Monday, July 20, 2009
Jenna Versus the Interweb
I can't stop laughing at this photo.
So the panic has subsided a bit, and I'm taking long, deep breaths about the idea of this internet dating thing. After talking to some folks (including Kat who has a boyfriend for just about ever and for whom this is all hypothetical, thus I take her calm logic with a grain of salt), I've realized that this could possibly be a lot of fun. Well, maybe good for a laugh or two at least. After spending way too much time trying to figure out how to make myself most marketable (choosing photos, writing and rewriting witty internet banter, I think that I'm ready. Plus browsing around the personals on nerve.com and The Onion hasn't been an AWFUL way to spend my insomnia ridden evenings...it's rather interesting to see the attempts of others, as well.
But this is all still in the realm of not interacting with actual people. It's indulging in a kind of voyeurism, kicking back, and hoping that something nice comes along. That is, until Kat and I get drunk and she starts emailing suitors she finds acceptable in all sorts of sassy, one sentence variations. I squeal and blush and write the post that immediately precedes this one. A few days later, I calm down and think that I could maybe do it myself. What the hell? It's not like I know these people. A sort of faux confidence sets in. And then a couple of guys actually email me back. Confidence disappears. What do I say? Do I meet these guys for a drink? When I do, what will we talk about? What if it's absolutely awful and awkward? I find it hilarious that I'm one of the most socially comfortable people I know (I'm great in a room full of people I don't know at a party or professional situation), but put me in a bar on a date and I'm an absolutely self conscious mess.
So I'm nervous at first, I sort of still am...BUT I had a few good thinks and conversations on the subject and decided I have little to nothing to lose. At the very least you practiced meeting a new person and working on your uncomfortable break the first date tension conversation. And you know that you're meeting someone who is ALSO interested in meeting new people. Plus, you kind of know what they look like so it's not quite as bad as a totally blind date. The reasons I think that people also look for new friends and companions online is because they're trying to date outside of their social circle, perhaps feeling sort of stagnant in their scene at present and seeking to expand their horizons. I can get down with that. I've been hanging out with the same guys since high school, and though I love them dearly, there's not exactly a lot of adventure into the unknown there.
The guy I've been emailing briefly, as a matter of fact, seems like quite a cultured fella who seems to suggest activities that are unique and interesting to me. So there's a start. We'll see what happens. I'm trying to go into this with an open mind and a great sense of fun. Like a grown up play date.
In the meantime, I'll enjoy what this strange, new world has to offer. And make some suggestions to all those looking to join me. The sites I've put profiles up on because they appear somewhat reputable and most importantly, free, are nerve.com and The Onion personals (owned by a company called Fast Cupid). If you log into the Onion personals through the Onion's website, you have much broader access to viewing the profiles of other users than if you log in through the Fast Cupid home page. It's obviously a bit of a scam to try to get you to pay for something that there's clearly a way around. Nerve is pretty much a free service that you can view everyone's profiles (and email anyone, maybe?), and I'm not really sure what this paid upgrade they're constantly pushing actually gets you. There's no way I think it's necessary to pay for anything when almost all social networking on the internet is free of charge and there are lots of ways to offer up alternative methods of communication without compromising your privacy. I'll let you know how that experiment goes. The other sites I've looked at and not been terribly thrilled by were OKCupid (which is insanely cheesy, albeit free) and Match.com (who really, really want you to pay for the service). The thing about Match.com, is that half the time, the other people you're looking at haven't paid for the service either, so even if you are a paying member, you can't email these people anyway. And I think that paying for this stuff is stupid.
The big scammers to watch out for, it would seem are Chemistry.com. Read all the horrible things people have to say about it here. I signed up for a free personality test or something and they WON'T stop emailing me even though I will never ever give them my money. They also keep sending me matches, but popping up the 'buy a membership' screen before you can even see these people that are allegedly "interested" in you. It smells like Sheepshead Bay to me.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the saga. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.