Online Dating Seven Years Later

I was supposed to publish this post last week, but truth be told, I’ve been sick with something for more than two weeks and I just didn’t have the energy to finish it.  I’ve edited it to account for the delay. 

On a cold Saturday seven years ago, I was preparing for my first date with a guy I had met on the internet.

I was in a minor panic because our original plans involved catching an Islanders-Flyers game at Nassau Coliseum. I even confirmed with a season-ticket-holding friend that he would be there in the event my date turned out to be a psycho. When we found that all the remaining tickets were more than $100 a piece, we switched our location to an Applebees fairly close to my house.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the great food in Raleigh, my standards for restaurant fare have increased dramatically. Sorry not sorry, but Applebees really isn’t that good. 

To make a long story short, he got lost and called a coworker for directions. After he arrived and we got to chatting I said, “Oh, by the way, my best friend’s sister also works at Guitar Center. Do you know [sister’s name]?

He replied,”That’s who I called for directions.”

Of course, I had to text friend’s sister to thank her for providing directions to a date that she had no idea was with me.

Attending a birthday gathering about two months in. / After the Knot

Attending a birthday gathering about two months in. / After the Knot

As dinner continued, I figured that friend’s sister would tell friend. Friend would question sister about the sanity of my date. Friend would then decide if she should call with a fake emergency to get me the hell out of there.

This, of course, is exactly what happened between friend and her sister.

When dinner was over, we decided to head to a bar to watch the end of the hockey game. Since I never got the emergency text and at least one person knew definitively who I was with in case I disappeared (a very real thought that went through my head), I figured it would be totally OK to take the same car. When the bar became too loud to talk, we moved to Starbucks for coffee. About seven hours after our date had started it we were saying our goodbyes.

When the bar became too loud to talk, we moved to Starbucks for coffee. About seven hours after our date had started it we were saying our goodbyes.

Seven years later, that guy and I are married, living in a house in North Carolina with three cats (one’s “temporary”), a dog, and the plans to add another human to the mix this year.

When I was Your Age, There was no Swiping

By 2008, online dating was somewhat common. I guess you could say it was socially acceptable, but people still seemed to consider it a last resort.

Today, when I tell people that C and I met online, their response is the same as if we met in college, at work, or by any other traditional means. Back then, people usually stared uncomfortably and responded with, “Oh. Cool.”

I never really dated. Before settling down with C, I had three long-term relationships with very little single time in between. The dating world was completely foreign.

When it came to meeting people, online dating felt like the only viable option.

My college days were long gone so no chance of meeting someone there.

I had a strict rule about not dating people at work. That rule didn’t matter too much though. A few months after entering the dating world, I became a victim of the recession and left the world of the employed.

Most people try to meet others in bars. That was never really my scene. I’m naturally kind of shy and a bit socially awkward.

Online dating, oddly enough, was the only thing I felt somewhat comfortable with.

I started with OKCupid, mostly because the quizzes were fun and it was free. I later moved on to Yahoo! Personals because it was cheaper than Match or eHarmony.

I used this photo for my profile picture, back when selfies were just a picture you took of yourself when you thought you were having a great hair day. / After the Knot

Back when selfies were just a picture you took of yourself when you thought you were having a great hair day, I used this photo for my profile picture. / After the Knot

At the time at least, paid services seemed to attract people who were more serious about dating and relationships. Those types of people were easier to find than on the free sites, which seemed inundated with guys just looking to hook up.

If that’s your thing, that’s totally cool. It wasn’t mine.

I hear a lot about online dating now. It seems so much more complicated, whereas a few years ago, it was more simple.

I’m not saying that dating and meeting people was simple. That could still be difficult as dating generally is. But the world of online dating was more simplistic.

Like, I don’t get Tinder at all. I don’t get it in that old-lady-learning-new-technology kind of way.

In the, “When I was your age, if I saw a guy that I was interested in, I emailed him, there was none of this swiping business” kind of way.

Despite my impression that online dating has kind of become the digital version of a bar, I’m still a pretty big advocate. I know a lot of people that have been able to weed through all of the filth and come out the other end in some really awesome relationships.

I still meet people who aren’t sure if they should try it. I tell them that they should, but with all of the options these days, they should do a little research. At the very least, you want to sign up for something that is geared for whatever type of relationship you’re looking for.

And if all else fails, you could always become famous for drawing little penises on the photos of the guys that message you.

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