I’ve been divorced for going on two years now. Half the week and every other weekend, I have my daughter with me, so I’m happy, content, fulfilled, life is good. The other half of the week and every other weekend, I’m lonely. I hang out with my parents a lot. Not that I mind hanging out with my parents, they’re great company, but it’s still hanging out with my parents. I go to the movies, usually by myself. I putter around the house, read, watch TV and talk to the cat. It’s not as exciting as it sounds.
Around Christmas time, I decided I should try doing something to make myself less lonely. But it’s not like it was when I was younger. Apparently people don’t meet each other in the real world anymore. Being out of school and with all the attention on workplace harassment, I’m not even sure it’s possible to meet someone in the real world. Everything is done online. That’s OK. It’s not like I’m a luddite. I decided to give the online thing a shot.
I started with a site called Tastebuds. It’s free, which is nice, and it’s supposed to pair you with people based on musical tastes. That seems right up my alley. I filled out a profile including a whole bunch of musicians that I enjoy, let the magic algorithms do their thing and found out that there is no one who shares my tastes in music. So, I went back to my profile and added some more popular bands, like the Beatles and Stones, and found out that there are only a handful of people who share my tastes in pop music, but none of them seemed to be within fifty miles of me. It was a discouraging first attempt.
But, for half the week and every other weekend, I have nothing but time, so I kept at it. I created a profile on OKCupid. It’s also free, I haven’t tried a paid site yet. This site asks you to answer a ton of questions and then ranks possible matches by the percentage of questions you answer the same. At least you know you have something in common, I guess. But I quickly noticed that you can’t tell very much about a person by reading their profile. It’s like everyone read the same “how to fill out your profile” article and followed it to the letter. Did you know that every single woman in the greater Hartford area likes the outdoors, especially the beach? They all like to hike and kayak, too. They love to travel and see live music. They go to the gym regularly. And they also like staying in, especially with that certain someone. I can’t really blame them. I’m sure all the guys’ profiles look the same, too. It just makes it hard to tell if I’m interested or not. I have not had much success with OKCupid. I’ve chatted with a handful of women and I went on one first date (and no second dates). That’s about it.
When OKCupid didn’t seem to be working, I tried Bumble. A friend told me about it. Their gimmick is that women always make the first move. I can imagine that women are constantly getting harassed on these sites, so it’s nice to give them the power. Plus, I found the other sites to be very old fashioned in their gender norms. It’s always up to the guy to make the first move. I thought Bumble might take some of the pressure off. It is set up basically like Tinder, swipe right if you like someone’s profile and left if you don’t. But I find I have trouble swiping left. I feel bad whenever I do it. It’s not like they get a message that someone didn’t like them every time it happens, but I feel weird judging someone on a couple of pictures and 300 words. They may be great, they may be terrible, it’s not like I can tell. Bumble has been my most successful dating app. I’ve probably chatted with about a dozen different women and I’ve gone on two first dates (again no second dates).
I’ve also tried Tinder and Plenty of Fish, but I’ve had absolutely no luck on either of them. The longer I do this, the more I think I’m just not cut out for the world of online dating. I’ve always been the type to get to know someone before deciding if I’m interested or not. There’s no room for that online. I’m antiphotogenic, so I’m sure my profiles don’t pop. And I’ve never been really outgoing, and reserved doesn’t make a great first impression. So, I’m stuck. There’s no way to meet someone offline, and I’m no good at online. Maybe I need to go old school and start getting friends to fix me up with people. When I was in my twenties I had a couple of friends that used to like to try. They were never successful, but it was no worse than online dating.