Online dating is it’s own beast, so before we start here are a few things to remember:
- Online Dating is not a last resort.
- The goal is to get offline as soon as possible.
- It’s a numbers game.
- Everyone is doing it, even if not everyone is talking about it.
- Be safe.
- Have fun.
Pick a Site
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get down to business. In order to pick a site, you have to know what you want, even if what you want is, ya know… to hang out or whatever. As I said, it’s a numbers game so you need to get on one of the big sites. The niche sites are always out there for ya so hop on that as well, but likely you’ll see the same people you saw on the bigger sites anyway.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide in order of how “serious” you are:
- Commitment Level: Tonight
- Price: Free
- TL;DR: The bar scene as an app #swiperight
- Best if you Live: Everywhere. Closer to the bars, the better.
- What’s the Deal? Tinder, it’s what all the kids are doing… literally. 90% of it’s users are under 32 years old, 51% are 18 to 24 years old, seven percent of it’s users are actually teenagers. With those demos, you’re likely not to find the one, but you’ll definitely find someone. If you don’t know what Tinder is all about at this point, you’re probably not the demo anyway.
- My Perspective: Tinder really became a thing after I started dating my boyfriend but from what I know, it would have never been my thing. Casual sex was never really my thing…
- Commitment Level: Tonight to Meeting the Parents
- Price: Free to $10/mo.
- TL;DR: Hipsters and dick pics!
- Best if You Live: Station North, Mount Vernon, Remington, Hampden, Waverly
- What’s the Deal? People give up on OkCupid a lot, but continue to go to Ottobar for Twofer or Club Chuck on a Saturday night, which is basically the same thing. OkCupid is the dating site for the artsy Peter Pan type. You can find a real relationship on the site, but it could take some coersing…
- My Perspective: I went on over a hundred dates courtesy of OkCupid and I also met my boyfriend there so it holds a special fondness in my heart. I also never in my 3 years on the site received an unsolicited penis but did meet the most cliche “I’m squatting in this house in Remington” guys in the world so, YRMV. Oh and A-List was totally worth it.
Plenty of Fish
- Commitment Level: 3 dates to unplanned pregnancy
- Price: Free
- TL;DR: Just don’t.
- Best if You Live: Between Exit 1 to 11 or 33 to 44 on 695.
- What’s the Deal? The site is hideous, there’s ads everywhere, proper grammar is rare, as are photos with shirts. The personality tests aren’t bad, I guess…
- My Perspective: One time I went on a date with a guy from POF that insisted that women were going around milking the economy by taking advantage of all their free abortions AND I had to go on that date in the Timonium. Take that as you will.
- Commitment Level: One weekend trip to marriage
- Price: $20-$35/mo
- TL;DR: For all the basic bitches and basic bros of the world
- Best if You Live: Federal Hill, Canton, Fells Point, Towson
- What’s the Deal? There couldn’t be a more bland, culturally acceptable site than Match.com. Nurses, accountants and teachers everywhere bask in the mediocraty of the entire thing. Minorities, artists, or anyone considered marginally controversial need not apply.
- My Perspective: I went on a few dates with excrutiatingly boring people from Match.com. One bright spot: they do have singles events called Stir that are moderately interesting (and would be a lot more fun if OkCupid hosted it) but you don’t actually have to be a paying member to attend. I must add, I do know plenty of people that are in serious relationships thanks to Match, though so worth a shot!
- Commitment Level: That week before you realize you don’t want them to meet your parents to marriage
- Price: $20-$60/mo
- TL;DR: If you’re really fucking serious.
- Best if You Live: Exits 12 to 32 on 695 (and Locust Point)
- What’s the Deal? If you’re able to sit through the 400 question personality test and aren’t rejected you can go through their clumsy messaging system! If you’re in a small town, a bit older, or a conservative Christian, you’ll likely do well on eHarmony. It’s far too much work to waste someone’s time on this site. People on eHarmony are looking for something serious.
- My Perspective: I never went on a date with anyone from eHarmony but I did have a membership so went through the motions to get to open communication a few times. I do know a couple who’s wedding I’ll be attending in June that met on eHarmony. They also live right at the MD/DE border so, take that as you will.