Confessions of an Online Dater

I, Courtney, am an online dater. Many of you probably find this weird considering I’m in college, a place filled with more available men than a single woman could ever dream of, but I’m finding it’s more common than you think. The truth is, people just don’t want to admit it.

I first joined OKCupid (yes, that is the name) when I was 16. I had no intentions of dating anyone from the site, I just loved getting messages saying how pretty I was. And throughout high school that was basically what I used it for. I never really found anyone attractive at my high school, or even remotely tolerable, so online dating seemed like a good idea. At least for the confidence boost.

I didn’t rejoin the circuit until sophomore year of college when my friend found a site called Plenty of Fish (we obviously joined it just for the name). My headline for my profile was “I’ma hook, line and sink ya!” Again, I really didn’t have any interest in dating someone online; it was more of a procrastination tool than anything else. (There are a lot of hilarious weirdos out there!)Besides, I¬†was more interested in a boy from one of my classes.

When 2010 hit, though, I started to actually take online dating seriously. I set up a real profile, responded to guys’ flirtatious emails and started going on dates. I became an online dater and while it hasn’t panned out into anything serious yet, I am glad i did.

I’ve always been really busy and haven’t had time to casually wait for some guy to sweep me off my feet. Online dating sites make the sorting process one has to do at a bar easier. And who wants to date someone they met at a bar anyway? With online dating you get to view your potential suitor’s height (always least an inch less than what they say), decent pictures, and (my biggest thing) you can see how they write. Do they know how to use “there, their, and they’re” correctly? Do they use “Z’s” instead of “S’s” or, my least favorite, are they too lazy to spell things out fully (“I lyke 2 go 2 the bar, u do 2?”)

Plus, I was tired of being set up by friends; how many more blind “dates” can someone handle? (And by “dates” I mean meeting up at a party and having him grab a beer from the keg for me.) It’s not like I have a problem meeting people – I’m surprisingly nice and friendly – I just have a problem meeting the right people. You know, the single good looking guys that find my dry humor charming. I also tend to take on the role of the girl friend (not girlfriend) with most of the guys I meet, meaning no chance for romance.

And that is where the Internet came to my aid. I’ve gone on 15 dates with 15 different guys since September. I’ve met a lot of great guys, had a lot of great (free!) meals and even broadened my music collection, thanks to suggestions made by different people from the site. And along with finding potential romantic matches, I’ve also made some decent friends.

So why are people being so secretive about this? It’s a lot of fun to meet people I never would have, but online dating isn’t for everyone. Just like not everyone is lucky to bump into a random person and form a romantic connection with them. But you shouldn’t judge before you join; it is not as weird as movies like Because I Said So make it out to be. Many people are on these sites because they miss being in a relationship but don’t have time or don’t know how to meet people randomly. Or they’re new to town. Or they too are over trying to find love over SoCo lime shots at the campus bar.

AND…isn’t online dating what any girl would want? It’s like online shopping, except there are really cute guys involved and you don’t have to pay for anything. You’ve literally got nothing to lose (either people will message you or they won’t) but a whole lot to gain; online dating has made me more assertive, given me better self-confidence and allowed me to truly flush out what it is I’m looking for.

So my advice? Don’t judge before you join. You never know who else could be out there, and online dating is a great way of testing the waters.

What do you think? Will you join?



  1. rox says:

    I used to be like you when it came to how a man writes, but then I found out that my current boyfriend, a very knowledgeable guy with a 4.0 in engineering, happens to be dyslexic. He reads economic journals, but ask him to spell "bicycle" and he has no idea. Never mind they're their there!. Careful not to be too judgmental… Dyslexia is not related to intelligence.
    Though in all fairness, there is no excuse for using numbers instead of words :)

  2. julia says:

    Thank you SO much for this article..this is really too true, and i hear girls whining all the time about how there are no guys out there when there are TONS OF ACTUALLY CUTE SMART FUNNY guys right on okcupid. my boyfriend and i are the happiest ever and we met on okcupid :) !!

    1. wish OKCupid wasn't so sucky for the gays. I mean I have a bf now that I met through a mutual friend, but when I was on OKCupid, I felt that it really exemplified superficiality with the gay crowd. Basically tells you right off the bat if they're picky or not by showing whether or not they respond to messages much. I don't dislike OKCupid, so don't get me wrong. It's a wonderful site, super clean, etc. Just had some "issues" with it.

  3. Genny says:

    I couldn't agree more! I made an okcupid account and kept it hidden, feeling very ashamed of it for awhile but I ended up meeting some really cool people (also a lot of weirdos, but you just gotta weed them out). The only problem is I'm almost too nervous to actually meet them in public. Any advice on that??

    1. Courtney - Bridgewater State University says:

      It's totally nerve racking the first time, and pretty much every time! You just have to go all in and actually get out of the car instead of driving away (guilty!). But I do have a couple of rules/guidelines, that way I can justify meeting them. One of them being, I have to have talked to them for at least two weeks straight, and the other, we need to have at least ten things in common. It helps already having that baseline because you know you'll have things to talk about.

      Other than that, always…ALWAYS meet in a public place, take separate cars, and remember to have fun!

  4. college girl says:

    Thanks for posting this article! I met my boyfriend of six months on, and we couldn't be happier. I'm a sophomore at a big university, and he's a junior at the same one. I tried a free trial on match after having met someone else on OKCupid, dated for a while, and things didn't work out. The ex was still on OKCupid so I wanted to try something different. (But I loved OKCupid and the way it's set up!)

    My boyfriend and I are both very social and have a lot of friends, and have both dated several people. We joined for the same reason–we were stuck in town over the summer and didn't feel like we'd meet anyone new. I had dated a lot and was ready to find someone who wanted something serious, and he was in the same situation. Also, like you, I initially signed up because on OKCupid I'd gotten a lot of flattering emails and it was a self-confidence boost.

    It turns out we both go to the same school, know a lot of the same people, and are both involved in student media. We have so much in common, I really can't imagine being with someone better. In our situation, I'm pretty sure we might have met one day anyways.

    I think one of the best perks of online dating is, if you're an open-minded person who is willing to go a different route, you'll meet someone who has the same open-mindedness. The only downside is that, because we're young (19 and 21), it's unusual to many people and so we feel like we can't tell the truth about how we met. I wish it wasn't a stigma; so many people on those sites are really normal and really cool, despite a few weirdos here and there!

  5. Liz says:

    Thank you for posting this article. There is a huge stigma about online dating. However, I used to find a fellow that I dated for a while (unfortunately, things just didn't work out). Surprisingly he was actually a really GOOD guy, and good is hard to find these days. I would add only one other rule to the online dating rules–tell someone when and where you're meeting the fellow. I made sure to tell my best friend everything I could about the guy, just in case he turned out to be a weirdo. Also, I made sure to tell her when I would call her after the date; that way, if I didn't call her, she would know that something bad was up.

  6. Dominique says:

    Omg THANKS for this article! I met a guy (the only one I've met offline) on OKCupid a few months ago and while we're almost total opposites I'm glad I got a chance to message him before agreeing to go on a date with him (because I probably wouldn't have been as excited otherwise!).
    And yea, there's really no excuse for using numbers instead of letters (I once saw a profile written entirely in leet speak, oh my). ;)

  7. vibes says:

    That is the fantastic bunch of information really very appreciable job.I do have a couple of rules or guidelines, that way I can justify meeting them.I really can't imagine being with someone better. In our situation, I'm pretty sure we might have met one day anyways.

  8. Bekka says:

    Thanks for posting this! I met my current boyfriend on OKCupid, but I did have to sort through a bunch of creeps. I actually ended up pretty lucky- we're also doing a bit of distance since our universities are far apart. We aren't ashamed of telling people how we met- it doesn't matter how we did, only that we did. But then again, it definitely isn't for everyone.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I have been doing the online dating thing for about 8 months now, and my rationale for it's greatness is identical to yours. I have met some really great people (as well as some not-so-great people…always trust your instincts before you meet someone!), and have really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to people I'd probably never meet otherwise. And I do have to admit…it's been pretty difficult telling my friends where I've met all of these new guys (apparently I go to a lot of parties without my friends), so I wish everyone could read this and understand the pro's of online dating :)

  10. Cat says:

    I agree; Zoosk worked pretty well for me.

  11. CocoBabii says:

    More power to you! Online dating is a great way to meet people who also want to meet you. After being burned twice by guys I met around town, I finally joined OkCupid. I dated three guys from the site and they were all gentlemen! One of them is now my boyfriend of eight months, and I couldn't be happier!

  12. @MinzyLing says:

    Like this article! When I talked about how i get to know a guy through online, my friends were like….. speechless. But I don't think there's any problem to know more friends through online websites.. is an opportunity to get to know more people instead of friends around us.

  13. Webmaster says:

    Great article, very honest. I think people are becoming much more comfortable with online dating as a mainstream option, and even admitting it. :) And, personally, I prefer the completely free dating sites like our Free Dating Scene at . Also, some of the free sites actually have more members than the pay sites do.

  14. 20somethinglifelove says:

    I just blogged about online dating yesterday. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

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