There are some things I’m very good at – baking a cake, buying birthday gifts, folding a fitted sheet. Dating, unfortunately, is not one of them.
I’m a twenty-something woman living in Manhattan, working in marketing and “living the dream.” I like coffee, barre classes, avocado toast, and visiting the library. I basically have my life in order, except for one small detail: I have a ton of trouble when it comes to dating.
New York City is huge, so you would think that dating would be like shooting fish in a barrel; there are so many guys here that you’re just bound to bounce into someone interesting and attractive who eventually turns into something more. But in my experience living here for a handful of years, that situation has yet to pan out. So, like many a singleton before me, I decided to venture into the world of Online Dating.
Where (and Why) to Online Date in Your 20’s
I feel like ten years ago or so, online dating had a bit of a stigma. “What kind of weirdo needs to use the Internet to meet someone? Do you really have no social skills you need to rely on a site?”
Today, the geeks have inherited the earth, and online dating is, to bro out here for a sec, “super chill.” I mean, why wouldn’t I want to be introduced to a bunch of guys who’ve already expressed interest in the same super-specific television shows and fit the criteria of age and religion that I’m looking for? Honestly, it’s a fantastic idea.
I’d tried online dating apps like Tinder, and they were fun, but they felt more like a game than a real tool in helping me meet someone I wanted to date IRL (in real life). After much deliberation, I settled on two: Match. Both have great reputations, and also, if I’m being honest, I liked their television commercials the best. I work in marketing, so I appreciate those kinds of things.
Some things to keep in mind when creating your profile
One of the first things any online dating site will ask you to do will be to upload a photo. Personally, I spent 20 minutes combing through my Facebook photos this past week looking for a picture where I looked super attractive but also approachable. I feel like this must be a common occurrence among online daters. I ended up with a head shot from my friend’s wedding this past fall.
The better sites will also go through a bunch of questions to better articulate to their user base your background and personality. You would think this would be easy, since who knows me better than myself? But while I did know I didn’t have children and had graduated college, I legitimately spent 5 minutes trying to decide if my body type was slim or athletic.
Also, and I’m going to be very upfront about this, I lied how tall I was (on all the sites)! I know, I know, but I said I was 5’0, when in reality I’m only 4’11. I just…couldn’t write 4’11. It looked too absurd, even though it’s the truth. But now you all know, so I hope you’ll keep my secret and not judge too harshly.
Signing Up for Zoosk, going in reverse alphabetical order. The first thing the site asked me was to upload a picture – thankfully, I had already done the necessary legwork and had three possible options (I was always the kid who did her homework three days before it was due). Then I went through a compatibility questionnaire, so the site could find other users who had my interests and values.
Some example questions included tangible issues, like who should pay for the bill on a date, to more philosophical ones like what is most essential to your happiness?
Then I had a cute tutorial on how to use the site and wrote a few words about what I liked and what I was into. And then 8 minutes later, I had my first view! Haha!
Matching up with Match
Now that I was clearly a pro, I headed over to Match to create a profile over there. “Let’s get started and find you a date!” Match said when I went to create my profile. “Yes, that is the plan!” I replied.
The process was pretty similar to Zoosk, but what I liked about Match was they also asked me specific questions about things like my hobbies and not only if but how I liked to exercise. This was great because it would not only be on my profile, but also on the guys’ profiles as well, so we would have specific topics to talk about.
As I went through the profile creation process, I was gradually asked to answer both multiple-choice questions and write in questions, which really helped me build a good profile. To be honest, if left to my own devices I don’t think I would have created half as nice a profile as I ended up with.
The site asked me about my favorite local hotspots, any pets I like but don’t own (which is a really good question!) and let me pick a bunch of hobbies from a pre-selected list. That was really great, since I feel like I always freeze up when someone asks me what I like to do for fun, and I invariably end up mumbling something about Netflix and Bob’s Burgers.
I also appreciated that they asked me questions about my ideal man (“tell us a little more about him”) and asked if any of those ideal things were a deal breaker.
Online Dating Like a Pro
It seems you really have to know yourself to create a quality online dating profile. And that totally makes sense, since if you don’t know yourself, how can you expect to really know another person?
So, here I am, all signed up and ready to go. Now, have I gotten any interesting messages, winks or smiles? You’ll have to stay tuned…