People have been asking me to talk about which online dating sites are best, so I thought I’d give you my opinion of some of the big players.
But, when it comes down to it, all these sites really offer are varying levels of quality for filters and search tools. The product? Men. (Or women, if that’s what you’re looking for, obvi).
To me, filter and search are like the shipping and handling of the online dating world. And in the same way I wanna tell Amazon or any other online shopping, “look – you take care of the shipping, …I’LL ‘handle’ things,” I care much more about the filtering than I do about the built in search/matching options. …But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Online dating sites are just like any other online shopping… I know what I want to begin with, and I go in search of it. If I’m dead set on a pair of mustard-colored espadrilles, no, you won’t be able to convince me to buy suede boots. In the same way, if I’m looking for a tall, metro-preppy, smart, funny, Jesus-lovin’ man who can dance… then, no, you cannot “interest me” in an uneducated atheist who doesn’t know how to correctly use its/it’s in his profile.
And, unfortunately for me – because of this blog, I click on a lot of less-than-desirable men who message me or show up in my matches… which seriously screws up my future match-ups. So, now I get a lot of… “Because you checked out TexasUnimaginativeGuy69, you may like TXNotSoSmart69.” Sigh with me…will you?
So, for me – I’d prefer a site that offers me:
– a large bank of quality men
– a user-friendly and easy-on-the-eyes interface
– detailed search tool options
– lots of filters (data)
Knowing that, let’s just jump on in to the ones I’ve used. I’ll go in order of my subscriptions…
[Quick caveats –
1. all of the following statements are MY opinion from MY experiences on these sites. I know others have had different luck with them, so… take it as one single girl’s perspective…
2. all the photos are how the site looks to me once I log in – just to give you an idea of the “look” of each.]
After a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching break-up 2 winters ago, (I like to start things out on a cheery note)… I decided to try online dating. I had briefly used “ChristianMingle.com” before, which is where I’d found my ex-boyfriend. Despite breaking my heart, he was a fantastic guy, so…I figured the site would have more like him on it to choose from on the second round. I was wrong…it was a colossal disappointment.
ChristianMingle may USED to have had a bevy of hunky Christian men on it… now it’s full of either Osteenites (yes, I admit… not a fan of the ‘church of Joel’) or men who may love Jesus, but are about as smart as a box of rocks. I’m sorry…I know it sounds harsh, but I actually had a guy on there tell me “not to use such big words”… sigh…
So, I figured I’d hit up the big guns – “Match.com.” The apparent quality of men on this site was markedly better – I guess you do get what you pay for. Of all the sites I belong to, this one probably has the most ‘settled’ men…meaning, there are many guys on here who have their stuff together – decent jobs, decent living situation, have dealt with whatever issues may have gotten in the way of having a relationship and are ‘ready’ to find the one. The only problems I’ve found with Match Men are that –
1. They can be cocky (they know they’re the cream of the crop, so they dismiss women quickly)
2. I’m not as likely to find ones who place as high a value on their faith as I’d like (again…that’s for ME)
But, Match.com has something else going for it, and that is their “stir events.” These are various types of real-life meet-ups where people who are members of the site can meet other members in group settings – they offer happy hour mixers, speed dating (as you may recall, I checked out one of their speed-dating events), cooking classes, sporting events, etc.
This is a GREAT incentive to subscribe – because you get the best of both worlds.
Still, when I started out on Match, before I was the cyber-dating shark I am now, it seemed to be, essentially an online street corner, where men troll for sex. I’ll share with you later a few stories that will practically have a little voice in the back of your head whispering, “it rubs the lotion on its skin…” But I digress…
In addition to Match being full of creepers, I also wasn’t getting any responses from the men I DID initiate conversation with… so I decided to analyze the situation scientifically – what could it be that was keeping men from interacting with me? I mean…. I AM, after all, QUITE the catch. I concluded that maybe it was the fact that I’m a mom… I get that. I can see how it could freak someone out that I come with two children as part of the package…fair enough.
So… I signed up for a couple months on “SingleParentMeet.com.” Wow. Just……wow. I literally – and I am not making this junk up – for almost 6 months, renewed my subscription with them SOLELY for the rich material it provided me for the blog. The steady parade of egregiously unqualified men was staggering. And when I say “unqualified,” I don’t just mean as potential partners… but I don’t know how some of these guys are allowed to BE parents at ALL! Sigh…
With the wind somewhat sucked from my sails, I thought I’d pour my remaining vestiges of hope into the almighty “eHarmony.com,” or, as I affectionately call it, “The eHARM.” Now, eHarmony does things a bit differently – you can’t go searching (let’s call it what it is…shopping) on your own. You have to wait ‘til they deem someone worthy of a match and send you the information. And they have been…. Across the board…. All of them – as in, 100%…. ugly.
I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the sad truth. Men – if you’re reading this and you are good-looking and on eHarmony…. Call me. I mean…um….(shifts nervously)…you’re the exception.
Yup. They may have a great character, good job, love Jesus… but they certainly aren’t about to win any beauty awards (holla Monopoly’s “Community Chest”). And, I’m sorry, but there has to be a physical chemistry/connection!!
SO, even though I can’t stand either of the names of these next two, I thought I’d join millions of Americans and condescend to the free sites… Plenty of Fish and OKCupid.
If Match.com seemed to be the street corner of cyber dating, then Plenty of Fish is the under-the-bridge option. If you’ve lost all self-respect and are just looking to hook-up with someone who very well may have at least one communicable disease… hit up PlentyOf
I’m not saying EVERY guy on here is gross. But if they’re NOT, then they’re probably not here for long…they’re the unfortunate misguided traveler who stumbled upon this quality-forsaken hole by utter accident. OR…they (like me) stay for the sheer staggering display of reprobation.
By some divine intervention, I have actually met a couple of great guys on this site… and we’re still friends (in fact, the acclaimed “Raul” was a PoF find), but all of those men have since seen the light and moved up to a higher-grade site.
Still, I’d heard good things about it, so I ventured in. And I gotta say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’d have to say this may be my favorite of the online dating sites. It’s pleasant on the eyes, easy to use, has a fascinating associated blog with tips and tricks for the dating world, but mostly – it’s the questions. Yup – OKC has hundreds of multiple choice questions you can answer (you answer as few or as many as you like…and you can go back and answer more any time) which help them match you up with others. The answers you choose, and the importance you assign to the topic, are compared against potential matches so you can see how closely you line up on various issues. It’s a pretty cool system actually.
Then, one day while harvesting blog fodder from PlentyOfFish, I saw their advertisement for their sister site, eVow, which claims to be ONLY for people looking for serious relationships. I wrote a blog post about this, including my findings after testing them out to see if they were legit in their claim (which they were!). I haven’t been on eVow much because I haven’t seen any guys on there I would date… they may be looking for the same thing I am, but they’re certainly not dazzling me with their charming wit or sparkling intellect. So… meh…
So – that’s what we’re working with, in terms of online dating. Here are the cliff’s notes:
ChristianMingle – the K-Mart of online dating – used to be something in its day, but it’s taken a nose-dive into loser-ville
Match – Once you learn how to avoid the creepers, a decent bank of options
SingleParentMeet – Clueless/Dim (my soft euphemisms for stupid) men…with children (heaven help us all)
eHarmony – all the men with the “great personality!” (you don’t need GoogleTranslate to know what that means…)
PlentyOfFish – perfect if you want an STD or a stalker
OKCupid – Free and pretty good, considering.
eVow – meh…
Conclusion: I’m still relying on chance coincidences or “happening” to bump into Mr. Perfect at Club Kroger…..
And ONE of these days, I’ll convince my programmer friend to help me BUILD a dating website… which will be AWESOME.
Til then… happy shopping!