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From eHarmony to Craigslist – An Internet Dating Hierarchy

03.05.09

The stigma of online dating keeps coming up in my conversations.  I don’t know what it is.  I personally have never gone on a date that I met through an Internet dating site, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the possibility if I were in the market.

The way I see it, meeting someone that you met online based on a thumbnail-sized picture is no more or less superficial than approaching someone you find hot while combing a dimly-lit bar with a bad case of beer goggles and an elevated libido.  The goal is simple: to meet someone.  The method you use to get to that end really has no value one way or another.  In fact, usually the unique or unconventional way you meet that special person ends up being a great story to tell friends, family… your kids, even.

That being said, there is a difference in what you’re looking for when you choose what type of bar to scope out the possible mate options.  This translates to the Internet as well.

Let’s break it down:

eHarmony is like that swanky nightclub hosting a singles night that – unless you know a guy who knows a guy – you have to grease the doorman to get into.  Some people don’t even get accepted into the website after filling out their notoriously in-depth personality test.  Talk about exclusive.  You’re not good enough to date online!  Of course, this just adds to the allure and the notion that only the best potential suitors are available through their service.  Ideally you’ll find Mr. or Ms. Right here, but when it all comes down to it, there will always be those dudebros with their gelled, spikey hair smelling like they bathed in cologne coming up to you with their lame pickup lines and those blondes with too much make-up acting unapproachable because they’re so proud that they got in.

Chemistry opened up across the street from eHarmony and promises a better time with it’s flashy entrance and sexier name.  You know the drill, though.  They’re more liberal with their admittance, which can be good or bad depending.

Match.com is like a bar and restaurant combo.  You can go to just hang out with friends but as the night goes on, more and more singles show up and so do your hopes.  Odds are more likely you’ll end up having a one night stand versus a serious relationship – if anything at all.  But sometimes that’s all your looking for.  And even then, you might be surprised that it turns out to be more.

Craigslist is the total dive with a curtain instead of a front door that you go to on a Wednesday when you’re feeling extra lonely (and thirsty) and usually walk away with more than just a lack of dignity.  It’s a cash only bar – sorry, no plastic accepted here – and anyone can come in.  Hell, they don’t even have a doorman and the lighting is so dingy that you don’t even need to be over 21 to get served.

There are more sites, I’m sure, that target even more specific demographics for your selective tastes.  The point I’m trying to make is that while all have pros and cons, so do all bars, and you never know who you’re going to meet or where you’ll meet them.  Odds are if you’re a well-to-do twenty-something heading into a dive bar for kicks, you’re not going to be the only one, so don’t assume that the quality of the patronage will match the caliber of the bar itself.

Keep your eyes open, people.  It’s hard enough to meet cool people so don’t limit yourself by judging the methods.  When it comes to dating, it’s cool to be Machiavellian.

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