Online Dating: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

When it comes to online dating I wish I could say only great things. I mean, I could but then I’d be leaving out a whole lot of ugly. Ultimately, it all depends on your personal experience with it. When I first opened those closet doors, I didn’t have any gay friends to go out with so meeting guys in real life was nothing short of a struggle. Let me just add that now that I do have a circle of gay friends, it doesn’t get any easier. The older I get, the more I realize that bars aren’t the best place to meet anyone. My friend suggested online dating because she was pretty successful with it and it would be a great “starter” into the world of dating. She pretty much gave me a marketing pitch, telling me that it would give me a great idea of who is out there, as well as some experience and confidence when it comes to talking to potential suitors. Laugh out loud. Regardless, I really had nothing to lose so I set up a profile.

There is nothing more awkward than writing an online personal biography for your dating profile. Brainstorming all of the things that you think are interesting about yourself for the general public to see is a task and a half. Somehow, trying to briefly talk about my own hobbies, my taste in music, and my favourite TV shows felt like mission impossible. I mean, the whole essay process back in high school seemed like such a waste of time, but I found myself editing my work over and over and over again. At least my English teachers would have been proud. Either it was really hard or I’m just not that interesting of a person — which we all know is not true. I mean, come on, right? Right?…

To put it in perspective, online dating is kind of like grocery shopping. You go through the aisles and stop when you see something that you like. You stop because the packaging catches your eye but upon further inspection you look closer at that nutrition guide and the ingredients and start questioning your decision. Eventually, you come across the catchy description on the back of the packaging and decide whether or not that’s going to make it to the checkout.

If your box of gluten-free, flax, 100% organic chocolate chip, double fudge cookies (otherwise known as the man you’re possibly interested in) has made it to the checkout, then it’s safe to say that you are contemplating composing a message. Don’t just write “hey” and expect a happily ever after. Make reference to something that they’ve said in their profile — something that you found entertaining. Maybe you can boast about the amount of stuff that you both have in common. Also, don’t get upset if your “prince charming” doesn’t reply back to you or if the conversation begins to drag. This is the perfect place to see if conversation flows easily or if you know you won’t make a good match.

The more messages you send back and forth, the better the chance that someone is going to work up the balls to ask for a phone number. You may find the messaging becomes a little bit more frequent. You might be talking throughout the day. Just beware that you don’t get too attached at this point. If you are talking regularly, maybe arrange to meet up in person to see if this chemistry translates in person.

Like everything in life it’s worth a shot. If you don’t find any success then at least you know you’ve tried. It isn’t something to rely on when finding a partner but it is something that is used so heavily in our generation. Whether you find new friends, someone to casually date or an actual relationship, online dating can be the key to getting yourself out there.


Originally published at comingoutwelcomemanual.com on June 8, 2015.

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