Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The CEO of a dating site writes back

Hi Brain Dancer,

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much I
enjoyed reading your alternately hilarious and sobering blog.

I founded __________ about five years ago because I had a wonderful
experience with online dating and thought I could put together an
easier to use system. I think I've made progress, but there's still
a lot of work to do.

People regularly send me cute and heartwarming notes about getting
married to someone who met on _________, so for some people, it works.

Being able to see things from the inside also makes me aware that
there are a lot of people who find it impersonal, exasperating, and
ultimately shallow.

Ultimately, I am sanguine. This thing is still in it's infancy and
people are still struggling to figure out how to do it. This is true
for both service providers and users.

Your observations surprised me though. Is it really that difficult
for an intelligent, articulate, successful (terminally 39) woman to
find a great man? Or are you exercising your prodigious writing
talent to tap into the groundswell of frustration and anger about the
state of dating and relationships today?

With the current ratio of men to women online, and the apparent
dearth of people who can string a couple of coherent sentences
together, it would seem that yot are in the catbird's seat.



Dear Chris,

Thank you for your well written and articulate post and your compliments. I love to see the reaction of others out there to my observations. I am usually an optimist, but I really do think that online dating has changed our relationships for the worse.

I can't believe that my failure to JUST FIND A BOYFRIEND (let alone a life partner or someone to marry) after two years of dating, after at least 100 dates (to men I met both out there in the real world and on here in the fantasy cyber world) ... I can't believe it's because I'm not desirable. Or that I'm "too picky." Or that I'm "too old." I really think the Internet is to blame. (By the way, a year after I started this blog, and stopped Internet dating, I did meet a lot of really great men, and have been dating someone amazing, who I met slowly, over time, the old fashioned way, while dancing in a community of friends.)

Back in the "old days" I always had a boyfriend. A boyfriend. I wasn't expecting the world -- just someone to do things with on the weekend. Someone to walk with. Go to parties with. Go to concerts with. Hang out with.

Back then, a 45 year old man didn't dream of trying to date a 25 year old. (Now, with online dating offering so many choices, it's de my age won't even think of dating a woman their own age. They all first lie about their age, and then they dial down their age requirement to 10-15 years younger.)

Back then, a man that much older than me probably never would have crossed my path -- not at a party or a social event. But the Internet gives these guys access to younger women, beautiful women, blondes, brunettes, redheads, rubenesques, BBWs and petites -- and they think they can just order up what they want. Online dating reduces us all to a product offering. Choose your size, hair color, eye color, age, height! It's just like Costco!

It seems that now unless you are 100% PERFECT and meet a laundry list of requirements a date won't "waste their time" with you, even just to date casually. It seems that back when there weren't so many options, when dates were rare and precious, we took them seriously. And we expected less.

This HOLY GRAIL, Hefty Bag, Costco wholesale approach to dating makes us all ultimately lonelier.

Do I sound bitter and disillusioned? Yes. And yet I keep submitting myself to the ongoing process of mutual rejection. I kept believing that it would happen, and when I abandoned online dating and spent more time doing what I love in the real world, it did start to happen.

If I just click one more time...

I agree that there is a groundswell of frustration and anger ... and when I started Braindancing, I thought I was the only one who noticed it. I have since discovered dozens of blogs about dating and its discontents. In a way this makes me feel better -- at least I'm not alone. But what can we all do to change the situation and make it better?


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