Digital Get Down: Dating distress


Laken Howard, Columnist

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on my fair share of OkCupid dates. To be honest, my dating life may have gotten a little out of control this year, but I was ultimately left with nothing but life experience points and crazy stories, so I have no regrets. I’d like to impart some of my knowledge about men from dating sites to you and fill you in on what to expect from a (sort of) blind date.

Although you may be able to stalk their profiles and Google them, these men (or women) you’re about to meet IRL are still largely a mystery. Is he as tall as he says he is? Does she always glow like that, or is that an Instagram filter? Does he smell like he showers daily? You get the drift. Until you meet someone in person, you simply don’t know what they’re like. You can read the answers to his match questions until the cows come home, but you won’t know if there’s real potential for a relationship until meeting him. All those hypothetical questions lend themselves to a bigger issue: Are online profiles at all reflective of who we really are? Does match percentage mean anything about compatibility IRL?

I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but that might take a lot more field research than I’ve already done. If I’m going to overgeneralize, I would say that even though you may be attracted to someone’s profile because of appearance or shared interests, actually dating someone is a lot more convoluted than that alone. I’ve been out with plenty of guys who were cute, funny, nice and smart, yet somehow nothing serious has ever worked out with any of them.

I spent a lot of my time frustrated with myself after failed attempts at dating guys, thinking I was the problem. I’ve learned that you just can’t have that attitude with online dating. Guys have given me all kinds of excuses as to why they don’t want to continue seeing me, only a handful of which I think were the honest reasons. The bottom line is I just don’t know everything about their pasts and what has brought them to online dating.

It’s crucial to remember — and I have forgotten this myself a number of times — that even if someone says they want something serious, it doesn’t mean it should or has to be with you. Don’t force an attraction. Go on a date with no expectations. You won’t be disappointed and if all goes well, you will be pleasantly surprised. Above all, don’t settle for less than what you deserve.