I’ve done a lot of online dating on and off over the course of the last five years, to varying degrees of success. I’ve been around the block a few times, son, and I’ve taken it upon myself to drop some knowledge on your ass in this however-many-parts-I-feel-like series.
Every online dating service is a little different. Any semi-literate bonehead can read an FAQ section to learn about a service’s feature set, but none of that carefully cultivated marketing copy will provide even the slightest clue about the most important thing to know about what you’re about to get into: the crowd, and specifically their expectations of the sort of people they’re going to meet. It doesn’t matter how many lines of code go into a matching algorithm if the people with whom it’s trying to pair you just ain’t your scene and vice versa.
So here’s the skinny. Start at the top of this list and work your way down until you find a fit.
- Tinder is all you need if you’re really, really ridiculously good looking and capable of pulling compelling, humorous conversation out of your ass with little in the way of context to assist you. Fuck you.
- Hinge works by attempting to match you with friends of your Facebook friends. It works well if you’re good looking and have lots of reputable pals. If all of your friends are scumbags and they’re friends with more scumbags, guess what happens. Although you’re probably a scumbag too in that scenario, so maybe this one’s perfect.
- Do you like paying too much money to talk to spoiled Cape girls via a website with a UX design built by some intern who wasn’t invited back for a second semester? Match.com is definitely for you, especially if you like people who don’t roll their eyes at you when you talk about your “work hard, play hard!” lifestyle. I used to think I wanted to find a girl with a boat. Thanks to this service, I’ve had dates with several nautically inclined women. Now I know I really don’t want to go out with a girl with a boat. Thanks, Match.com!
- eHarmony is great if you like paying out the ass to make lists of things. It has no other redeeming features, unless maybe you really like forest green.
- Specialist sites like Christian Mingle, JDate, and Ashley Madison belong in this tier. I like to think this is the first time in Internet history that Jesus, Hannukah, and marital infidelity have been lumped together in one group, but I guarantee there’s erotic fan fiction about JC spinning the ol’ dreidel with some hot housewife from Aramithea out there somewhere. Don’t worry: my spot in hell was guaranteed long before I ever thought of this paragraph.
- If you’ve made it this far, congratulations: you’re stuck with OkCupid, that hive of scum and villainy that makes Mos Eisley spaceport look like a bastion of learning and culture. It’s Faneuil Hall on a Saturday night except surrounded by a weird circle of crunchy hippies endlessly debating whether they want to dive into the debauchery.
Now that you’ve got a site, sign your ass up, build a profile, and watch the potential sweet lovin’ roll on into your inbox. What’s that? You don’t know how to build a profile? I can help with that too! Stay tuned for part two of this series, Building the Perfect Profile, coming next time or whenever the fuck I feel like it. Whichever comes first.