You have all seen the commercials. One in five relationships nowadays begins online. More marriages come from Match.com than from any other dating site. And online dating is a burgeoning business. Revenue dollars have exceeded those amassed in the porn industry. Since my haphazard membership streak started a year and a half ago, there have been almost 10,000 views on my dating profile. (That’s not a typo, that’s just a shocking statistic of my own.) Out of nearly 10,000 virtual clicks, I have actually clicked with just a handful of people. I am beginning to think this is all just a big heap of useless fodder they’re feeding me through the internet. Sadly, I’m still connected to this match-making feeding tube. For the mean time, at least.
There are other, less-publicized facts that I’d be more than happy to promulgate. Truth be told, there’s a lot of lying going on online. Women are most likely to stretch the truth about their body image and age. In a rare display of conservatism, I chose “about average” as the most accurate of the drop-down alternatives describing my body. Other choices include “slender,” “athletic and toned,” and “curvy.” I could feasibly fit into two of those three categories. I mean, I’ve completed a half marathon and have no problem filling out a T-shirt. I’d guess I would much rather under-promise and over-perform in the dating realm. In the business arena, we diplomatically call it “managing expectations,” and so that’s what I did. During one dinner, when we got up from the table, my date unabashedly gave me a once-over. He commented, “I thought you were going to be fat – that’s what ‘about average’ translates to on Match.” There he stood, a published author in The Economist, giving me online dating tips about my body type.
Women aren’t the only ones hiding little white lies. When men don’t quite measure up (that’s not what I mean), they’re content to add a couple inches to their height. And when their wallets are not as padded as they would like, a little untruth is understandable. Cursory inspection of guys’ profiles tells me that ninety-five percent of males in the DC metro area purport to be “athletic and toned.” That is incongruous with my unofficial observations.
What is most disturbing might be purposeful omissions. Statistically speaking, out of my 10,000 views, nearly 1,000 of those males have a different profile altogether; they’re sex offenders. Sex offenders range from the I-was-caught-urinating-in-public lot to the abominable group our mothers warned us about when walking home late at night. Regardless, it’s something I certainly keep in mind when wading through the winks and messages.
Now that the topic of sex offenders has been laid to rest, on to the topic of getting laid. Online dating facilitates quite a bit of offline action. One source claims that one-third of women sleep with the guy on their first encounter. More alarmingly, the follow-up asserted that eighty percent of that contingent are getting it on sans protection. How repugnant. It’s no wonder I sometimes opt to hide behind a screen.
I think now’s as good a time as any to make an admission of my own: I am a terribly annoying anomaly in the world of online dating. If these guys think I’m easy to bed, they’re in for an unpleasant surprise. I certainly didn’t join in an effort to thwart so many sex-seeking males, but in the end I did just that. Number of correspondences? Probably close to a hundred. Number of people whose dates actual came to fruition? Nearly forty. Number of Match.com males who could truthfully assert that we’ve actually done the dirty? Zero. That’s right. I’ve had a few sexless sleepovers, a fair number of action-free adventures, and numerous no-nookie dates. Even for the modicum of males who’ve successfully gotten my pants off, there’s always a persistent buzzing. “We’re not sleeping together.”
And I’d like to applaud a lot of the guys for their valiant efforts at nailing me. “I’ve got a condom,” Paul prematurely declared. I told him to take good care of that condom since he wouldn’t be needing it with me.
It’s not that chastity belts are en vogue, it’s just that I still think sex is important. Admittedly, I feel a small surge of pride when I think about how I can count my number of partners on one hand while balancing a glass of wine in the other. Sex means different things to different people; I don’t judge others’ actions, but I do want to keep mine in check. It’s a personal thing. In fact, only one guy in my two and a half years of being single has managed to seal the deal. That seal, though, was in the works for more than six months. Once I gave in, all bets were off. More on that later.
In the end, not all guys have a criminal record. Some actually are truthful about their inches and income. And a good number are actually looking for love. This journey is requiring more endurance than my half marathon, but I’m determined he is still out there. Here’s to lucky 10,001.
Author’s Note: You can take a look at these staggering facts for yourself – http://www.zimvi.com/?p=2897