Why Selling Your Soul to the Internet Dating Gods Might Be a Bad Idea

Written By: Sarah Jacobson

Here’s the thing. I don’t really believe in online dating. After a short stint on Match.com, which was fueled by a burst of social anxiety and resulted in a few short dates with awkward men that I’d rather forget, I went back to the real world. Which is, I should add, where I think dating should take place. Face to face, not over the Internet.

There are many who disagree with me. I know many who’ve not just dabbled in online dating but think of their Match.com (interchangeable with eHarmony.com and Chemistry.com) profile as a segue to their knight in shining armor. Funny, the Craigslist Killer looked like a knight in shining armor and turned out to be a total crazy.

This begs the questions: “Are all online daters crazy? What’s wrong with them? Why are they dating online as opposed to in person?”

Supporters of internet dating claim that you do meet them in person eventually, that you merely get to know them online. This, they say, allows you to feel them out before you go on that terribly awkward date with, say, your one night stand from last Saturday night, who doesn’t look nearly as good, sans beer goggles. Fair enough. I’m all for getting to know someone before I dare to sit through a meal with them.

Hence, an experiment: Posing as none other than myself, I took the plunge on a site that didn’t require payment: Craigslist. With the Craigslist Killer lingering in my subconscious, I crafted an ad that was honest, witty, and funny (or so I thought). I hoped to garner responses that were normal, intelligent, and most importantly, that would help me figure out why on earth one would turn to Craigslist to get a date. Here’s what I found:

Many cite time as the main problem. They’re working too hard/too late/too much to meet people in real time, hence, they head online, where they can meet people at all hours of the day. Others claim they’re “sick of the bar scene.” In fact, I can’t count how many men gave me that line, verbatim. As though they don’t love grinding up on biddies in a hot and sweaty club. Many were older. Though my listing clearly stated that I was 23, I got responses from men ten years older than me. As if!

Kidding. Sort of – but seriously, aren’t guys a bit older at least supposed to be dedicated enough to mission “find a relationship” that they’d pay for Match.com?

Every single man that emailed me felt compelled to describe not just his looks, but how he maintained them. I got the old, “I’m an outdoorsy type” multiple times. A couple felt the need to give me their measurements. Others said they enjoyed working out; many cited “going to the gym” as one of their hobbies.

MEN (and I refer to you as a collective being on purpose), I say this with love – most women don’t care if you go to the gym five days a week at 5 p.m. sharp. In fact, we could care less, because as long as you’re good to us and good in bed, it doesn’t really matter.

So, what did I learn? Well, for starters, it’s of note that I didn’t receive one email that made me stop and think, “Hmm, this one’s a keeper.” My instincts were quite the opposite: RUN! RUN QUICKLY! DO NOT MEET THIS MAN IN PERSON.

I let each of my lovely e-mailers down easy, and returned to the real world, where people take the chance and pray that they’ll meet their great love on the subway. Do I believe all online daters are quacks? Not necessarily – I have friends who have dedicated themselves to making online dating work, and I respect them greatly for putting themselves out there. I, however, would prefer to put myself out there in person, instead of in cyberspace.

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