The Wednesday Weigh-In: Online Dating Edition

Online dating: inspiring hilarious stock images since the '90's.

Online dating. It’s far from an unexplored topic in the feminist blogosphere. We’ve talked before about some of the dangers of online dating.  And over at GOOD, Jill Fillipovic had a brilliant piece about how two years of online dating taught her to spot red flags in potential suitors. (Clue number one: “I’m a nice guy.”)

But it seems with every passing day, online dating is becoming more and more normalized. Exhibit A: as a single 20-something living in New York City, a good chunk of my friends are engaged with online dating in some way (most through OKCupid).  Exhibit B: a hilarious new weekly Buzzfeed column “An(n)als of Online Dating” that purports to “show the best of the worst internet dating has to offer” by tackling subjects like “Men On The Internet Who Would Like To Have Your Babies” and “Online Dating’s Icky “Yellow Fever” Fetishists“.

So given the ubiquity of the art form, this week’s weigh in centers on dating and the internet. Tell me, readers:

What do you think about online dating? Are you into it? Are you scared of it? Are you confused as to why we still give it its own category, apart from other kinds of dating?

Share your thoughts, success stories, recommendations, and tales of horror in the comments below.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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Join the Conversation

  • Ariel

    Are you confused as to why we still give it its own category, apart from other kinds of dating?

    I think online dating is fun. I’ve only just got into it this month. I like it. It is a little scary, but I have numerous people who I tell where I am going and send picture messages to to show what I look like before I leave the house. And what they look like when they show up. So that way people know where I am, what I’m doing. and who I’m with.
    I’m not confused about it. To me it needs it’s own catagory. It comes with specific problems and dangers that aren’t present in the other forms of dating.

  • Smiley

    I found it depressing. I’m a man.

    Women are drowned by offers, and my experience suggests that if you do not spin your CV then the chances of getting even a reply are pretty much zero.

    I could not bring myself to adding a couple of inches to my height, boosting my job title, or posting a fake photo.

    So I gave up after zero returns on 50 contacts (all individual, no copy/paste). I tell you, not even an acknowlegment!

  • lrnelson

    I met my current boyfriend of almost two years via OkCupid. Before that I’d tried and can honestly say that I never had a gods-awful date, though of course there were plenty of people I didn’t click with.

    I really treat online dating just like dating in general–sometimes it sucks, sometimes there are creeps who seem great at first but turn out to be icky, but sometimes you really click with someone and it turns out great. For me, the best things about it are:

    1) being forced to define what your top priorities are in a partner

    2) getting to date people WAY outside of your immediate circle that you otherwise might never have met

    3) not having to do the whole “is he single? / does he want to date me? / are we just friends?” dance, given that you’ve both (in most cases) been up front about what you’re seeking.

    As a straight girl, I do think it’s a lot harder for straight guys, though, and I sympathize with guys who are embittered by not getting any responses. For the record, not all girls get bombarded with offers, and sometimes it seems really random. When I was on (for about a year) I would have a month where I would get three or four messages a day, and then another month where I might get zero.

  • Caitlin

    I tried online dating via Okcupid in college and it was a really bad experience. I was harassed and stalked by one guy I never messaged or dated. Then there was a guy who was in the military and we messaged back and forth and eventually dated when he returned from his deployment. However, long story short he ended up being one of those abusive types who kept me depressed and dependent on him until my glorious best friend intervened. Lastly there was the the guy who I met and went on two-ish dates with. However he went to jail for allegedly beating up his mom and he called me literally 30 times per day from jail wailing “C* I LOVE YOU!!!!” Then he started stalking me and sending me threatening messages after he got out of jail. I had to call the police to keep him away from me. I did meet a couple of cool guys who were quite fun to date, but the relationship went no where (which is fine). My advice to people who date online is that you have to hold your dates to a really high standard and make them pass all your red flag tests with flying colors before you consider them seriously. Be careful who you decide to meet. For the love of god, tell people where you are and who you’re with when you go out.

  • Dom

    I online dated years ago and haven’t done it since. Most were duds, as in the kind who lied about everything from their job to their weight to their interests; this is something I don’t understand, since you get found out. One guy was particularly sleazy; luckily, I googled him successfully before meeting him. He’d meet women specifically to write about his sexual encounters with them and post the stories online. I saw these, washed the slime off, and took a pass.

  • Robin

    I tried it a while ago, and my first date resulted in a two month relationship. I wonder if it might be easier if you’re gay, because there is less presumption about who should take what step. One funny thing about it is you have the same dating pool as anyone you’re interested in; we had a conversation about a month in and realized we had been messaging with all the same people.

  • Ella

    I made an OKC profile a few months ago and have had a fair amount of success. The biggest draw online dating has can also be a weakness — when presented with so many people it’s hard to assess them. I had to just not even look at the profile of guys who messaged me with whom I had a lower than 90% match because I just didn’t have the time to evaluate everyone. It was like SAT scores or something — I didn’t have the time to read everyone’s “application”. However, I’ve been out with several guys off the site, and I haven’t had a single Bad Date — a bunch there was just no spark with, some I went on a date or two with and then things fizzled, a couple that were just kind of boring, but no one creepy or with whom I felt unsafe or who were being super dishonest about who they were or what they did. I have, however, learned to subtract about two inches from everyone’s height unless they say they’re 6’2 or over, hah.