Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon: Dating Gone Digital

By Holly A. Phillips

I created a profile on Ok Cupid a few weeks ago.

Last summer, when I signed up for one month on Match.com – which was my first attempt at online dating – I gave myself a rule: after a few good messages back-and-forth with someone, suggest meeting in public (coffee is always a good option).

“Yes, it is possible to meet creeps online, but I’ve dated a dozen creeps that I’ve met in-person, too.”

While I messaged with several different men on Match, a majority of them didn’t have an interest in meeting me face-to-face.

I was shocked. Not only had I just forked over $30 to email people, but I was basically paying to get rejected. I do that for free on a regular basis. So, after one month, I cancelled my subscription.

Lately, the dating pool has been pretty shallow, so I decided to give the online search another try, this time with a free service.

Within 48 hours of building my profile, I had messages from more than 50 different men in the Baton Rouge area.

Of course, not all of them were my type, but I made another rule for myself: reply to a few messages, and just see where it goes.

After engaging in a few promising conversations, I was excited to see where things would lead with some of my Ok Cupid suitors.

But my friends and coworkers were quick to offer their unsolicited opinions.

“Oh, the free ones are just for sex,” was a common comment.

Yes, there are people on every dating site that want just sex. But ultimately, isn’t that what we all want?

“I’d be careful if I were you, there are some trolls on Ok Cupid,” said another friend.

Of course, there are trolls everywhere, but I figure, I’m on there, and I don’t think I’m a troll.

It’s pretty obvious who is there for what reasons, by the messages they send, or even their pictures.

A shirtless profile picture is someone looking to bang. A profile picture of a guy kissing a girl is also someone looking to bang, and is also a player.

“I was just reading an article about a girl who got raped by someone she met online, so be careful,” an ex texted me.

I started to get angry.

Yes, that is terrifying and sad. Yes, it is possible to meet creeps online, but I’ve dated a dozen creeps that I’ve met in-person, too.

After three weeks online, I’ve heard from 73 different men, and I’ve met three of them in-person.

Meeting someone for the first time is scary, but it’s really important to me to see if there’s a spark instead of spending a lot of time messaging back-and-forth, only to be disappointed.

Besides, I’ve watched way too many episodes of MTV’s “Catfish” to fall in love with someone who refuses to meet me face-to-face.

Of course, it’s exciting when you meet someone and you’ve got plenty to say to each other. But the other side is when things don’t go so well.

One of the men I met was nice, but we didn’t have much to talk about. He was interested in petroleum engineering, and I like nail polish and wine.

He took one look at my blog mid-conversation, and simply said, “Don’t you want to write about something more serious?”

Excuse me? What could be more serious than documenting the search for the love?

I smiled, drained my coffee cup, and grabbed my keys.

When I didn’t return his follow-up text messages, he sent a few rude ones, which drove home my point — he’s not the one.

Online dating is the same as offline dating; not everyone is going to be a homerun.

Regardless, it’s good to get out there, meet people, and brush up on that oh-so-awkward first date conversation.

After finding out I write about dating, several of my Ok Cupid prospects wanted to know if my profile was just an experiment.

Of course, it isn’t. I am honestly online to see who is out there for the same reasons I am — to find my match.

Read more about Holly’s online dating adventures on her blog, TheBitterLemon.com. 

Try Online Dating

Tips for a Respectable Online Dating Profile:

1. Get a Good Picture- Enough with the bathroom selfies! Get a friend to take a decent picture of your face to display as your profile picture.

2. Fill Out the Profile– Most sites base the “match” percentage on profile information and survey answers. It takes time, but provides the best results.

3. Be Honest- Whether you’re online to find a friend, bed buddy, or a significant other, make it clear what your intentions are.

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