Podcast: GK and Rob Go Online Dating, Part I

by GK on February 10, 2011 · 4 comments

I’m old enough to remember a time when online dating was this new, semi-taboo novelty. It was seen as a bastion for awkward singles who couldn’t find a date in person. Which, coincidentally, is when I first tried it back in the late 90s/early 00s.

Now, in tech-crazy San Francisco, I’ve been considered weird for not dating online, and I’ve resisted it for years, just as I resisted getting a smartphone.

Well, I caved in and bought an iPhone this week, and for the last month I’ve been dating on Match.com for the first time. This was in part inspired by a former student of mine who offered to sponsor my three-month subscription, in return for my analysis. But also, it’s just been something I’ve wanted to try.

I’m a month into the experiment now, and my very non-single friend Rob is joining me to discuss it with some podcasts. In this first installment, we’ll delve into the following:

  • How easy it is to be overwhelmed by online dates in a big city like mine.
  • My complaints with the clunky Match Web site, and why I feel like a stalker on it.
  • Some tips I’ve learned about having a profile that stands out and sending interesting messages.
  • Why Rob wants to see me smile.

We’ll have more podcasts later. Oh, and perhaps you can help us with something: We’re trying to think of a snappy name for the podcasts Rob and I do together, and we’re coming up blank so far. So if you can think of a title that’s witty and not obscene, do let us know.

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{ 4 comments }

1 scn February 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm

The ending of this podcast is mangled and abrupt – it may have been corrupted.

I have a philosophical objection to online dating. I think it presumes that a person’s prospects as a romantic partner can be divined from his writing talent and/or facts about him listed in his profile. I find that dehumanizing. It creates a perfect environment for bad dating behavior, inviting women and men to become calculating and mechanically screen people out based on superficial qualities instead of how the other person makes them feel.

I think dating, even at the very beginning, should be based on and driven by the sparks, connection, and chemistry that can only come from face-to-face interactions. My last girlfriend “on paper” would have seemed a horrible fit for me, and I never would have agreed to meet her if I just read a dating profile of her.

Many reading this blog might agree properly engaging a woman to get a date should be about exchanging personal thoughts and feelings that leave both of you vulnerable to each other. Moreover, genuine revelations must organically emerge in reaction to the other person’s vibe. With communication constrained to typing into a computer and writing and reading “personal” profiles read by thousands of people, online dating makes starting genuine emotional exchanges difficult if not impossible, forcing everyone to set up first dates in canned, mechanical ways.

A great in-person interaction is required anyway. Inserting additional online steps in front of that makes the process longer, more cumbersome, and less accurate (lots of mediocre first dates). Why would a man with the mojo and talent to approach and emotionally engage attractive and interesting women in person have any need to go online? Whatever energy I might otherwise invest in my cyberspace game I’d rather invest getting my real-world, face-to-face game in shape so I can approach and meet more women in the real world.

2 GK February 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for the inspired thoughts, scn.

I share many of the same philosophical complaints with online dating as you. I do think it embodies some of the I-can-have-it-all-now tendencies of the digital age, and there is no match for in-person chemistry.

Taking philosophy out of it, I also see the need for online dating. Some people just don’t have the time to meet many dating partners in person, or they have specific qualities they’re looking for (ethnicity, religion being a couple of examples). And on both a quantitative and qualitative level, they can meet more prospects online. I will say, of the handful of Match girls I’ve met so far, while the chemistry wasn’t always there, they were all in my “league.”

If you’d rather get your face-to-face game sharpened, go for it and enjoy it. Just remember that for some people, “game” is irrelevant and they just want to meet the right person. Three of my cousins have recently married people they met online. They’ve never been so in love or happy. There’s something to be said for that.

3 scn February 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Whichever method of meeting girls is the most effective is the one I want to be investing all my time and energy into.

I too am looking for very specific qualities – my ideal woman is no less rare than a particular ethnicity or religion. I too would like to meet more prospects on a quantitative and qualitative level. I too have other highly valuable uses for my time like advancing my career. I too would much rather just skip all the hard work required to build the physical appearance, conversational acumen, and true grit needed to approach girls in person.

A dating philosophy that I need to disregard in favor of something else that’s practical is a bad dating philosophy. If online dating actually delivers better results than real-world approaching, then I’ll abandon real-world approaching and fully embrace the online world and it’s values.

If real-world approaching is more effective then I see no point in spending any time at all doing online dating.

4 GK February 18, 2011 at 12:16 am

Scn, maybe you could have an online dating experiment of your own! :) Then you can see if either way works better for you.

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