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

As a matter of fact, I do think online dating “works” (again)

Two quick stories.

Story 1

I was at a party this weekend and amongst the guests were some fairly prolific daters, even a guy or two who might put me to shame.  Someone, one of the guys, brought up the topic of .  He hadn’t done much of it and was a skeptic. He said something about hearing there was no one worth meeting online.

Now, you know that I can’t bear to hear online dating bad-mouthed.  I jumped in and told him that over the years I’ve met a bunch of really great guys online, one of whom is still a dear friend.  And that they were, for the most part: attractive, successful, intelligent guys. Sometimes a guy can be awesome AND not the right guy for me.

Just as I was finishing up, another of the guests jumped in with his own thoughts.  He agreed that there were great people online, and he proceeded to pull out pics of some very hot women he met (and had substantial relationships with) online.

I then chimed in with the fact that I know a couple of fabulous couples who’ve met online – successful people with great jobs…blah blah blah.

Guy #1 replied with something that resembled a question.  So why do other people claim that there are no decent men/women online?

Damned if I know.  All I could guess was one of 2 things:

  • a) They at online dating/haven’t really given it a try (because there are certain skills involved)
  • b) They suck at dating.  Let’s face it (and yes, now I’m going to be a little bitchy), some people are just not that pleasant, attractive (which isn’t always about physical attributes, it’s frequently about attitude) or skilled in interpersonal communications. Someone who has a hard time attracting and interacting with people IRL will probably have those same problems online.

Anyway, I hope he gives it a shot.  I think he’ll have fun.

Story 2

I was talking to my dad the other day.  He just got back from a vacation with friends, friends that he and my mom used to travel with sometimes (my dad is a widower, it’s been a little less than a year and half since my mom passed away).  They were on a cruise and while he was away he got to talking with a couple of women. He made it very clear that these women were married, re-married.  Former widows. And he chatted with them about the fact that he’s been thinking about what to do with the rest of his life.

One of them suggested online dating and he asked me what I thought of that.  I told him I thought that was a good idea, besides the fact that he doesn’t have the patience to use  And that I’d help him set everything up and walk him through it all (there might even come a day when I’m helping my dad send messages, lord help me).

Now I should say that my dad is not young. My parents got married and had me late, for their generation. But he looks young for his age and still works full-time.  He’s mentioned to me a few times that he’s looked around at the women his age and thought about maybe finding someone to spend time with, but that they all look old. Anyway, as we’re talking about the online dating thing he said that if he was going to meet someone it had to be someone who still looked good, like…. And then he mentioned a member of our extended family who’s had extensive work done.  She’s in her early 70s (I think) but looks (if you look quickly) like she’s in her 50s and dresses like she’s in her 30s.

I wanted to laugh but didn’t. Typical. It’s not enough that he has someone as youthful as he is (I figured he’d date/find someone 10 years younger). But he wants someone who’s trying to pretend that time has stopped.  It’s especially funny as that was so not my mom.  She wore make-up 3 times a year, at most.  And even before she got sick she took lousy care of herself (there is photographic evidence that she was a cutie in her 20s, however).

Anyway, I told my dad it all sounded good and to count me in with whatever help he needed.  That should be fun.

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14 to “As a matter of fact, I do think online dating “works” (again)”

  1. browolf says:

    It’s like anything, some people have better appropriate skills and some don’t. And then some people, like me, or maybe just me, can find a way to make it work despite lacking some interpersonal skills. However it always seemed to me the ability of the general populous to operate rationally on a dating site is somewhat lacking. I always found sites with less choices in any given instance worked for me better than ones that had more. Most people can’t handle too much choice.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I think many people become overwhelmed in situations where there is “too much” choice. It’s frequently easier to have our choices limited for us.

      That said, even the largest sites provide search options.

  2. Jolene says:

    Ha, so true re: story #1 – and sucking at online dating. Some are better at it than others, and sometimes I think it’s a matter of how much effort you put into it or how much you half-ass it.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yes, effort is the key to most things in life. Effort and attitude. Some people have a lousy attitude, put in half-assed effort and then they wonder why they don’t get their desired results.

  3. Sandyvs says:

    Simone, if you can get your Dad on a dating site, you are going to have some GREAT stories to tell! I convinced my Mom to let my sister (she lives closer to her) sign her up for POF and my sister does all the choosing of the men and emailing for my mom! Since my Mom doesn’t drive, she either talks to the men on the phone or meets them at a nearby park. Mom is now taking a break from this for a while, but what I think is really funny is that some of the men that she met only wanted to talk about SEX all the time. Some things never change!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Oh jeez – I think I’ll be keeping the dad stories to a minimum. Tangentially – you know there’s a major STD problem in some retirement communities?

  4. mel says:

    I just started reading your blog – and it’s fantastic. On story #1 – some ppl are just bad daters. And worse with the online thing. There is an etiquette and a way to do it. I’ve met several men that way over the years and still keep in touch with one or two of them. It was fun. On the second story – my life mirrors yours. My dad too, is a widower (about 8 years now) and he and my mom married and had me late in life. And looks about 10 years younger than he is. I’ve encouraged him to do the online thing – though the fact he’s still on dial-up, makes me think that may never happen. I look fwd to reading your blog in the future. Keep us posted on what your dad decides to do.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks for joining us. And yes, some people are bad daters and they’re looking to blame online dating on their own shortfalls. Always nice to have something to blame.

  5. Tara says:

    A couple of my thoughts on the online dating thing:
    – The free sites may be more likely to have lower-quality people simply because they’re free. People who are willing to cough up money for something may be more likely to be more invested in the process. People who aren’t really looking/really lazy people/creepy stalker sorts are probably more likely to gravitate towards free sites, so if someone is new to online dating and wants to try a free site first they may see more of that.
    – Smaller towns/areas may seem to have fewer high-quality people just because there’s fewer people.

    And then there’s still the stigma of the stereotypical internet dater being some shut-in who is too socially awkward and unwashed to get a date in real life. But in my experience, there are both high and low-quality people doing online dating, it’s just a matter of knowing how to weed them out. I’ve had a bunch of great dates with people I met online- also some terrible ones, but more good than bad.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Actually, I’ve never found the correlation between paid site=high quality people to be true. Some free sites are better than others, same with paid. This has been a constant for the past decade, btw.

      And yes, the dating pool varies geographically and so the online dating pool with vary as well. Online dating is just meeting people online and DATING. In the real world.

      My point here (and always) is that the online dating “stigma” only exists because people keep repeating it and holding on to it as if there were any legitimacy to it – and there’s not. Of course, if you use on line dating you’ll have bad dates. Anyone who dates regularly will have bad dates.

  6. jane says:

    Well I am in category suck at online dating, in Canada is not much choice either Pof or lavalife, that’s it.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Wow, no other competitors in the market. I’m sure I’ve gotten plenty of emails from guys in Canada on other sites (which I politely reply to with “I don’t do long-distance”). I guess different parts of Canada.

  7. singlegirlie says:

    There is no question it “works” – for some people. And for others, maybe it just hadn’t worked *yet*, but they grew frustrated and quit. I think a lot of it is just preference. Some people like it and others don’t, and that’s OK. I do it, but to be honest, I’d rather not. Maybe I do suck at it, but I find I just get frustrated sifting through voluminous e-mails from men who are just so not for me. Then sometimes I’ll find someone I think I may like, meet him and wind up disappointed. When I meet someone in real life I learn at least enough to know if I’d want to go on a first date with him. But it’s not too often I meet great men in real life either, so I do turn to online dating – I haven’t given up yet!

    I realize part of this is attitude on my part. OF COURSE I’m not going to like every single person who e-mails me or who I meet. And I’ve tried going out with people just to give it a chance. But thus far, I’ve yet to experience chemistry (very important to me) with anybody I’ve met online, so it wears me down a bit. Also, it can be quite time consuming.

    I don’t discourage anyone from trying it and I’d never say it doesn’t work. Some people really love it and I think that rocks! But it’s not necessarily for everyone. Just throwing out another perspective on why some people might not dig it.

    Best of luck to your pops – I hope he finds a wonderful woman!

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’ve taken several breaks from online dating AND dating over the years. Dating is frustrating. Online dating is frustrating. Trying to succeed at something over which you have know control is frustrating – for me. I guess I’ve always felt that anything worth having is worth working for, so I’m willing to keep trying. And taking breaks when I need them so that I don’t get completely frustrated/burnt out by the whole thing.