Add in a parent, and it gets weirder. I managed to turn only a few of those responses into conversations and they would typically die on the vine. I gave up and now, a few years later, my parents are killing it? What could a couple of baby boomers trying to find love through the Internet teach me, a web-savvy twenty-something, about online dating?
The digital divide compounds that, she says. It certainly was for my dad, who kindly let me quiz him about his online dating experiences over pizza and beer for this story. Dad is a little jaded, apparently.
He is a successful manager in his mids working in the oilpatch, which makes him an attractive commodity in the dating pool.
Over a period of about four months, he tried a variety of online services: Plenty of Fish, eHarmony and Match. He was never on more than one site at one time and he often deactivated his account once he had two or three dates with a woman. He was mostly worried about seeming like he was a player trying to hook up with as many women as possible. Some of his complaints: Dad is old-school when it comes to making connections.
After exchanging a few messages with a woman, Dad planned a first date: Five minutes into the meal, however, he realized he was in for a long night. Ever the gentleman, he stuck to the plan, finished the movie, dropped her off and went to his local watering hole to recover.
He let her down easy. Keep it casual and treat the first date more like a job interview. Unfortunately, casual comes with its own problems. The dog was running all over the park and my dad was doing his best to have a conversation with his date while trying to distance himself from her and her unruly mutt. The dog jumped another couple trying to have a quiet moment in the park. It seems obvious, but this was good advice. For the lucky ones, that might be true.
The rest of will have to settle for someone who is a great match but not a perfect fit. Having dinner with him there is often preceded by a round of introductions to the bartenders, wait staff and bar flies. She is, however, currently dating a man whom she met through eHarmony. Her friends had reported mixed experiences with online dating. Some hated it; others found their second husbands online. After paying for an eHarmony subscription for six months, she had a few month-long relationships before she got together with her current beau.
Like many women who date online, she found her inbox sometimes flooded with messages. Overall, she has a pretty good impression of eHarmony. I liken it to paying cover at nightclubs: My mom smartly armed herself with a chain-mail coat of skepticism as she explored online dating.
They met, exchanged messages, but then stopped communicating. He tried again a few months later, but she was seeing someone else. Their long courtship had a lot to do with circumstance: Eventually they did, hit it off and Mom dropped her eHarmony subscription. Her success might have a lot to do with her expectations. Moffitt believes that, as you gain experience with dating, relationships and marriage, you learn to value someone you enjoy spending time with. It was awkward, but helpful.
Writing a profile about yourself is a surreal experience because you have no idea what to say. Still, Dad asked me questions and made suggestions to put in my description. Maybe it was the whisky talking, but the conversation was more of a philosophical discussion about relationships than one about online profiles. The introductory questionnaire from Plenty of Fish touches on everything and helps form the basis for how you are matched with people on the website.
It just made sense for me and your mom at the time. Once all the boxes were filled in and the pictures selected, I was ready to call it a night. Dad insisted I message at least four potential matches. I did, somewhat begrudgingly, but he was right.
In my experience, the world of online dating is still very traditional in that guys are expected to make the first move and girls get to wade through a flood of potential suitors. In reality, women make the first move almost half the time, says Moffitt. I tried my best to craft some conversation-starting messages, sent them off and promised to tell my dad how I fared.
A few days later, I thought it would only be fair to give my mom a shot at critiquing my profile. It would be a perfect end to the story if I had met someone through online dating, but my PoF profile has resulted in zero dates thus far. According to Moffit, who in our phone interview correctly marks me as somewhat of a nerd, I should play to my zombie strengths.
I want to do that with you. Sure, Dad may come off as bitter, but his complaints about the experience are justifiable: Mom had a good experience, but she approached it with the right mix of expectation none and skepticism a lot. But there is no easy answer for those looking for love.