Recently my therapist,(Don't we all need one these days?) assigned me a tough homework assignment. To join a "PAY" dating website. (More on that in a bit)
I have been around the interwebs long before Al Gore took credit for inventing it. I not only remember floppy disks but the 8" variety to boot! It was sometime in the late 90's that I discovered on-line dating. Back in the day, finding dates on the Internet along with just about everything else was free. At first there was only AOL dating, then Yahoo Singles seemed to hold the #1 spot when multiple sites started popping up all over the Web.
I gave Yahoo a try and although the results varied I did meet a few good people along the way and equally went on my share of dates I'd rather not have gone on. Live and learn right?
Between 2002 and 2006 the on-line dating scene changed again. Pay sites came into existence claiming to have better compatible matching techniques. Yahoo also went pay while social networking sites began to take hold, especially in the 15-21 age crowd. Friendster, and then MySpace were the choice way of reconnecting with old friends and yes even dating people. New free sites replaced those that had gone pay while others like (POF) - Plenty Of Fish offered the best of both worlds. Sites like POF allowed you to meet people on the free side of the site but allowed you to do much more customizable searches once you joined the paying ranks.
Meanwhile Craigslist, a free listing service for everything from jobs, rentals, household items, and yes singles took shape and began competing for a different way to connect people with one another by allowing you to post via an online newspaper style ad.
I did the MySpace thing while it was popular and posted ads on Craigslist while it was still possible to find quality people there. I even dated one girl on and off for almost three years that I met on Craigslist.
Meanwhile sites like Match.com eHarmony, Christiansingles.com, Chemistry.com, and Perfectmatch.com although pay sites, pushed the fact that you paid for what you got.
This always bothered me. Did I actually have to pay to find the woman of my dreams? Was it worth shelling out my hard earned cash to find "The One" for me?
The popularity of Internet-ready mobile devices took on-line dating to the next level. The free dating sites exploded with new members. You were no longer tethered to the computer at home or risked getting caught at the office looking for love on-line. The fact was, everyone was doing it including married people and people looking for a one-night stand. Even some of the cheaper pay dating sites have become "meat markets" for the random hook-up.
It was during this time that Facebook took the crown of the social media networking sites. Call me old fashioned but I decided not to do the Facebook thing and have abstained from the pressures of friends, work colleagues, and even my own daughter to "just do it". I feel that the online world of social media has taken some of the personalization out of meeting people. The sharing of too much information (TMI) comes to mind when someone brings up Facebook.
Sure, Facebook does have a way of connecting you with long lost friends but quite honestly they may have been lost for a damn good reason.
So meeting new people, although not difficult for me, has become a recent chore for me. The fact that I have been single for a period of time now with no prospects on the horizon hadn't really hit home until a recent college fair held at my daughter's high school. The dean of admissions of a local community college asked me what was next for me. At first I wasn't sure what he meant. Then it began to sink in. What was NEXT?!
Not only is my future in the "here and now" stages but so is an opportunity to date again. I'm pretty successful in all other aspects of my life so why is it that I am having difficulty in establishing a lasting romantic relationship?
I discussed this at length with some of my closest friends and one gal-pal pointed me to an article titled: "10 Things Men are Looking for in a Woman Vs. What Women Really Want". I could relate with most if not all of the obvious reasons like "#6 A woman must have her own life and have her own purpose in it." or #4 "A woman must be as free from drama as possible. AKA - No drama queens!". Topping the list of things men are looking for in a woman was "Honesty".
That one made me think... As opposed to??? Why would I date a dishonest woman?
Now I got to the list of what women really wanted and prepared for a long list of must-haves and needs. Listed was just one:
"Women really want a good dishwasher."
It seems given the choice of dealing with men and "their long lists" these days, most women like the Independence and freedom of being single, so they want a high end programmable appliance. Something that is stable, gets the job done, and is "drama-free". A device that comes with a warranty (extended at an additional cost and even a payment plan in some cases.
My friend joked that she should start a love column and call it: "Dirty Dishes - How to program your man like an appliance for the ultimate date."
All joking aside, woman have pushed enough of my buttons to know that I cannot be programmed nor do I choose to be.
So back to my homework assignment...
I took a business approach to this and looked at the financials and ROI of the five leading pay sites. I narrowed it quickly to two and then decided on the pricier one thinking that my chances of finding someone serious out there was willing to pay the same. Now all I had to do was sign up.
I really thought about this. Was I ready for this? Well, after all it was homework. I called and took the plunge and got three months for the price of one convincing the phone rep that a friend had done the same not long ago.
So *gulp* let the matches fill and overflow my inbox.
Besides... I already own a dishwasher and might just be willing to let "The One" push some buttons and program it!