When You're Doing Online Dating, Sometimes You Really Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover

When you’re an only child, sometimes you find yourself in unique situations. One of those situations is when you’re on vacation with your family and you’re all out at dinner and both of your parents want to weigh in on your dating life, because they both want grandchildren and think that you have ridiculous standards. In their defense, that may be true. In my defense, I’m nowhere ready to be settled down like that, unless the person is really, REALLY special.

Last night at dinner in an elegant steakhouse, my parents and I were loudly discussing my approach to Match.com. It was brought up that perhaps I’m too quick to dismiss potential matches. Which may or may not be accurate. Probably the former. I argued that I shouldn’t be settling or lowering my standards, because I work hard on myself and deserve someone who also brings enough to the table. It was then suggested that online dating gives an unfair advantage to people who write well/for a living.

I realized that maybe my parents had a point.

Online dating is tough. You have just a few paragraphs to make yourself seem cool but not cocky, but also not like a complete weirdo who lives in their mom’s basement and plays with Stars Wars action figures every day. It’s a tough blend, and you have to find just the right words to do that. That’s a tall order. I write all day every day and am still uncomfortable with the quality of my Match profile. I can’t imagine if I hated writing or dreaded doing it. It would be like someone asking me to solve calculus problems in order to prove my worth to a potential match. Umm…yeah. I’d probably die alone, because the only thing I know about calculus is that u + me = us (see the Wikipedia page for the band 2gether if you don’t get that reference).

So is it totally fair to pass a quick judgement because someone added in one weird line or phrase in their profile? Probably not.

Sarcasm typically doesn’t translate well in writing, as you probably know. Jokes that can are hysterical when told in person can seem nerdy when you’re reading them instead of hearing the other person say them. The people who seem short or gruff online may just not know what to say or may not be good at talking about themselves on cue like that.

You can still have some parameters while you’re cruising the Match.com scene. That’s completely fine. But I’m realizing that it’s important to give someone a fair shot before completely ruling them a “no thanks.” Exchange a few e-mails first. Have lunch. Grab a quick drink. You may realize that the thing you thought was super weird on their profile is actually not a big deal at all, and that it just didn’t translate well online. That’s the mentality I’m going to try to maintain, anyway.

How do you approach online dating? Do you think it’s a worthwhile way to meet people? 


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