Tag Archives: online dating

Dreams *do* come true

Well.  What can I say.  I blog today as a completely different person than I was a year ago.  This blog has followed my dating life, and my regular life, through ups and downs and random thoughts.  It’s been my savior at times, times when I  needed to get demons out of me.  I’ve met some great blog friends on here, and, looking back through some of the worst blog posts, I don’t regret much of what I’ve written here.  But I’ve entered a new part of my life, and with these changes, I’m blogging less here and more elsewhere.

A year ago, I was single, finally getting over a horrible relationship and breach of trust, wondering if I would ever meet someone special, if I would ever be able to trust again.  A year ago I was unemployed, wondering if I would find a job, if I would ever get to do all the things I wanted to do but didn’t have the money to.  2010 was a very rough year for me, and I was glad that it was over, and hoping for a better year in 2011.

Then I met someone.  Someone special.  And I found that I was still capable of trust.  And I loved, and I was loved, and I was respected and cherished.  Nine months after meeting this man, I married him, and I still sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am to have him in my life.  He’s amazing, funny, caring, strong, loving, supportive, trustworthy, smart, chivalrous.  Everything you could possibly want in a man.  They do still exist.

Two months after getting married, my husband and I made a huge move, to Finland.  We’ve been here two weeks now, and it’s great.  A little cold, but not as cold as you might expect.  I am here on his work permit, which means I don’t have my own, so I can’t work.  My job, my husband tells me, is to write.

Imagine that.  My lifelong dream to not have to work and being able to write full time has come true.

Another lifelong dream – to travel.  And living in Europe, we intend to do exactly that.  France, Italy, Estonia, Sweden, St Petersburg, Prague, Krakow, London, Germany – they’re all on the agenda in the next two years.

To sum up:  I met my Prince Charming and am living my Happily Ever After.  It does happen.

I don’t know how often I’ll post on this blog now, but you never know when I might pop up.

Oh, and I met my Prince online, at OKCupid.  So, sometimes, online dating does work.

Well, I guess that’s one way to get health insurance

Married Couple
Image via Wikipedia

Within the next 90 days, I will be getting married and moving to Finland.  Me, stressed?  Why on earth would you think that?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that Beau has an opportunity to move to Finland.  We discussed it at length, and we agreed that I would move with him.  After some investigating, we determined that in order for me to move with him, we had to have lived together for two years.  Or have a child together.  Or be married.

After another lengthy discussion, we made the decision to get married.  We both agree that we would have been at that point in the near future, but circumstances have sped up the timeline.

Let me tell you, planning a wedding in 40 days is not lacking any stress.

After a week of tossing and turning and literally losing sleep (on my part), we have a venue and a date.  After another week, I’m still searching for a dress, whereas he picked out a suit in five minutes and will have it hanging in his closet in five to seven days.  Still working on the caterer, the decorations, the cake, the flowers, and, oh yeah, the invites still haven’t gone out.  My mom has been an absolute lifesaver through all this, and is doing so much coordinating for me.  I don’t know what I would do without her – I’d probably be a heap on the floor somewhere.

Of course, through all this, I’m trying to empty my condo, find space for my stuff at his house, have a yard sale to get rid of the rest of my stuff, rent my condo out, get my passport renewed, get him to clean out some of his stuff, and get all doctors appointment set up between the wedding date (when I will have health insurance for the first time in over a year) and the move to Finland date (sometime in January).  I’ve been slammed at work, and all I can think is, “Don’t these people know I have a wedding to plan?!”

Stressed?  No, why do you ask?

Seriously though, people – I AM SO FREAKING HAPPY!  I can’t believe my luck in finding this wonderful man, and I can’t wait for the day I can call him my husband.

I forgot what that feels like

I talked about the quality of men on OkCupid in my last post, but to recap – I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of the men who emailed me had full and complete profiles, with very few (if any) grammar and spelling mistakes.  As with match.com, there were a few that I wasn’t interested in, but I started an email conversation with two particular men on the same day, a week after I signed up.

Seal emailed me, and his writing was clear and to the point.  He seemed like a pretty okay guy.

Arlington emailed me, and asked me my opinion on the Oxford comma.  I was sold.  (Pro, for the record.)

I had my first date with Seal on a Wednesday night.  It was very casual, and I enjoyed myself.  He was smart, and outspoken, and opinionated.  And all I could think was, “Oh, he and my dad would soooooo not get along.”  We were there for about 3 hours.  We walked out to the parking lot and parted with a wave.

My first date with Arlington came the following night, on Thursday.  We met for drinks, in a very crowded and loud bar.  He was quiet, but he had no problem talking.  We had a couple of lulls in the conversation, where we were both trying to figure out what to say, but once we started talking again we had no problem.  We spent about two and a half hours together.  We walked out to the parking lot, and parted with a hug.

Saturday rolled around, and Arlington and I went for our second date.  We went for dinner, and had intended to go to a movie, but my friends were throwing an impromptu bonfire.  It should be noted, I almost NEVER introduce these men to my friends before the fourth date, usually longer.  They don’t need a parade of men coming through their lives, in the same way kids don’t.  But…I felt sparks.  We had a blast at my friend’s house, he even did some singing on Rock Band, and we parted in the driveway with a quick kiss.

And I spent the whole drive home (even some of the time I was at a standstill on the interstate, with the car turned off) trying to get the huge grin off my face.

The next day, Sunday, I had a second date with Seal.  We went to a local hiking trail, and it was…fine.  He’s a nice guy, and very smart, and we have great conversations, but there wasn’t any of that sparkage I felt with Arlington.  We ended up running into my friends (the same friends who had met Arlington the night before), and Seal went on and on about how perfect we were for each other – We both like THIS and We both like THAT.  It was kind of annoying.  We parted with a hug.

That Wednesday, I made partial plans for a third date with Seal on Friday night, to go on a gallery crawl.  Then I had my third date with Arlington.  We went and played trivia, and had a great time.  And, wow, what a kiss.

I knew I needed to let Seal know that I liked this other guy more, but it’s such an uncomfortable position to be in.  I called him on Thursday and told him that, while I would love to go ahead with our plans on Friday, I felt I needed to tell him that I had met someone else.  And while I enjoyed our conversation and his company, I just liked…this…other…guy…um…more…

He was cool about it, and said he’d still like to do the gallery crawl, “as long as the other guy doesn’t mind.  And he can come to, if he wants.”  Oh, yeah, like that would be comfortable.

Here’s the thing that hit me.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone out with a guy and said, “He’s nice.  We had a nice time.  Good conversation.  Eh.”  And I would go on second dates with these guys, because, well, he’s a nice guy, and we had a good time.  And, you know, everyone says you need to give a guy a chance, that women expect too much, etc.  And I had started to believe that.

And then I felt what I think I should expect to feel.  Sparks.  That warm feeling in your stomach.  Not low down stomach, up high stomach, almost butterflies but not quite.  I can’t talk about him or our dates with smiling.  Writing this, I’m smiling.

I had forgotten what that felt like.  It’s a nice feeling.  And it’s now been almost a month, and I’m still smiling.

It’s a nice GREAT feeling.

Not too long ago, INRIS commented, “Now you’ve discovered you can feel good about a new guy.” No, NOW I’ve discovered that.  😉

The quality of men on OkCupid

After years of online dating, I have been regularly disappointed by about 90% of the men I’ve come across.  I have bitched about it more than a few times on this blog – horrible profiles, crappy pictures, awkward dates, boring men, awful emails, odd phone conversations, kinky sexting, discourteous men…I could go on and on.

As I discussed in my last post (or was it the post before that?), I have avoided free online dating sites.  I figured, if men who are paying for a site can’t put forth the effort to write a good profile or email, what can the free sites possibly hold?

Well, evidently they can hold a lot, or at least OkCupid does.  I received a few emails (not winks!), and I was immediately impressed by the length and depth (and good grammar and spelling!) of the emails I received.  Upon visiting the profiles, I was again impressed, for the same reasons.  Long, detailed, well-written profiles.  Who woulda thunk it?!  In all, I would say about 90% of the profiles I viewed (both men who emailed me and men I found with a search) were awesome.  Complete opposite of what I was used to, and a complete surprise.

Were all of them what I was looking for?  No, of course not.  But I didn’t get any of the creepy emails I was expecting, no propositions for illicit meetings, no scams or freaks.  The site wasn’t full of trolls.  I was…speechless.  I really couldn’t believe it.  You mean this free site was actually better than a pay site?  How much money have I spent over the years?!

A variety of questions on OkCupid

As I mentioned in my last post, I joined OkCupid, mostly because I was impressed by the algorithms and correlations they came up with on their blog.  They’re not afraid of being politically incorrect or offending people, because all they’re doing is running the numbers, so to speak, on information that users provide (their latest blog post is titled, “What if there weren’t so many white people?”).  They aren’t drawing conclusions, just pointing out trends.  And some of the trends are interesting.  I highly recommend following the OKTrends blog, whether you’re single or not.  I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating, especially if you’re scientifically minded.

So, yes, I signed up for OkCupid, loaded a couple of pictures, filled out the profile, which includes fun pieces like, “I’m really good at…” “The six thing I could never do without…” and “The most private thing I’m willing to admit…(I shower naked).”  You give your details, obviously – height, body type (which is far more varied than match, which I appreciate), education level, etc.

Then they have these questions.  They’re all user submitted, so the list is growing all the time, and I have no idea how many there are in total.  The question is presented, you are given several answers to choose from (you can only choose one), you can choose which answers you’ll accept from your match (you can choose multiple), and then you rate how relevant or important it is that they answer the question the way you want them to.  You can also add an explanation.

Example:

Q: Are you a vegetarian or a vegan?

A: Yes/No (you can only choose one)

Answers I’ll accept: Yes/No (you can choose one or both)

This question is: Irrelevant/A little important/Somewhat important/Very important/Mandatory (choose one)

Explanation: I tend to eat primarily vegetarian at home, but it’s not a conscious effort.

The questions can be really fun.  There are political questions (Is contraception morally wrong?  Which is more offensive, book burning or flag burning?  To you, is abortion an option in case of an unwanted or accidental pregnancy?), religious questions (How important is religion/God in your life?  Would you date an atheist? How do you feel about Scientology?), drug-related questions (Would you date someone if you knew they were a current drug user?  Do you think drug use with your partner can be a romantic activity?  Would you consider dating someone who grows marijuana for their own personal use?), drinking-related questions (Do you ever feel the need to get really drunk?  On average, which best describes how often you GET DRUNK?), dating questions (How much can intelligence turn you on?  What’s worse on a first date, no physical attraction or nothing to talk about?  Would you ideally like to be married in the next 3 years?), intelligence questions (Which is bigger, the earth or the sun?  If the price of an apple was raised 50% and then decreased 50%, making it cost $0.75, how much was the original price?  What is next in the series 1, 4, 10, 19, 31…), lifestyle related questions (Are you happy with your life?  How often do you tweet?  Are you an aspiring actor/artist/writer or other creative type?).

And sex questions.  Lots of sex questions.  Do you enjoy meaningless sex?  Would you consider performing anilingus on a partner who asked you to?  Would you consider meeting 2 people online, then arranging a threesome?  Do you enjoy giving oral sex?  Would you be disappointed if your significant other doesn’t want to receive oral sex ever?  Would you allow your partner to kiss you after performing oral sex on you?  Is your ideal sex rough or gentle?

And my all-time favorite question:  Do you know what sperm tastes like?

Here’s the interesting part.  As I said, you can answer what you want, when you want.  But, based on your answers, they do a personality profile, measured against the average of your demographic.  “You might be…more/less conventionally moral.  More/less old-fashioned.  More/less compassionate.  More/less kind.  More/less independent.  More/less spiritual.  More/less sex driven.  More/less kinky.”  And, as you might imagine, if you don’t answer the sex questions, they rank you as less kinky and less sex-driven.  But what if that’s not the case?

You can answer the questions privately.  Although, some of those questions I’m still not going to answer…

Then there are the tests.  Over 43,000 tests, actually.  Your Sesame Street Persona Test.  The Director Who Films Your Life Test.  The Which LOLCat Are You Test.  The How Low Are Your Sex Standards Test.  The If You Were a Beer Test (I’m a Guinness – as if there were any doubt).

It’s fun.  It keeps things fresh (says the girl who’s been on there for less than 3 weeks).  It’s different.  It’s free.

So, what is the quality of men on there?

Stay tuned.  😉

Algorithmic Dating

I’ve done plenty of online dating.  I’ve paid for match.com three times (twice using the 6-month guarantee, for a total of 30 months), for eHarmony once (for a six month period), and for chemistry.com once (for only a month).  In case you can’t do the math on your own, I’ve been on an online dating site for a total of over three years of the past six.  Out of that, I’ve had two major relationships, two minor ones, and a bunch of “three dates, you’re out” flings.

My last match subscription ended at the end of February, and I vowed that I was giving up.  On online dating, on dating, on life.  I thought, You know what?  I’m just going to be alone for the rest of my life, that’s just how it’s gonna be, and there’s nothing I can do about it. (Yes, I was in a fairly depressed state.)

But then, the next day, I got my optimism back and started thinking that I needed a fresh start.  (This is one of the reasons I sometimes wonder, half-jokingly, if I’m bipolar.)  I’ve been on match for far too long, and I’m giving up on it.  I was not impressed with Chemistry.com.  I had liked my time on eHarmony, though, so figured I’d give that a go.  Except, do you know how expensive it is?  And did I mention I don’t have a job?

I’ve always been against free dating sites, my thought being that you get what you pay for.  Also, I had pretty much assumed that sites like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid were mainly “hook up” sites, and that’s not what I was in the market for.  But one day in early February I stumbled across an interesting blog post over at the OKCupid Blog:  The Best Questions for a First Date. The people over at OKC wanted to know, “What questions are easy to bring up [on a first date], yet correlate to the deeper, unspeakable, issues people actually care about?”  Turns out, if you want to know if you’re date puts out on the first date, ask her if she likes the taste of beer.  If you want to know what they’re political leanings are, ask if they like simple or complex people.  And if you want to know how religious your date is, ask how much spelling and grammar mistakes annoy them.

I laughed when I first read the article, but I was impressed with the vast amount of statistics and algorithms OKC used to come up with the correlations.  I started reading some other blog posts that they did, and became fascinated.  The Mathematics of Beauty looked at the messages received by women vs. measured attractiveness.  They found that iPhone users have more sex, and that generally the more attractive a picture is, the more likely it is to be out of date. They found that “the MySpace shot is the single most effective photo type for women,” and that man should flaunt their chest and abs if they’ve got them.

You see, OKC gets all this information from a vast collection of questions that users are encouraged (but not required) to answer.  You can answer all of them, or ten of them, or none of them, it’s up to the user.  But, the more answers you provide, the more OKC will know about you as they try to match you with someone.  And, as you’re looking at people’s profiles, you can compare their answers to yours, getting a good feel for the person’s politics, outlook on life, intelligence, and sexual attitude.  You can see what they’re looking for out of life and in a partner.

So it’s kind of like a mesh between eHarmony (with the questions and the matching), and match.com (with the ability to search).

And I know this because I joined.

Stay tuned for a run down on some of the more interesting questions, and for my experience so far.

First Kiss Awkwardness

Lipstick used to make a symbolic kiss.

Image via Wikipedia

I met this guy for a first date a few weeks ago.  We had a great time – he was really funny, sweet, and we got along really well.  “I’d like to do this again,” he said.  Absolutely.  We parted in the parking lot with a hug, which is how I like to end a first date.

Second date.  Gosh, I can’t remember where we went!  But it was the same as the first – lots of fun, good conversation.  We parted with a hug.  Which was…fine.  Did I want a kiss?  Yes.  Did I care all that much that I didn’t get one? No.  But it would have been nice.

Third date:  we were meeting for a sushi lunch…at a restaurant that I always forget is closed for lunch on Sunday.  We decided to find another place to go, and I offered to drive.  We had lunch – it was great, the same as the other two, fun, great conversation.  As I drove him back to his car, I realized I had just made the opportunity for a kiss nearly impossible.  Do I get out of the car so we could kiss?  That seems weird.  Or do I forget the option of a kiss this go around, on our 3rd date?  That would really push my limit.  Or, worst of all, would we do an “across the console” kiss, which I knew would be completely awkward and unsatisfactory?

“I’d like to do this again,” he said.  Absolutely.  He leaned across the console.  I puckered up, then realized he was going to only hug me.  Then he realized I was going to kiss him, so he turned his head so our lips met.  In a very, very unsatisfying and awkward kiss.

Fourth date:  we finally got to eat sushi.  Another great time, same as the other three dates.  He walked me out to my car, and I was excited to finally get a good kiss.  It’s been a while for me.  He took my arm, leaned in, and…gave me the very briefest of pecks on the mouth, much like when parents kiss their kids on the lips (which I think is weird, by the way, kissing kids on the lips, but that’s just my opinion).  I got in my car, drove away, and wondered what the heck had just happened.

March 1st rolled around.  My match subscription was up, and I was done.  D-U-N-done.  I hid my profile, resolutely deciding I was done with online dating.  If I was meant to meet a man, I would do it the old fashioned way.

The next day I signed up for OKCupid.  I’m such a glutton for punishment.  (More on that later.)

Two days later I got an email from that guy, the fourth date peck guy.  Paraphrasing:  “It was nice meeting you, but I don’t think we’re right for each other.  Have a nice life.”

They like me! They really like me!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached to do a guest blog.

Yes, me.

I was honored.  Surprised.  Amazed.  Stunned.  Excited.

And scared.

Actually, I wasn’t scared until I suddenly couldn’t form any coherent thoughts on the subject of choice (dating).  I could not come up with any words.

But I finally did it.  Two hours in a mechanic’s waiting room was all I needed.  Must have been the oil fumes.

You can read my post, What’s in a match.com username, on Life in 3D.  Stick around to read some great posts from Charlotte J.

And thank you, Life in 3D people, for choosing me!

Now THIS is how you write a match.com email

As a followup to a crappy email I got the other day (be sure to read the comments for the full story on that one), I received a FABULOUS email yesterday.

I initiated contact with this guy by sending him an email.  His profile made me laugh about 5 times, not in a slapstick way, just in a goofball way.  I thought it was cute.  So my email to him went a little something like this (paraphrased, trying to protect a little anonymity):

“Thanks for making me laugh, so refreshing!  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be a good teammate in [sport he mentioned in profile], but hiking, eating, and going to the beach I can do.  Tell you what – you teach me how to play [sport] and I can teach you how to [do something I can do] – how does that sound?

“Where did you do [action mentioned in his profile]?  I’m trying to think of the places I know and can’t figure out how you did it. I do [that action] occasionally myself, in fact I did it last year at [Festival].  My friends were very impressed.”

His return email was PERFECT, or as near as you can get:

“Thanks for emailing me.  Thanks for emailing me.  I know, I said that twice, the first time I was just saying thanks, the second time was after I read your profile and saw how much we had in common. ” (how cute is that?!)

He went on to address the questions in my email, responded to 5 different comments I made in my email about myself, and commented on 3 different things from my profile.

Now THAT is a good email.  I have no doubt that he read my profile and is interested in getting to know me further.

What I really want to say in my match.com emails

I am a glutton for punishment.

Or maybe I’m insane, with the whole “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” issue.

My match subscription hasn’t run out yet.  I haven’t been on since around Thanksgiving, because…well, I just couldn’t take it.  But, last night, I thought, “What the heck.”

This guy had recently winked at me.  I looked over his profile, thought he sounded intelligent, then I saw that one of his favorite authors is the author of one of my favorite books.

My email (paraphrased):  I was impressed to see that you like [author].  I haven’t read her most popular books, but I love [book title].  I like what I read in your profile, and that your list of things you like to do is endless.  I like to do a lot of different things in my spare time, and couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one or two things that I do all the time.  So tell me more about yourself.  There are some blank spots in your profile – trying to be mysterious, or do you have something to hide?  😉

Okay, let’s go over the fine points here, shall we?  I specifically mentioned something in his profile that we have in common, thus indicating the I read the profile.  I shared a little bit about me.  And I asked him an open-ended question.

His response (paraphrased):  Yeah, I like [author] a lot.  Her writing is really deep and sometimes it takes a while to understand her true meaning.  I’m new to match and still working on my profile.  I think everyone is more exciting and mysterious inside than in the material world.

Hm.  Let me see if I can point out what bothers me most about this.  Could it be that he expressed absolutely no interest in getting to know me better?  At this point, I see him expressing no interest, and there seems to be nothing more to interest me.

I’ve used different sets of rules with online dating in the past.  At one point, I would talk to anyone who emailed me, and go out with anyone who asked, my philosophy being that people are so much more than their online persona, and just because I may not find their photos attractive or they may seem boring/snobby/whatever on email, there may be some kind of spark when we actually meet. In the past, I would have emailed this guy back, tried to keep the conversation going, tried to learn more about him.

This time?  Screw that.  Strike One, you’re out.  I’m not wasting my time.  Boring profile?  Out.  Boring email?  Out.  Incoherent email full of misspelling and bad grammar?  Out.  (A few is fine.  More than one per sentence is not.)  You have a photo up where you look like a big honkin’ redneck or like you’re “compensating” for something or you have your shirt off for no other reason than you’re trying to show how hot you are?  Out.  I am so done with this crap.

Now I just have to figure out how to respond to this guy without sounding like a complete b*tch.  Because what I want to write is, “Well, since all you can manage is four sentences in response to my three paragraph email, and you ask no questions about me, it’s quite obvious you have no personality and/or you’re not interested in getting to know more about me, so have a nice life.”

How about, “Hm, that’s nice.  You sound like a very deep person – so deep you don’t give a sh*t about anyone else.  Since you’re new, let me give you a tip – ask a girl about herself.  It helps let her know you’re interested.  No questions=no interest, and with that in mind, I’m not longer interested in getting to know you further.  Best of luck!”

Or, “Wow, I can feel the overwhelming interest you have in me across the email synapses!  I know you’re dying to know about what kind of music I like or what my cat’s name is or what my favorite sushi restaurant is, but I guess you want to make sure we remain more mysterious than that.  You know the thing about mysteries?  They’re meant to be solved!  But, rest assured, you won’t be solving this one – I will forever remain a mystery.  Buh-bye.”

*sigh*