dating anyone on this site. Evidently, it does have more marriages to its credit than any of the other sites, but given that these people won’t fuck you until you marry them, I’m guessing a good proportion of those represent 50-something virgins who have despaired of ever knowing the love of the opposite lovemaking. “My ideal very first date: a (non-alcoholic) drink, dinner at Chick-Fil-A, then right over to my pastor’s for some of that hot Christian marrying. Ooo, baby. My marryin’ mitt is ready! To! Go!” Can I get an “Amen”? No? Fair enough.
Match.com: If your idea of a “match” involves someone who loves suburbia, clichés and telling exactly the same damn thing everyone else says, you’ve found your Match. You reminisce how in A Wrinkle In Time, all the kids on that one planet came out, bounced nuts exactly the same way and went back in at exactly the same time? Like that. (Earnestly, if I see one more profile in which the person describes him-/herself as a “glass-half-full kinda gal/fellow”, I will pack their glass with fuming nitric acid and shout “How you like your glass half-full now, huh?” as they dissolve into a puddle of boring.) Also? While, as noted, presenting as mind-numbingly abate, most of the people on Match are as crazy as several shithouses utter of rats. Personality disorders, OCD, bipolar — if you want to date your way through the DSM IV (and if you’re taking an abnormal psych class, there’s no better way to memorize the disorders), Match not only offers, but mandates that practice. Two more personality disorders on my punchcard (come on, schizotypal!), and I get a free latte at Starbucks, a place I would rather have enormously thirsty and sharp-toothed ferrets inserted forcibly into my brown-eye than patronize. Match’s search and browse capabilities are reasonably advanced, but the email system is all early-’90s AOL: no formatting, capricious paragraphing, and if you include your actual email address too early in the conversation (very first or 2nd email), Match’s censors will edit it out and substitute it with your Match.com email address. Yes, Match.com has censors. You can’t use the word “fuck” in your profile, for example, or they’ll reject the profile. Sometimes they’ll reject the profile for no visible reason–you might have switched a comma, for example. Oh, one more thing about the Match mail: it won’t let you keep emails older than a month or so. So if you’re not sure if you wrote to someone before–and recall, they’re all pretty much monozygotic twins–you’ve got no way to find out. Since you’re most likely just like everyone else on the site, I expect it doesn’t much matter.
OKCupid!: Oh, OKCupid!, if ever I get to stop dating, I think I’ll miss you most of all. (Admittedly, that’s not telling much.) Sure, they get points off for the stupid exclamation point at the end of their name, but their users tend to the creative, interesting, and less-cliché-ridden. I’ve met some lovely people from OKCupid!, and that, after all, truly defines the practice of a dating site. But plus, I infrequently find myself put off by their interface, it’s effortless to search, to browse and to write emails (their email system doesn’t permit formatting either, but has nowhere near the clunk factor that Match’s does, and they don’t censor, as far as I can tell), their matching algorithm seems a bit smarter than anyone else’s too, or maybe they just have more attractive users. One big caveat however: demographics from this site (and big gratitude to them, because gawd forbid I should do a little research of my own) confirm my impression that OKCupid! tends to skew a little bit junior than the other sites. My daughters are on OKCupid!. I mean, my age parameters don’t even come near to overlapping with theirs, but that’s the kind of creepy skill that no amount of alcohol can wipe out of your brain. (I’ll keep attempting, tho’.) It’s not OKCupid!’s fault, but using their site can make you feel a little like that middle-aged dude who dangles around the high school. If you are that fellow, carry on. Until, you know, the cops come.