o There are currently 54 million singles in the United States. 40 million of them have tried online dating at least once.
o The average annual revenue of the online dating industry is $1.049 billion. Per online user that is a rough average of $239.00 a year.
o 17% of couples married in the United States last year met online. That’s 280,000 marriages.
o 31% of Americans use online dating services of know someone who does.
*Just a few statistics as a preamble to clarify the facts, I am not a woman in desperation, I’m an American, so here’s my story, please reserve judgment. (but not laughter, for heaven sakes, I can’t ask for the impossible!)*
A couple of months ago I accepted in a pouty surrender the advice of a colleague and friend in regards to what he termed “my ultimate happiness and wellbeing as a material member of society and the girl who daily interacts with the clients that allow him to maintain employment.” His motives were not absolutely pure, but he’s an accountant, nothing is absolute unless it is preceded by a double line indicating the total, and even then auditors can make exceptions. By the standards of the auditing staff of Wood Richards & Associates, P.C. my dating expectations and results were unacceptable. I appeared to be in need of redirection.
My parents always emphasized in little league and Monopoly that sportsmanship was key. Nobody wants to play with a poor sport, so I take bad news pretty well, generally.
When I was in Jr. High a few of my girlfriends and I made up a dance to Brittney Spear’s song “Oops, I Did it Again”. As the only girl in the group above an A cup I was sort of nominated to dress like a Brittney look-a-like. I artfully acquired a pair of gold pleather pants and some glittery eye shadow. On the day of the talent show performance, dressing in the girl’s room, I poured my curvy-for-a-twelve-year-old body into the skin tight metallic marvel and stepped out into the most hostile environment known to man, the common room in a Jr. High School full of pre-adolescent latent aggression and overpowering hormones.
We performed our dance and felt like rock stars. Letting the feeling of fame linger I remained in “costume” for the rest of the day. When my dad came home from work that night and saw me setting the table for dinner he leapt for couth and failed, on the way down he grasped for something else to utter and this is what he came up with; “Nobody saw you wearing those, right?”
Point being, I’ve had practice, I can take criticism. I don’t like it, but I’m a big girl, I can take it. So I gritted my teeth and sat down in Ryan’s office.
“What do you think I should do?” I squinted my eyes closed and let my chin fall to my chest.
“Try online dating. That’s how I met Kendra.” (Ryan’s amazing wife, now expecting their first little girl.)
“Gross! NO! That is so weird! I’m not… old!”
But to paraphrase Charlotte Bronte, Reader, I took his advice.
My first attempt at semipublic humiliation, willful disregard for self-respect, and naive hope in my ability to seek out perfect strangers in a simulated environment of security and find lasting and sincere bonds came in the form of Match.com. Their commercial airs often during reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” on TBS, and yes, I do recognize exactly what kind of “target audience” I have become. But I have spent a few too many Friday night date nights as the “Rajesh Koothrappali” of my social circle. Low point. So I decided to expand my lone ranger status to the cyber world.
Imagine that the hot guy from your high school football team got into some “sweet construction job” the summer after graduation and never left. Now he’s 54, wears wide cut man tank tops on his boat where he drinks beer, pumps out country music, and hits on fifteen year olds in Taylor Swift tankinis all summer at the lake. Those were the guys hitting me up on “Match”. When you log on and see that 42 men have viewed your profile it’s flattering, right? When they all turn out to look like your friends embarrassing bio Dad who yells profanities at the television during sports games with chili dripping off of his chin your hope bubble bursts. This isn’t Alabama. “Employed” is not a game winner in the race for my heart. What is this world coming to!?!
Anyway, “Match” didn’t work out for me.
I returned to live action dating, no, I don’t mean it like that, and things went ok for a while. By ok I mean disaster *with a hulking Arnold accent to get the devastating point across*.
A month ago I repented of my prideful ways and returned to my computer. I signed up on “LDSsingles.com”. You know what? There are far fewer married men on this dating site than I had been told, but there have still been some real keepers.
My first “flirt” came from a man dating under the sudo-name “Crazy Wheels”. His reason for choosing this name? He was bound to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. You’ll be angry with me for not giving him a chance, you’ll blame it on my vanity. But it was not vanity that curbed my willingness to encourage his perusal. It was much simpler than that, natural even. See, I’m 25. That means 25 years of vigorously protected and preserved virtue. Twenty-five-years! A girl doesn’t get all dressed up for the ball to stay home and watch “A Cinderella Story”. Girl goes to the Ball! As it was impossible to determine whether my ball was inevitably crashed if I had jumped in his pumpkin coach without being grossly inappropriate, I passed.
After that was an interesting string of what appeared to be the same 33 year old guy with two kids posting under several different names and profiles. I wasn’t… inspired.
While I was on vacation to the land of corn and pigs (Iowa) I was chilling on the couch with Becky and perusing the options on my Iphone when I received an invitation to chat with “Soccerfreak”. Knowing as you do my deep and connected love of soccer and all sporting events involving running until you die you can imagine my excitement. But the idea is to keep an open mind, so I accepted. Becky snuggled over to have a peak and as she did I received a second invitation.
“MrLarsen” was a technical writer from San Diego with hopes of becoming a patent attorney. 6’2”, dark hair, employed, RM, college graduate. Defiantly lying, right?
But I totally took the bait. We started talking on the phone and texting and messaging every night for a week. We were making plans to meet. My faith in the gravitational pull of romance and magnetism that maintains the structure of the universe was restored! Well, that’s a little dramatic, but he was pretty cool. Then, without warning or cause, he vanished from existence. Gone. Poof!
It was so weird! And a bit of a hit to my pride if I’m being totally honest. But mostly so weird!
In all of these adventures I must intimate to you, dear reader, that I do not feel that I am exhausting my options or even approaching expiration. I feel like an explorer. I feel elastic. I feel kinda like a female Indiana Jones. Stuff’s getting’ real. I am seriously considering carrying a sack of sand in my leather shoulder bag, just in case I need to collect a golden idol from a pressurized trigger of death. (I already carry crayons and paper, so I’m good if I need to make a rubbing of an ancient tablet in a flaming underground sewer.)
Sometimes when people read my blog they ask me, “Was that true?”
Come on guys, you can’t make this stuff up.
Ps, only 10% of sex offenders use dating sites to meet their intended victims.