Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

3 Days in Hell (More Adventures in Online Dating)

I’ve written openly about the fact that I’m an active online dater.  I usually don’t use one of those fancy services that try to assist with the matching process.  Instead, I rely on the one that I’ve determined has the largest pool of men in my targest demographic that I might be interested in meeting (guys 40-50 living in Manhattan or REALLY close by).  As I’ve said before, I don’t really think all of those tests are helpful.

However, I’m always willing to explore the possibility that I might be wrong.  Heck, I’m wrong a lot about a lot of things.  So as long as I’m taking a break from dating I figured I might as well take some time to do a little research into some of the sites I wasn’t using.  As it so happens, I received a 7 day free trial offer from when I did their little test the other week.  And sent me a 3 day trial offer for this weekend (Vday weekend, of course they are pushing their services).

So here’s what I learned so far:

I am already exhausted by the amount of time required by Chemistry.com.  The system asks you to review guys who have expressed interest in you.  I’m not sure what that means.  I guess it means that I came up as their “type” and they liked my picture.  I’ve been asked to review no less than 75 men in the last 2 and 1/2 days and in order to rid myself of them I needed to give a reason why I’m not interested.  I’m trying to play along and be as open and I can and so I have expressed moderate interest in about 20 of them (I’m being very open-minded).  Most of the 75+ wouldn’t have gotten a second look from me on the sight I usually use.  Not because of looks but because they just come off as pretty dull and/or not at al what I’m looking for.

There are 4 stages of communication in their system and with each one they send you an email.  Thank god I had time at work yesterday to play with this because my email box had another 5-10 messages from them everytime I looked.  I did move forward to the later stages and exchanged actual free-from email messages with a couple of the guys who seemed interesting.  So, we’ll see, maybe this hasn’t been a complete waste of time.  But in general I’d say their male applicant pool in the NYC area is pretty sad and the process is just really too time consuming for busy people.

Now on to eHarmony.  What a fucking waste of time.  I tried them in 2005.  I logged back on to my old account (they were offering the free weekend, otherwise I’d never do it as my experience with them was awful).  The first thing I did was update my photo and update some of the data/answers on my profile.  Then I went about trying to use the system.  My inbox was full of hundreds matches from 2005 and it would not let me purge them.  It also wouldn’t give me new matches.  I spend about 30 mintues trying to find a way around the system, including going one by one and tryng to delete the matches.  But I couldn’t just delete them.  I had to send a “final communication”.  To someone who expressed interested in me 4 years ago.  What a fucking waste of my time.  And this is from a company that’s trying to win back my business?  Ugh.  I gave up and just logged off and left.  They can keep their matches.  They all sucked 4 years ago and I can’t imagine them being any better now.

I also checked out , figuring if I was going to go with the matching services I’d do them, too.  I realze they are in a totally different category as they are free.  But I’d never used them or checked out their site in any detail so I was curious.  First, let me say that I was actually really impressed with their test.  They are the only ones to ask about sexual history and real sexual preferences.  As I’ve stated repeatedly, I think sex matters a lot in relationships. I can’t imagine having a relationship with a man who was a lot less sexually experienced than me, for example.  was the only service that got down and asked those questions.   Maybe this isn’t an issue for the less slutty/sexually active percentage of the population (and as eHarmony has that vaguely Christian feel to it, they clearly want to pretend that we’ve all been good boys and girls)?

However, as much as I liked the OKCupid test, their service is pretty much useless to me.  After the test I took some time to scope out my possible matches and, well, there wasn’t anyone I’d go out with.  Hundreds and hundreds of nos.  This doesn’t mean that OKCupid isn’t a great service for other people.  It’s all about the prospect pool.  And for me, their prospect pool sucks.  Maybe if I lived somewhere else or was younger?  I don’t know.  Maybe guys in NYC have a bias against a completely free service?  I’m not here to analyze why things are the way they are.  Just report.


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8 to “3 Days in Hell (More Adventures in Online Dating)”


  1. TranqJones says:

    I read this post and the first thing that came to mind was… what has happened to ‘confidence’ in life?

    I too have done dating sites, especially when I lived in NYC. As I look back on my experiences, especially with this post to put them in better context, I almost start to feel like I was duped into some sort of induced mechanical repetition… where dating is distilled down to a form–almost like a credit card application–and it’s followed by the ‘Okay, send me my card now mentality.’ It starts to feel impersonal. It’s an easy and effortless way to meet people but… What dating sites have unwittingly done in an effort to make dating easier, is remove the confidence required to approach people (in real life) in a way that requires bringing a little ‘truthful soul’ to the party.

    What would be really helpful is a site that gives people the ‘confidence’ to approach people out in the world, in a genuine way, and in a way that let’s someone know… ‘you caught my eye and I’m interested.’ The last few people I’ve met and dated happened because I either approached someone socially, or someone approached me. The result in both cases was overwhelmingly positive because the interest was immediate and measurable in a genuine way. There was no internet to hide behind, no miscommunication, no rosy filters. In a situation where you walk up to someone and say hey–you’ve gotta be you. No way around it. And it really is (in my opinion) the best way to make meaningful connections.

    The point? Confidence is sexy and attractive. It’s more powerful than a random questionnaire or a profile. Armed with confidence, you can approach anyone in life. They might be disinterested and say thanks but no thanks, but I’ll bet they respect you regardless. (As long as you don’t feed someone a phony line or a load of crap.) And when you do approach someone who is both flattered and available–and you exude your personality and vice versa–and the attraction is clearly mutual… you’ll have something real. That, after all, is what those who are single look for…

  2. InsidetheWoman says:

    I set up a profile at plentyoffish about 2 weeks ago. It’s been interesting so far and better than some sites you have to pay for. I live in Texas, so the dating pool of geographically desireable men is pretty big. Chemistry.com was a big waste fo time for me as well. I refust to try eHarmony. Great to know about okcupid – I’ll have to check that out. I agree sex is super important in a relationship. I have just found that sites which ask about sex (onlinebootycall) are usuually just that – all about sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had great luck with onlinebootycall and it’s fun, but looking for something a bit more tangible these days. Good Luck All!

  3. derek7272 says:

    I feel like you can spend too much time on these online dating sites. I have met some great girls online, including one I had a nine-month relationship with, so I do think it is worthwhile to try. But there really isn’t that many people on each of them I think. Like if you do searches you’ll probably find the same people over and over again — there’s a reason for that. I think there’s only maybe 50-100 active female daters nearby in my demographic, and I can’t imagine there’s that many more guys. Spending hours and hours on these sites is just crazy and probably v. frustrating. I mean it _is_ possible to still meet people in real life…

  4. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Tranjones
    I don’t disagree. I think confidence is sexy. I do think you’re making a pretty big assumption that the only reason people use online dating is that they lack the confidence to ask people out in person. I have asked men out in my life(and written about that here) and I know that most of the men I’ve dated online have no trouble doing the walk up to a stranger thing. BTW, there are lots of websites that claim to teach confidence. Too many IMHO. But that’s so another post. I don’t think online dating is for everyone and am not trying to convince anyone to like it. I think there are many people who find it helpful, for many different reasons. That’s all.
    -InsidetheWoman,
    plentyofish is on my list to try next. That’s for the feedback on it. There is no way I can do anything more while doing Chemisty. It’s such a timesuck. Seriously, maybe they were thinking people would only have 4 or 5 active matches at a time? I have 5 times that and it’s killing me.
    -derrick7272
    Yes, people spend way too much on this stuff. Objectively, the number of minutes/hours that I’ve put in in the last few days has been crazy. But I think you are wrong about the pool. On most sites (most, not all) the pool of guys is around 2-5 times bigger than the pool of women (this is site and demographic specific and I have tested it out by registering as a guy and asking men friends). So while you are re-looking at the same few dozen faces the women are constantly being bombarded with new offers. And yes, it is still possible to meet people in real life. I never said it wasn’t. Just a little less easy after the age of 35.

  5. chater says:

    if all these blogs entries are yours than let me tell that you should give your attansion toward wright more than dating. You might be win NOBEL price.lol

  6. bobbyjensen says:

    I have found through vast experience with sites, not pay sites, that most people are, at the least, slightly different in person, and at most, very different from their profile. I don’t think we can express who we really are through a website, but I believe people can be close enough in interests to become a couple. That being said, I’m one that believes meeting in person is the way to go.

  7. MJL says:

    Hey SINgleGIRL,
    I have just tried plenty of fish and E-harmony. I figured now that I am 34 I better really start taking this dating stuff seriously. Online dating appeals to me only because you can find out right away if someone has a child, or what their situation is.

    The problem is that the woman are not too attractive in general. I live in Michigan by way of NY/ NJ so there is quite a difference in style and culture. I always put in the zip code of a NJ town and the women to choose from are plentful.

    I hope by chance that I stumble on a cute lady who just so happens to be too busy to go bar hoppin and then – badda bing – badda boom we fall in love.

    Even guys want to live happily ever after.

    -MJL

  8. SINgleGIRL says:

    -chater,
    Thank you for the lovely compliment
    -bobbyjensen
    Well, as I’ve said repeatedly. I don’t think this is an either or. And I think people who believe they’ve fallen in love with someone on line w/o ever meeting are a bit loopy. I just see it as an introduction, nothing more. An introduction to possibly hundreds of people who I may or may not like.
    -MJL,
    Good luck to you. My advice to you (if I have any) would be to try other services. I found the users pools vary greatly from site to site. If you don’t like one, try another. Most have free trials or are free altogether. If you want to try it, try it. If you don’t, don’t. But don’t try one and then say that all online dating doesn’t work.