online dating- what happened?
I have spoken to my newly-divorced friend about online dating, but I can no longer recommend it much.
What has happened to online dating, anyway?
When I first dipped my toe in its waters back around 2002, Nerve/Salon/The Onion had a great dating website whereby you could have a hidden profile that you were able to send only to members you emailed. I liked that privacy, especially since I worked with the public and at that time was living in the mid-sized city. Also, you didn’t have to buy monthly memberships but simply paid a small fee each time you contacted someone. That site was taken over by Spring Street and more or less ruined.
In my mid-late thirties, when I moved to the large, coastal city, I was left with Match and OKCupid, but I did get a fair amount of dates out of them. Of course, I had to write the men first, but many responded and out of those, most set up dates. At the time I felt the response rate was low, but I had no idea how bad it would eventually get. The risk of exposure felt worth it because for the most part, I was getting decent dates out of the endeavor.
Cut to five years later. I dip my toe back in once or twice a year, but now many of the faces on those sites are ones I’ve seen on there for years. Facebook has arisen. I’m older– past the age of 40. And now I’m lucky if I get ONE person to respond to my emails. And usually that one person has some obvious flaw that would cause dating difficulty. It is simply not worth the risk, money, and time anymore. The payoff is zilch, and I end up feeling like I’m in the bargain bin, desperately hoping for someone, anyone, to purchase me at a huge markdown.
I have to laugh when I see those bitter posts by men saying that all women on dating websites are flooded with emails. I don’t have children and am slim and healthy and financially solvent, but my inbox sits empty.