27 April 2009

Online dating, take two

By: Jessica B.
That’s right, I’m getting back out there!

My experience at eHarmony was a big FAIL. Apparently on its compatibility scale, I am undesirable for just about everyone in the Chicago area, so I decided to bail on that and go with Match.com, which a few other of my friends have had luck with.

Online dating, take two!
I’ve been on Match.com now for a little over two weeks and it is dramatically different from eHarmony (but not in a bad way) and has made me feel overwhelmed and surprised at the same time.
Mostly, because there are men on Match.com that actually seem interested in me and my profile. Or that “new profile” smell is still on me, either one.
Within 24 hours of signing up, my personal e-mail was flooded with “winks” and even a few e-mails, all with guys who were interested.
To be fair, about 40 percent of those guys I was actually also interested in, but hey, a girl likes a self-esteem boost every now and again. Except when creepy 45-year-old guys send you a double entendre e-mail or guys e-mail asking if you think they’re cute (most of the time, they’re not).
And every day, I open up my e-mail to find a few more winks or e-mails from other guys that seem to find me interesting. I mean, it’s flattering but also overwhelming. At one point, I almost said, “good lord not another one.”
I know, beggars can’t be choosers.
But now two of the guys I’ve exchanged very casual e-mails with want to meet in person! After only an e-mail? I know it’s more of a “job interview” meet up but still, so soon?
Here is where I’m torn. I’m curious to meet them too, but wonder if they are a possible “Craigslist” copy-cat killer, only on Match.com or how I bail if they turn out to be a) not as cute in person or b) not interesting.
Do I expect they will pay for the drink we’re meeting up for? Well, one guy said he doesn’t believe men should always have to make the first move, so I’ll guess that we’ll be going Dutch on that one.
What do you all think? Should I take a chance and meet them for a drink, or is it too much too soon? Personally, I think a few more e-mails might not hurt, but I might be overthinking this one.

48 Comments

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  3. RebeccaC says:

    Just read Joy/Big Time Fancy’s comment over and over and over and go sip your beer with a smile your face. Let me know what time I should call to check in (provide a possible “work emergency” excuse). Good luck.

  4. b. says:

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  5. vazenchick says:

    Okcupid.com is WAAAAAAY better than E Harmony or Match.com – seriously! Try it! You’ll love it!

  6. Miss Grace says:

    Don’t meet them if you’re not comfortable giving them your phone number. Face to face meetup is even more personal than a phone call, yknow?

  7. Maxie says:

    Go for it! just be safe and do it someplace public and let your friends know where you’re going. The worst that can happen is you have a crappy hour or so. It’s worth the risk!

  8. Tracey says:

    i met my current boyfriend of a year, who is moving in this week, on plentyoffish.com. prior to him the guys on that site weren’t the greatest, probably because it’s free. i did match for awhile and a free trial on eharmony.

    all in all, i second what everyone here is saying, especially the one about letting someone know where you’re going. i always gave a friend the guy’s name, email and phone if i had it too. maybe a little obsessive, but true.

    as for the timing thing, it’s really just preference. i used to like to wait awhile but it also got tiresome when i really started to like someone online or on the phone, and then we met and there was no chemistry. that is more disappointing in my eyes because the longer you talk the higher the expectations get.

    current boy and i talked for about a month before we met, but that’s because we lived two hours apart. and he’s a serious slow mover.

    good luck and just have fun! especially during the summer in the city, you can have lots of festival dates and stuff!

  9. EP says:

    Maybe set something up where you bring a friend with you? I think that might be the safest situation altogether.

    I’ve never done the online dating thing, but one of my friends is head over heels for a chick he met on eHarmony in February…

  10. Katelin says:

    i say why not?! meet them and have fun with it. but yay for tons of guys, at least you have a pick right? haha.

  11. Cheryl says:

    It is SUCH a balancing act. I personally think a few getting to know you emails are in order. Nothing too much, just like where are you from, how long have you lived in the city type stuff. It gives you even a tiny bit of comfort before meeting them in person. Also for ANY date, no matter how you got it, bring money or a way to pay for yourself and see what he does. If he reaches for the bill, offer to pay. If he says he’ll get it, let him get it.

    Oh and meet him at the restaurant/bar/whatever.

    And there you have Cheryl’s rules for dating… :)

  12. Maris says:

    I like the boy to pay on the first date. I know, I knowwww I’m a jerk.

  13. A Super Girl says:

    OK, so as I was reading these comments I just kept getting mroe and more terrified of online dating!!

    I think Erin’s and Nilsa’s comments are the best of the bunch. Stay aware, meet in public, don’t have them pick you up, etc. etc. Really, it’s all common sense, which, from what I know of you, you seem to have!

    Also, I bet you probably have decent instincts about men, so you should be able to tell who’s in it for real or who’s in it for a hook-up. Or who could potentially be dangerous. Those thoughts never even crossed my mind when I tried online dating a few years ago, because I knew what I was looking for and felt like I had the instincts and common sense to weed out the losers.

    But, a good way to do that is to make them wait to meet you. So give it a few more e-mails. I’m always one for honesty and explaining why I want to wait to meet. I agree there’s a fine line between waiting too long and just long enough. But it’s a good test if you say you’re not ready to meet and the guy bails.

    Good luck and I’m looking forward to blog fodder!!

  14. Cass says:

    I say go for it if you feel any interest, just make sure it’s in a public place, etc. etc. Most guys I’ve met on there I could tell right away after an email or two if they were decent.

    I met my boyfriend on match.com and been together over a year. We emailed I think twice and went straight for the full blown dinner. I’d probably suggest drinks first but if you like them you could always do the dinner later.

  15. I used eHarmony and Match.com and hated both. eHarmony didn’t have enough matches and Match.com had tons of matches, but no one I was interested in. Lots of douches in NJ, sadly.

    I used OKCupid to meet my currently boyfriend. We exchanged long messages for 2 weeks, chatted on the phone for hours for another 2 weeks, and then finally met for our first date, which lasted 7 hours.

    We’ve been together 4.5 months now.

    I’d say, do what you’re comfortable with. Sometimes if you go out with someone right away, you end up disappointed. But phone calls and emails can be misleading too. If you’re curious, what do you have to lose?

  16. Jersey says:

    I’m a Match vet… and I actually prefer eHarm because I think the guys are more serious about relationships. I’ve found that the guys on Match are looking for one thing- The Hook-Up and Ditch. Buuuuut… I’d say it’s ok to ask to talk on the phone or IM first before meeting them. But when you do, make sure its in a public place! Good Luck!

  17. amanda says:

    I haven’t had any personal experience with online dating, but I’ve had a number of friends who haven’t found guys on Match and JDate (I hang out with a lot of Jews, haha), and I definitely think you should email for a while before meeting up. Then you can make sure you are only meeting the cream of the crop :)

  18. I am like you I always think what if. I think a few more e-mails is a smart thing. And if you think you are really in to them. Then ask them to meet up at a public place (such as starbucks or a place that is always busy). That way you will feel safe and see if one of these guys is someone you want to keep seeing.

    P.S. if never hurts for a girl to own pepper spray :)

  19. I am like you I always think what if. I think a few more e-mails is a smart thing. And if you think you are really in to them. Then ask them to meet up at a public place (such as starbucks or a place that is always busy). That way you will feel safe and see if one of these guys is someone you want to keep seeing.

    P.S. if never hurts for a girl to own pepper spray :)

  20. SoMi's Nilsa says:

    So, here are a few thoughts from the girl who met her husband on match.com … first, I think the craigslist asshole really is a d-bag who screwed up expectations for a lot of people. There are thousands of people doing online dating – doing it safely and with a lot of fun – don’t let one person scare you out of doing it. Just be smart about it. Stay in public places, don’t give away too much personal information, etc. until you know someone well enough to go private. Ya know?

    Second, for me personally, I think it’s presumptuous for women to expect men to pay for everything. Just like I think it’s presumptuous for women to expect a minimum number of carats in an engagement ring. But, clearly there are people with those expectations. And so, the only thing I can tell you is that not every date is going to be perfect. It’s all about finding a person who is a good match for you. And you won’t be able to figure all this stuff out before you meet someone in person. Use match.com to filter out guys you know you have nothing in common with, but don’t be shy to meet up with guys in person. There are a lot of people out there who won’t wait around for people who want to dilly dally with email for weeks.

    Good luck and have fun!

  21. I’ve had a little experience with the whole online dating thing and I think after doing it for awhile the faster I meet them the better. I feel like if I talk to a guy for a long time there’s more pressure and expectations. I’d rather just find out right away if there’s anything there in PERSON without wasting my time talking online for a few weeks and having nothing come of it.

    Just make sure to be safe and always meets in public yada yada..

    Good luck!

  22. Maybe you could meet up for a coffee during the day instead of going out for drinks? It’s easier to leave, and you get a first impression at least.

  23. Lil' Woman says:

    I agree, a couple more emails cant hurt anyone..if there not Killy McKillers than they should have no problem waiting a couple more days/weeks! : )

  24. It is more like – take 24 for me with online dating! I never thought I’d try it again but yet I am…again.

    What I have learned is to not over-think things. And I always thought it was better to email with the guy a long time (months) before meeting. This was ALWAYS a disappointment/let down when we met in person. It creates false expectations of the guy. And later feels like all those months were a waste of time! This is why guys like to meet soon.
    E-mail over a week, talk on the phone and then meet him at a very busy bar for a happy hour drink. Have an easy out.
    Say you have a class to get to at the gym at 8:00 or something. Always have an out!

    Good luck.

    TudorCityGirl

  25. Arielle says:

    It sort of depends. You do want to email a bit before meeting to check them out a little more, but you don’t want to email to the point where you’ve covered all the typical first date-y type conversations. Otherwise it’ll be sort of awkward (more awkward than a blind date normally would be!). So you have to find that happy medium.

  26. Maki says:

    Oh definitely you need to exchange few more emails to be sure. I’m very open minded person and I think there is nothing wrong with being online and meeting new love interests. But I also want you to make sure and be safe. If they’re really interested in you, then they should be okay with exchanging more emails, I’m not talking about a week long exchange, but few more = few more days? Sometimes, you just click and you feel safe, so do what you feel right.

    I am a firm believer of men paying the first date, regardless the situation. I have no problem going dutch afterwards, but I think men should pay for the first date or drink… Good luck, Jess!! I am sooo excited! Match.com is not bad at all – my friends signed up for it and have enjoyed it very much!!!

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  28. i say go for it, but maybe to make yourself a bit more comfortable exchange some more emails or become friends on facebook, etc.

    good luck!

  29. Andhari says:

    be careful on the dude who doesn’t believe men should make the first move. Really. it can be a cover for a lot of things, and he can’t be expected to treat girls like a princess.

    If you’re into that sort of thing, of course. I like to be treated like one lmao

  30. erin says:

    Oh! And I forgot to mention: meeting for happy hour makes for an excellent excuse to bail should you want to. You know, the old “Oh, sorry, I have dinner plans with my friends. Lovely meeting you!”

  31. erin says:

    Ooh, I have extensive Match.com experience. Here are my safety rules:

    First date, I pick the place. Usually a local bar or coffee shop, somewhere that is my “home turf”. Choosing a bar or coffee shop means you can have one beer or one coffee with them and then bail should you not be interested. Nothing worse than having to sit through a dinner with someone who is terribly boring. Believe me, I’ve done that.

    Make sure a friend knows where you’re going. This is nerdy, but if my mom knew I was on a first online date, she’d make me text her when I got home.

    Also, meet them there. I am weird about guys I don’t know knowing where I live. I tend to get to the place 15 minutes early so that they have to find me, but that is not a safety thing, more just a dorky thing I do so that I’m not the one searching the crowd for a person I’ve only seen a photo of.

    And finally, if you only have a beer or two or three and they insist on paying, let them. Though I always offer to pay for my own, but that’s just me.

    Good luck and have fun! Hopefully my “rules” don’t make it sound scary, I’ve never had a bad experience… unless you count the guys who were boring or obnoxious. Never any homicidal maniacs.

    Oh and one last thing, I’ve met guys after one or two emails and I’ve met them after weeks of emailing. I find I can’t tell if there’s chemistry until I meet them in person, so after awhile I started favoring meeting them sooner rather than later.

  32. Mandy says:

    I think a few more emails wouldn’t hurt. And a background check. Or at least a google search. LOL. Ok maybe not a background check but a few more emails and a google search. =)

  33. Jenn says:

    i think a few more emails and perhaps a phone call would be in order first. and if you do decide to meet one or both of them – make sure that you go to a well-lit area in PUBLIC. :) (not that you wouldn’t, but it seemed like the right advice to give!)

  34. Jen K says:

    I definitely was on Match for like 6 months. Talking on the phone really helped me weed out the “not interesting” ones.

  35. Blaez says:

    ps, never meet with them unless you’ve seen pictures and/or web cam. #2, make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you back home. #3 if possible, go with friends and break apart from the friends with them still there once your date arrives. that way you can feel more safe and secure.

    one of the scum bags i met with just for sex most likely would have turned disasterous if i hadn’t had my girls with me at the bar…

    not to scare you, just giving you experiences i had. don’t be scared! not all men are like that :) but i’m sure you know that! lol

  36. You should totally meet them. It’ll be fun :) Just take precautions.

    Carry mace.

    Meet in a public place.

    Don’t go back to their place (unless you’re all for that sort of thing, and then, only if you feel completely comfortable).

    Have a friend call you an hour into your date to check up on you.

    Meet somewhere that provides an easy exit in case you’re not into the guy (coffee shops work well for this).

    The guy should pay. But don’t be mean and order expensive things.

  37. Blaez says:

    everyone has thier opinions, here's mine:

    I have used dating services online. I have met a few bachelors from said dating services. My rules where these:

    Email/IM for a week or so-ish.
    Still interested? Talk on the phone for a week… Still want to meet up? Sure. We can do that.

    1 guy I ended up dating for a month solid. The others for a few weeks. We turned out to be imcompatable.

    Me and Joe talked via Email, Game & IM for about 2 months then we made the 1st phone calls. After another month we met up in person. It would have been sooner if he didn't live long distance…And the fact I was dating the one monther mentioned above when we first started talking!

    Know this tho: THEY ask YOU out, THEY pay! Atleast on the 1st date. Period. That's how I roll. 1st date should be paid for by who asked. So if you ask, fork it over :) unless otherwise negotiations are made before hand.

    Be warned: some guys I met up with wanted 1 thing and 1 thing only: to hook up for drinks (they paid) and to have sex. That's it. They wanted sex. I didn't give it. But you can pretty much tell. So I started my rules on length and also why I say you should wait before meeting up with them. To make sure they are not out for a quick hookup.

  38. Oh man. You are overthinking the fuck out of this one.

    Lady, you’re having beers with someone. Not a big deal. Don’t worry about money, because it’s not even a “date” it’s a “I’m making sure you’re sane and hot” tryout. If he wants to pay at the end, great. If he blows, have a friend set up to call you an hour or so into things and check in on you, so you can have an out if you need it.

    I promise promise promise it is not that bad/scary. And if it sucks, you can leave. Done and done.

  39. jamie says:

    I say go for a few e-mails…get familiar with him…as much as you can over email…

    Then, if he seems cool, drinks…

    As always, be careful! :)

  40. Kyla Roma says:

    I vote meet up with them casually, early – maybe after work drinks or an early dinner. It’s low key enough that you’ll be able to get a good read on them without it becoming a huge thing.

    As for the craigslist killer? I’ve always felt way more in danger when showing apartments than when going on dates – you’ll be fine =)

  41. Hazel says:

    i met my boyfriend off match and we met after emailing for a week. i thought that was a little long, but i’d rather have 3-5 emails sent than just one. but then again, some guys just want to meet instead of going back and forth over email so they can ask you things in person without having to wait for an answer in an email.

  42. Angela says:

    Here’s the thing: if these men asked you out, it means they are the host and that they should pay for the drinks. That’s just standard business etiquette in this day and age. If YOU suggested meeting up, YOU’D pay.

    Good luck meeting these fellas, I hope something good comes of it! ;)

  43. I don’t know…I met my ex off a dating site and we talked on AIM for a few hours the first night we exchanged e-mails. It was pretty obvious how much of a connection we had online, so it wasn’t surprising that we wanted to try it in person. That lasted a while. So…go with your gut.

  44. Melissa says:

    Wow! After one email does seem a little bit quick to be meeting- but, hey, if you’re curious, why not? :)
    I’d say go dutch. Or, at least, expect to go dutch. That way you aren’t unprepared if that’s what he had in mind- or you’ll be happily surprised when he takes the bill.
    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

  45. April says:

    Yeah… I would go with the more emails before meeting. And make sure the emails include a few pictures so you can quell the fear of meeting up and having to weasel out of a date with an ugger. Yay shallowness, right? (:

  46. I’m a match veteran (just not a successful one! I do like Match MUCH better than eharmony, i never met one guy off of that.) and I’m the type of person who wants to meet up with them in person as quickly as possible, I feel that too much emailing and phone conversations can lead to it not ever progressing any further.

    I would agree to go, but make the date next week, that way you have time to talk to him until then. Hopefully you’ll be more comfortable by then!

    And if its bad, first make them pay and then blog about it ;) It provides for some great fodder. Good luck!!!

  47. I’m a match veteran (just not a successful one! I do like Match MUCH better than eharmony, i never met one guy off of that.) and I’m the type of person who wants to meet up with them in person as quickly as possible, I feel that too much emailing and phone conversations can lead to it not ever progressing any further.

    I would agree to go, but make the date next week, that way you have time to talk to him until then. Hopefully you’ll be more comfortable by then!

    And if its bad, first make them pay and then blog about it ;) It provides for some great fodder. Good luck!!!

  48. Moonjava says:

    Hey, hmm, I would say in this day and age, a few more emails shouldn’t kill them. Should make you all the more enticing right, keeping the mystery alive and all that jazz. I’m a cautious person, so in my opinion I’d exchange a few more emails or even phone calls just to make sure the dude isn’t creepy (reading text and hearing a guy’s voice are two totally different things). If the guy’s worth it, he’d be ok waiting a little more to meet.

    I’m actually debating the whole online thing as well. So I guess match.com is better than eH?

 

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