After I got moved and settled I decided it was time to try dating again. Given that I moved to a place where I know absolutely no one, I found myself more than a little limited on “organic” ways to meet people – short of running into someone at a grocery store (which worked for my parents but the world is definitely not the same place it used to be back in the 70s).
I kind of cringed at the idea of putting up a dating profile again, but so much has changed in that realm since the last time I used those sites (2014) that I figured the experience might be a little different – even if the results, in all likelihood, would not be. Still, the thought of going back to that “meat market” didn’t excite me much and so I decided to treat it as “research.” In a different way that I used to treat it – that’s not to say I wouldn’t be a smartass like I was during the Internet Dating Escapades days, but I’ve aged about a decade since then and I wanted to put a new spin on it.
So I figured I’d do this the measurable way. Take notes. Pay attention to my successes rather than my failures. Decide what really WAS a success – a message? A date? A relationship? And go from there. I can’t really say that I knew what those were when I got started – but the one thing that I know had absolutely changed is the level of “care” that I put into actually making it work. See, it’s not that I didn’t WANT to find someone. I was just still pretty much reeling from the POS days. I was still really confused and torn over what happened with the Professor. And I had little-to-no faith that things would be different.
Still, I kind of wanted the universe to prove to me that things would be different. So I decided to start with Match.com – mostly because it seemed to be on the higher tier of things to begin with but also because I have a friend who had a little bit of luck on there.
Subscriptions are, at minimum, 3 months. I figured that was probably a fair amount of time to give it, so that’s what I paid for. If you go back through the last several posts from the last six months or so, you’ll find that I basically hit a home run right away and got into a relationship very easily… almost as soon as I got here. I remember thinking how much of an anomaly it was that it worked out that way, almost without any effort at all. And it was good… while it lasted… but it didn’t last that long. So maybe the anomaly wasn’t an anomaly at all but just a different way to “mask” hookup culture (that lasted three months and fizzled out as soon as emotions started getting into things). Maybe it was more like what happened with the Professor last year in 2021. I don’t know. I’m not here to muse over that.
Not now anyway.
But what I’m getting at is that the relationship lasted about as long as the subscription did so that by the time it ended there was about a week and a half left on it. Not enough time to really decide how “successful” the site was, or to even try to repeat what I’d found, so I extended it for another three months.
And I guess that’s my first real observation about Match. If you find someone, and you decide to date that someone exclusively, you can certainly deactivate your profile but you cannot FREEZE your profile. Which means that if you want to take a break, you can, but it’s still on your dime. There’s no freezing the subscription and then reactivating it if things don’t work out. The time is lost. Good for them. Not great for you.
After that, I’ve simply made a list of pros and cons so I’ll add them here – with explanations after, where warranted.
Match only allows singles. You’ll get some “separated” people at worst (and that’s a dealbreaker for me), but you won’t find any of the openly Poly or Non-Monogamous crowd. Are there people on there that are cheating on their current partners? Probably. Are they sending you messages? Probably. But if you manage to find one, you can report them and then Match takes care of it.
You can easily tell who has and hasn’t been vaccinated. I mean it’s an honor system. They don’t require a photo of your card or anything. But it’s a question on the profile. It even has this nice little badge that says you’ve had your shots.
Political Affiliation is a category. It’s searchable. Which is great if you’re trying to weed out people who don’t think like you. Or assholes who will crucify you for having an abortion. Or the dickfaces who will obliviously support a Cheeto who can’t take “No” for an answer. (I’m not bitter.)
There’s a longer character limit for a bio – and it includes a character minimum. That means people have to say SOMETHING. Do a lot of them spend the characters whining about how hard it is to write a bio? Sure. Do a lot of others spend that bio complaining about all their bad experiences and telling about how they hate “drama” (when they’re probably the ones that caused it)? Absolutely. But it beats the hell out of nothing at all. And it does make it easier to judge based on spelling and grammatical errors. Which I do. Unashamedly.
Face-Photos are a requirement. They say they’ve got something back there (behind the proverbial curtain) to approve photos. And they might. It’s probably a bot, to be fair. But it’s there. So you’re guaranteed to at least be able to see what their face looks like. And you find fewer profiles cluttered with pointless, random memes. Is this enforced? Maybe. Especially since there were a LOT of profiles with guys in sunglasses (so you know, you can’t see their eyes). But at least the majority of them show their faces. Not that they’re “good looking” faces. And hell, there were instances where those faces didn’t look ANYTHING like the guy once I met them in person. But at least you’ve got SOMETHING.
It’s a paid site. And yes, I’m listing this as a pro AND a con. It’s a pro because when it’s paid you know people are at least going to give it a modicum of seriousness. You know that the people on the site are, at least to some degree, looking for someone of a higher quality/standard than the idiots who put up profiles on every free site imaginable just to see what’s “out there.” Will you get guys that will say that’s what they’re seeing? Absolutely. Is it true? Yep. But do they, at least, have the funds to pay for a site like this every three months? Clearly.
Which brings me to my next point – because they’re paying for this, you can assume that they’ve at least got some income somehow. From somewhere. Maybe not the most admirable sources. But in all likelihood you won’t go on a date with one of them and end up paying the bill. Unless, you know, they blew their entire paycheck on a Match subscription and didn’t have enough left over to pay for your drink.
But that’s a whole different story.
Anyone can message you – without needing to “Like” you first. And they don’t have to meet your Match parameters. For example, I told Match I wanted someone with, at minimum, a college degree, who was taller than I am, of the liberal leaning variety, at least my age or older, and within 150 miles. I got that. But I also got messages from people who didn’t meet some (or ANY) of those requirements. So I still had to do quite a bit of “filtering” from my end. It was fine, I guess, but annoying when I’d get the email saying “YOU HAVE A NEW MATCH” only to find that it was some old, conservative geezer who looked like he’d just woken up from his street corner that day – or worse, one who had failed at becoming Amish.
Your matches are more limited. Again, this could be a good or bad thing. And I think some of my issue came from geography. First, let’s talk about cost. Obviously the cost is prohibitive to some. And then there are some, still, in the 2020s who will swear that they don’t want to have to PAY to find a date. Also fair. But… generally speaking… the cost of something like that can be a turnoff for some. And while I don’t necessarily agree with it, I do understand it. Secondly, the limitations may also be due to my geography. When I moved I chose to move to a place that was decidedly not a metro area. I like it here, and I’m situated equally between two very large metro areas. But if I’m looking for someone right down the road (what I had with Geoff – the one time I did get lucky on Match), who meets all of those parameters, it’s harder to find. Not impossible. But harder.
And I really think it’s based on luck. Maybe even seasonal luck.
Finally, there are limited ways to pre-screen for compatibility. Match isn’t one of those sites that makes you go through the questionnaire (which for a lot of people who hate shit like that, it’s probably a good thing). But it’s also a free-for-all when it comes to matching. The only real indicators you have that someone is or isn’t a match are the ones that it sends you daily (until you breeze through all of those in your area and they don’t have anymore to send you and tell you to start expanding your criteria… true story) OR simply by going through the limited (and dare I say, superficial) criteria it lets you list as a basic “getting to know you” section, their bio, or photos. And those are important. But they’re not everything.
Did I get a lot of messages? Of course. Were any of them above and beyond “Hi, how are you?” or something equally cliché? Yeah, sure, and those are the ones that (generally) got replies – unless they didn’t meet my very stringent criteria.
But all-in-all, I didn’t have the same success with it the second time around as I did when I first got here. Was it beginner’s luck? I mean I’m not discounting that as a possibility – as much as I hate to admit it, because if a three month relationship is all I’m going to get out of this area, that’s kind of sad. But I wasn’t having enough luck with the second subscription (which I suppose you could also count as my first) to renew for another three months.
So I canceled. And bounced to something else.
More about that in the next review.