Online dating is hands down the easiest way to meet other people who are single and interested. It is also the way of meeting people you are most likely to want lie to your friends about.
While online dating may be easier, it doesn’t lend the most romantic answer to “how did you meet?” After all, “We met on OkCupid!” isn’t nearly as romantic as “we met in a bar.”
Oh wait, neither really involve champagne and roses.
Still, it’s hard to deny that online dating has stigma attached. In some ways, it’s not that hard to see why.
I’ve found that there is always a reason someone is on OkCupid (the only dating site I’ve used). Sometimes, the reason is a lack of taste for bars and the hookup culture that such settings provide. But just as often, the reason is complete lack of social skills.
Luckily, that level of oddness is normally easy to spot even through the lens of digital communication. A few messages are enough to tell if the person you are interested in hooking up with has the ability to hold up their side of the conversation.
One click over to their profile and you know if other assets make up for lack of conversational skills.
I admit, I let myself be much more shallow online than I do in real life. After all, I am putting myself into a dedicated dating pool: I might as well utilize the arbitrary selection process to it’s fullest. When scarcity and “I need to get laid now, and I don’t care by who” are taken out of the equation, a little more opportunity for pickyness enters into things.
My favorite part of online dating, however, is the fact that it is the closest I am ever going to get to being able to hand out sex surveys. OkCupid utilizes a matching algorithm using multiple choice questions submitted by the users.
Given that OkCupid has the youngest demographic of the dating sites, it has the highest percentage of people just looking for a hookup. Really, it’s no surprise that a good chunk of their questions involve sex.
Even better, the site compiles data for you on whether the person is more or less kinky than average, as well as reporting on other character traits. Overall, for someone who likes everything neat and statistical, online dating is a win.
But then, once you’ve picked someone who doesn’t seem like a complete weirdo and that you find attractive, it’s time to make that leap off the Internet and into real life.
This perhaps is the scariest part of online dating for some people. One guy I was exchanging messages with mentioned that if he was a serial killer, using OkCupid to find victims would be a terrible idea because it creates a digital trail. While a good point in general, this comment did not give me the warm and fuzzies.
Like I said, it’s not hard to spot the weirdos.
Still, even if smart serial killers don’t use the Internet to find victims, beware of the dumb ones: Meet in public, tell a friend where you are going and don’t go anywhere alone with the guy (or girl) if you have a bad feeling about it.
But, after basic safety precautions and a little leg work, online dating opens up the buffet. Whether you are looking for something serious or just “friendly,” you’ll find someone else looking for the same thing.
In fact, if you are just looking for something casual, online is perhaps the ideal place to find it.
Traditional routes for meeting people include classes and mutual friends. Both are avenues toward potentially awkward situations.
If you start sleeping with a friend of a friend, you either end up hiding the fact you are having sex or awkwardly explaining that you are having sex but not seriously. Better yet, you could put yourself in the position of having to figure out how to gently break up with someone you weren’t actually dating in the first place.
Hooking up with a classmate means the potential of an entire semester interacting with someone you never want to see again.
Online offers the opportunity to find someone to have sex with that is entirely disconnected from the rest of your life. This severely limits the opportunity for drama.
A terrible first date with someone online means one message with a “thanks but no thanks” and you never have to communicate with them again. Message optional.
Whether you are interested in casual sex, serious dating or anything in between, moving the search to the Internet offers a host of benefits. From a quick and easy way to check and check off criteria, to a hassle free way to ditch the duds, it’s easy to see the perks. So if the only major drawback is social stigma, no one but you needs to know how you really met.