Saturday, October 8, 2011

Online Dating

So back in August I went out on a terrific date with a terrific woman. We met through OKCupid. This came out of nowhere, since I don't really troll the online dating sites anymore, my hope in finding anyone on such a site long since dispersed. The issue is largely that my own values are so out of sync with those of most people that next to no profiles match what I'm looking for. I'm a Christian, but I'm not a mainstream Christian, which means that I'm not really a Christian in the sense that most people are at all. These services always want to set me up with Baptists or someone of that ilk, but there is no way that would work because our beliefs and practices are nowhere near the same. I actually tend to feel more comfortable with nonreligious people, but there, of course, religion is still an issue. One might put me in with the Messianic Jewish camp--it's where I fit in closest with the various "labels" you can find on some of these sites--but if anyone else even fits in that category, they're usually in Romania or some out-of-the-way place like that.

This was a date unlike any I've had in a while. Generally, when I go out with women, I (1) know them pretty well already and so know what I'm getting into, (2) don't have similar values and so know the date is not going to lead to anything serious, even if we have fun, (3) sense that one or the other of us isn't really into this from the get-go, and/or (4) am out with someone in a city far away where the only possibility for a relationship is a long-distance one that probably won't come to fruition. In the first case, it's not exactly like a date in the same way; it's more like old friends getting together. Most of the time, therefore, my "friend" status has already been established (because one or the other of us--or maybe both--has already declared a desire to be just friends), which cuts down on the potential that the event might turn into more; in fact, it makes me wonder whether what we're doing can even be called a date. (When I was younger, such a thing might have been a date--for there were women I went out with who were friends I'd have considered a relationship with--but now that I'm older and more marriage minded, if I'd found someone who I was interested in who knew me well enough and wanted to date me, um, I think I'd probably be married.)

But here was a woman who was attractive, who seemed interested in getting to know me, who I was interested in getting to know, and who I in fact did not know hardly at all outside of a handful of e-mails and a short phonecall and who could actually one day end up living here in this area. One thing I did know, however: we both had similar religious views. This meant that the date could actually lead to a second one. Wow--to date with potential.

(Alas, since then, she's moved on to other places, and so far I've failed to score a second date. But maybe one day if/when she returns.)

So the August date got me to thinking about how many women I've met from online dating sites over the years and which sites led to the most meetings. The numbers here actually skew toward Yahoo! Personals, which doesn't even exist anymore, because most of my online dating was done back when I was in Texas, new to the Internet, and more hopeful (and perhaps a little more keen on dating with no real goal other than to have a fun time out):
That's not a lot, though I did probably forget to include a couple given how many years ago I started using the Internet to try to find dates. It's been very hard for me to get a date from online, but given my rather reserved temperament, it's been even harder to find dates in real life, unless I happened to know the person from a shared activity like school, work, or church. Back when I was putting forth more effort online, I probably averaged one first date for every one hundred women I contacted. Part of this probably has to do with the fact that it was already fairly clear I wasn't a match--because there were no matches to be had.

If one adds singles sites associated specifically with my church, the number of women I've met through online databases, however, would grow exponentially (and is thus hard to track), but the number I've met locally (as opposed to traveling to a singles activity or specifically to meet the person) and gotten a date with (as opposed to exchanging a couple of e-mails that ended up going nowhere) would be extremely small. In fact, I can think of only two in a local area, and in one of those cases, the woman just didn't seem to want to pursue anything more (believe me, I would have had she let me), and in the other, I wasn't that interested and never got much of a vibe that the woman was that interested either. Most often, though, I already know the local women, when they exist, because I see them at church. In the cases I hadn't known them and thus was out with a near stranger, they were in different organizations or I had just moved.

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