A Closer Look at 4 Online Dating Sites

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I want to talk a little, today, about my experience with online dating sites.

First things first: If you're single and you're looking and you haven't used a dating site, I think that's LAAA-hame. In this day and age, I'm bored by people who have never tried the Internet personals. (Welcome to the 21st century, folks!) It's simple math: Even if you only meet ONE man through a site, that's one more than you might have met otherwise. It doesn't take long to sign up for a profile, and many good sites are free. Sure, it can be a little hard on the ego if you contact some dude and he doesn't respond. But it happens to the best of us. And I'm not going to insist you contact anyone. Just sign up for the thing and see if someone contacts you, if you'd prefer.

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They have a nice selection of jailbait and dudes looking for casual sex.

About two years ago, I started using OkCupid, a free site that was fairly new at the time. There is a lot to like about the site. It's free, it's easy to use, and a person's individuality really seems to come through in his profile. (On other sites, all users tend to sound a little too much like each other, in part because of the way the sites display the personal information people give when filling out their profiles.) The guys on it tend to be groovier — more stylish and hip — than the dudes on other sites I've used. (For instance, it was thanks to this site that I encountered the Poetry-loving Lawyer. And the Hot Single Dad.) I've also had plenty of short but pleasant courtships as a result of this site — I even met Sir Hugo through it! In fact, I was so impressed with OkCupid that I invited them to collaborate with me on a number of posts, like one about how to have the best profile pictures.

All the same, after using the site for a year or two, I've started to get the feeling a large percentage of the hombres on it are looking mainly to get laid. And there's lot of very young men. Case in point: the infamous Baby Fireman.


They rejected me as "unmatchable," so it might be better for people who are more religious and more conservative than I am.

I tried to sign up for this site once, a few years back. After going through a fairly annoying and laborious questionnaire, the site rejected me, saying, "We are unable to match you at this time." Apparently, they are frequently unable to match people they deem too pessimistic, too quirky, or not emotionally stable enough. (Confer here. Or simply type "rejected by eHarmony" into Google, if you don't want to take my word for it.) eHarmony may have been on to something, as I certainly wasn't taking antidepressants when I first tried the site, and I certainly was kinda depressed. All the same, it's possible the site decided to cast me out of its dating pool in part because I answered yes to the question: "Do you sometimes think life is meaningless?" Why do I say that? eHarmony was founded by, and is run by, a devout Christian (as reported by Business Week and a number of other publications). Many critics have complained the site is geared to reject those of us who aren't religious.


Supposedly the best site for people looking for serious relationships. (Or for balding dudes from the suburbs?)

Last week, as I mentioned to you guys, I signed up for a Match.com profile, after becoming disillusioned with OkCupid. Rumor has it that the people who are on Match.com — the men, in particular — are more serious about finding a steady relationship, as evidenced by their willingness to put their money where the, er, matches are? And a good friend of mine — a quite attractive and very successful writer — met his wife through the site a few years ago. He helped to pique my interest.

Now, I did have one brief experience with Match a few years back, when I was living in D.C. But I was turned off; it seemed like most guys on the site were suburban divorcés who wore khakis and clipped their cell phones to their belts.

This time around — though it's only been four days since I've signed up — I've been a little more impressed ... but overall, I get the feeling the guys on this site might be a little too conventional for me. On the other hand, I did get one very promising email today — from a dude who uses the big money he makes (from the sound of things) to help fund an organization he runs that gives money to struggling artists.


I got the best man-yield from this site, although it's so annoying to use these days that I never do.

For many years, I relied on Nerve.com to help me find new guys whenever I wasn't seeing anyone. And for that period of time — mid-decade or so — it was AWESOME. Perhaps that has less to do with the site and more with the fact that I was at the perfect age to be single (in my late 20s and early 30s) and I was using it during a time when Internet dating seems to have been at its peak. It's also possible I was more open than ever before and ever after to giving relationships a go. Nonetheless, when that site worked for me, it really worked. I had a number of mini-relationships, thanks to Nerve, and made one very good friend through the site, too. But about three years ago, after they made some changes to the site that made it a lot more annoying to sign into, I began to lose interest in it. Eventually, I gave up.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm mainly using Match.com at the moment, so if anything great comes of that, I'll let you know.

But now it's your turn. Folks, tell all of us who are single and looking: What sites do you like best, and why?

What do you think?