Match: 1 in 5 Relationships Start Online

…so claims the match.com ad campaign. I don’t doubt this. However, I would guess that 4 out of 5 people still can’t shake the “ick” of the online dating stigma. I’m definitely one of those people.

[Pause. You’re probably thinking “Huh?” Confession: I wrote this post two years ago on my old, secret blog that made me sad and depressed. I’m recycling. So sue me. I haven’t had the time or the motivation to write in the last few weeks… Ok. Play.]

When I first moved to New York City (2008), I decided to give match.com a try. I spent hours writing my profile. I agonized over how I was presenting myself to “them”. I wanted to seem down to earth but mysterious, not too high maintenance but still girly, witty and just all around awesome.

There was a section called “my education” in which you could write a brief paragraph about… well, your education. I thought to myself “Oh! I will write about how I went to the University of Storied Football Program and every man in New York City will be impressed! They will be banging down my cyber door to take me on fancy dates!” I included this tidbit of information, and made a joke at the expense of my Masters degree from School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre).

I posted my profile and promptly decided that match.com was entirely too much work. My profile sat dormant for the three months that I had pre-paid, and then I canceled my membership. I hid my profile.

Fast forward to late 2010.

I decided to give match.com another try. Remembering how long the first profile had taken me to put together, I resolved to just re-post it “as-is”. There would be no editing of inaccurate information (favorite hot spots, currently reading, etc.). However, I had become much older, wiser, and digitally skeptical in the two years that had passed. I knew that the “my education” section had to be deleted. The very revealing details of University of Storied Football Program and School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre) would lead potential suitors to my true identity immediately with a simple google search (I am the master of such google searches, so I know).

I went through all of the editing options but couldn’t find a way to remove “my education”. I perused the FAQ and discovered that they were in the process of phasing this section out (they had replaced it with a simple drop down menu). However, this “phasing out” meant that if you did not have the “my education” section already included in your profile, you could not add it, and if you DID have information in the “my education” section, you could not edit it.

Well, fuck.

I was all ready to be 1 in 5, but now there was a wrench in my plan.

I debated not reposting my profile, but then just decided – what the hell. I clicked “publish”.

[Here comes the full disclosure section of this blog post. The reason why I didn’t want these very revealing details of my life included in my match.com profile is because I didn’t want anyone that I know (close friends excluded) to know that I was on match.com; it’s the “ick” factor that I mentioned before: the idea that people will think that I am unable to meet someone in real life; that I am so desperate and undesirable that I have to use a website to meet an equally desperate, undesirable mate. However, it really wasn’t that I didn’t want “anyone” to know. There was one particular person that I would have been MORTIFIED to find out I was on match.com… He was a guy that I had a gigantic crush on for much too much time and referred to as my Future Boyfriend – FBF. Anyway. I was horrified that he might somehow find out that I was using match.com.]

The website proved to be just as much work as it was two years prior. I was pretty much over it. Then I got an email that I couldn’t NOT respond to. It read:

Hi Erin!

Tough year for the University of Storied Football Program, huh? I have been a fan my whole life and actually almost applied there but then I got into School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre), class of ‘AFewYearsBeforeYourTime. I’m sure we can play the name game when we meet!

-Comet

As I mentioned before, I am a master of the google (a poorly disguised username helps, too). I did not pass go, I did not collect two hundred dollars, I did not read his profile. I immediately went to Facebook to see who our mutual friends were.

There were five.

One of them was FBF.

Fuck.

After much hemming and hawing (and a long IM conversation with my friend D., another one of our mutual friends), I decided to respond to Comet’s email. We exchanged a few emails and made plans to meet.

Comet was unbelievably nice. He had memorized my profile. He asked me questions about things that I didn’t even remember I had divulged (this profile was two years old, you know). He chose the restaurant and called ahead to make sure that they had the wine that I was obsessed with (side note: I wasn’t really a fan anymore, but felt like I HAD to order it after he had gone to all that nice, sweet trouble!). The conversation just flowed. We had so much to talk about. I’ll say it again: he was SO nice. I was not. I had barely even looked at his profile. I don’t think I ever read the whole thing.

Quickly, we moved on to the “six degrees” portion of our evening. The first person that he asked me if I knew was D. “Yes! I love her!” The next was FBF. He explained how close he and FBF were at the School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre). He was like FBF’s older brother. I began to realize that many of Comet’s mannerisms and speech patterns were just like FBF’s. These people were not merely acquaintances, they had the kinds of similarities that only occur when you spend A LOT of time with another person.

It weirded me out.

From moment one of meeting Comet, I didn’t have the zsa zsa zsu. I liked him (SO nice!), but I didn’t want to make out with him. Buuuuut he reminded me of FBF… Maybe I could make it work?! Is that a horrible reason to be interested in someone? Can you date someone because they remind you of someone you really, really like?

The answer is: absolutely not.

Comet and I went out one more time after our first date. After that, neither of us contacted each other.

My theory? I think he called FBF after our initial date. Their conversation, in my mind, went something like this:

Comet: Dude. You’ll never believe this. So… I’m on match.com and…

FBF: Wait. What?! HAHA! You’re on match.com?!! Alright man, well… whatever tickles your pickle.

Comet: Yeah… I know. Anyway. So I’m on match.com and I met… wait for it… Erin! She said that she knows you! Isn’t it a crazy small world!?

FBF: Uh… Erin? She said that she “knows” me? Hah. That’s funny.

Comet: You don’t know her? She’s got blonde hair and is really short and stuff.

FBF: Yeah, yeah, man. I know her. That girl and I had a thing a while ago. She was SUPER into me. She would send me drunken text messages and shit. She was totally on my jock. [Editor’s note: I know that this is my made-up version of their hypothetical conversation, but I can assure you that it wasn’t like he was discouraging my ridiculous behavior.]

Comet: Oh, really? She seemed really shy and reserved and stuff. We didn’t even kiss or anything.

FBF: Huh. Maybe she’s chilled out or something.

Comet: Peace out man.

FBF: Yeah, talk to you later.

Comet then came to the realization (solidified after “date” number two), that I was not “SUPER into” him like I was FBF and decided to cut his losses. Like I said, I didn’t want to make out with him, there was no zsa zsa zsu.

What did I learn from this experience?

1. I’m not ready to be 1 in 5. I’ll stick to the non-digital means of meeting people for now. My online profile has since been removed, but that doesn’t stop catholicsingles.com from targeting me with Facebook ads daily.

2. All skeletons in my closet / emotional baggage: get out of my life. No, seriously. GET OUT.

[Also, it was really hard for me to write male dialogue without a bunch of “like”s in there. I had to remove them all after I had written the “conversation”. Men don’t say “like”. I shouldn’t either. I sound like an idiot.]

Dear readers. Oh, how time can change a person. I still don’t really love meeting people online [it just feels so forced], however when someone tells me they feel weird about being on an online dating site, I just roll my eyes at them and tell them they are ridiculous because EVERYONE is on them. Everyone.

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