It’s Friday, and John P. is getting ready for a date. He didn’t spend his week hitting the bars or asking friends to fix him up. John has found a faster, more efficient and virtually painless way to hunt for his mate.
“My professional life doesn’t leave me a lot of opportunities to meet single women,” John shares over a glass of Pinot at a bar on Manhattan’s upper east side. “So Internet dating is a great way to meet them without allocating a lot of time.” John says this proudly and without an inkling of irony.
Yep, online dating is here, and it here’s to stay. Long gone is the stigma of finding your date via a computer screen. A majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people. Now it’s about writing the perfect profile and finding the right picture to capture your essence just so, so when a gal does cross your path, likes what she sees and she’s willing to click, like or swipe right and maybe even respond to your “Hey you” message.
Unlike the bar setting, where John points out you only have one thing to go on before you approach the woman who has caught your eye, online dating makes it easy to set the criteria for the type of woman you are seeking. “It’s great, you just load in your desired height, body type, hobbies, levels of education, etc. And then you can sit back and sort through your responses,” he says with a confident grin.
“Online dating has become the new norm,” declares Dr. Heavely Kimes, the award-winning business, money and relationship expert and star of the popular BRAVO TV docu-series Married To Medicine. “It’s because so many people are so busy, they need a quick solution – it’s microwave dating and a way to meet a whole lot of people quickly.”
And we’re talking a whole lot of people. According to a study done by eHarmony, 40 million people use dating services. While it may seem that Internet dating has been around forever, it continues to grow in popularity, with each year showing increased numbers of online users making their maiden profile with hopes of finding love. Match.com first jumped onto to the Internet in 1995, pairing would-be love connections based only on a profile of likes and dislikes. Now, twenty-plus years later, it’s still the number one choice for men (100 percent of men polled says they’ve been on Match at one time or another).
But there’s no reason to limit yourself to sites that just match on photos and profiles. Nowadays, any hot-blooded man can find sites and apps matching people based on hobbies, like Fitness-Singles.com, race and religious preference, such as JDate; and ageism (hello, Cougered.com!). And if you’re just looking to hook up, there is AdultFriendFinder.com and of course the popular hook-up app Tinder.
That may be why everyone’s getting into the dating app game, including Dr. Heavenly. Married to her husband Dr. Damon for more than 20 years, the couple has created the new dating app, PIQ. “During my research, people’s biggest fear was being “Catfished” – (the person not being who you thought they were because of a fake profile). So we use an icebreaker to “PIQ” at your Facebook photo,” she explains. Like E-Harmony, you don’t see your dream woman’s face off the bat – but use icebreakers to see if you have anything in common first.
“There’s a series of questions you can ask, and everyone has their own questions, so you can get to what’s most important to you in a relationship and try to get rid of the superficial.” Obviously, this is an app geared to the serious dater who’s looking for a long-term connection. With so many choices at your fingertips, finding love online should make finding the Right One easier than it’s ever been, right? John shakes his head in a resound no. “There’s a lot false advertising online, things you may have picked up on in real life that would make you think twice about asking for her number,” John shares before taking a sip and sharing his craziest online encounter.
“I met a woman that brought a dog on our first date. She said it was a service animal. She suffered from anxiety and the dog helped to keep her calm and avoid fits. Needless to say our dinner plans changed from a restaurant to a food truck.”
John also has some pretty strict rules about expectations when online dating. “Never look for love online. That can only be done between two people. You can’t find chemistry or a connection online that comes from spending time together. I just look to meet woman then let nature run its course.”
After thinking for a minute, he confesses. “Online dating is a great tool but if you had your druthers you wouldn’t use it. I think for most of us our objective is to one day be in a long term monogamous relationship.”
Still, that doesn’t stop John from checking his iPhone to confirm brunch plans with a woman he’s been chatting with over the last week. “Until it happens, that real connection, you continue to use the dating sites,” he says plainly.
The good news is that one-third of all marriages began on an online dating site and couples who meet online have a higher percent of marriage satisfaction. So John, that Sunday brunch date just may be a keeper.
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