back to article Love in the time of the internet: A personal memoir

Another year, another Valentine's Day – that annual event when restaurant, retail, and romance businesses try to make every uncoupled person feel wretched about themselves, and put otherwise successful relationships under enormous pressure to make February 14 a "special" day. As such, a lot of people will be looking for new …


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  2. Jean-Luc Silver badge

    You lost me at...

    >and it's highly advisable to bring a friend along with you as backup

    Seriously? I have never been on a date where the lady brought along a friend. I don't think I'd go along if told in advance and I am pretty sure I would not go to a second date if it was sprung on me.

    But public spaces are indeed a sine qua non.

    Btw, the cleverest, simplest, argument I've seen for online dating was a long time ago, in a paper personal:

    "Would it be better to hope that we'll meet while walking our respective poodles?"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: You lost me at...

      I have never been on a date where the lady brought along a friend.

      I did once. Best date ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You lost me at...

        My Date brought along her daughter to help with her English (They are both Russian). We've now been together 10 years and my date is now my wife.

        We met on Yahoo fwiw.

        However another of my friends has had a real bad experience with Internet Dating. She was nearly abducted by her date and has had to move several times to get away from him despite court orders and the like he still thinks he owns her.

      2. 4.1.3_U1

        Re: You lost me at...

        "I did once. Best date ever."

        Should read:

        _Best_ _Date_ _Ever_

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You lost me at...

        I did once. Best date ever.

        Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Say no more!

    2. CraPo

      Re: You lost me at...

      > Seriously? I have never been on a date where the lady brought along a friend.

      Like on The Undateables, when a chaperone goes along with them...

    3. BlueGreen

      Re: You lost me at...

      I went on a meetup arranged off a website. The lady brought her 20 year old daughter, of all things. (that went nowhere btw)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You lost me at...

        Sounds alright by me.

        A lot better than dating a 20 year old who's brought her 50 year old mother along.

  3. Mondo the Magnificent

    A good article and and it highlights a lot of truths about the Interwebz dating thing..

    I recall IRC was always a fairly decent resource for "Internet dating" and I know a few couples who hooked up on the IRC #Channels in the mid 90's and are still together today.

    Sadly unlike the proper dating websites that require a valid email and often require credit card details, IRC was also the hunting grounds of some unscrupulous characters too, good moderation was really needed to protect the unaware from these type of people

    In my experience, I find Internet dating tends to bring people together from afar. I know of people who have met their ideal match, however their "match" may live in another state or country. The glue that initially holds them together tends to be phone calls and Skype, but, hey it works for them

    Quite a few have actually met their distanced cyber-matches and made it work, I do know of some who have been gravely disappointed too..

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      For me it was Usenet

      And for a few others too, although I can't tell if there were additional ports involved there.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Worked for me...

      Excellent points in the article - internet dating does allow you to initially "sort the wheat from the chaff", so to speak and at least weed out the weird/otherwise undesirable matches.

      The added plus is the initial meetups can be in more unusual public places which you wouldn't normally associate with dating sites (e.g. bars) - I met my wife at Longleat after contacting her on the site, for example. A bit of amused blushing on both our parts as during the drive through the tiger enclosure a pair of them started copulating next to the car.

      Being the shy type, I always found it odd to attempt to go up to a complete stranger in a bar/nightclub - invariably ending up shouting "what?" a lot as the music was too loud.

    3. Franklin

      "In my experience, I find Internet dating tends to bring people together from afar. I know of people who have met their ideal match, however their "match" may live in another state or country. The glue that initially holds them together tends to be phone calls and Skype, but, hey it works for them."

      I've actually had the opposite experience. I started dating one of my partners, who lived close to me and I'd known socially for a while, because a dating Web site suggested that we'd be a good match. (It was right, by the way. We've een datng for about eight years now.)

      On the other hand, I met another of my partners in person rather than on a Web site, and she turned out to be rather a long ways away...I live in Oregon, she liives in London. We met waiting in line for an elevator (or as they say in the language of her people, in a "lift queue") and have been dating for about five years now. I got to see the fair city of London for the first time by gong out to visit her, in fact.

      Important travel tip, for those who might follow in my footsteps: Never, ever tell the gentleman at customs "I'm here to see my girlfriend!" when he asks why you're visiting the UK. The resulting conversatioon is as unpleasant as it is long.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know you are a geek when..

    You end up hooking up with the lady at the far side of the restaurant, because your Iphone/other device noticed their Iphone/other device, sent it an automatic ping and they checked it to see why "their" date hadn't turned up... !

    I know someone who had this happen.


  5. John Tserkezis

    provide some tips on how to get the best match possible while avoiding the oddballs.

    Hey! Oddballs want love too you know!

    1. BlueGreen

      damn right! I *am* one of the oddballs, thank you very much.

      Funny how it never occurs to 'normal' people how dully conventional they might look from some other, novel standpoint.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        I'm interesting

        You're an oddball. They're batshit insane.

        1. pepper

          Re: I'm interesting

          Now then, batshit insane is one of the better types of insane, have you ever smelled cow dung, or for that matter stood in it wondering how you got wherever you are that you may actually traverse through cow dung?

          What are we on about again?

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: I'm interesting

            Depends on the bat, as a general rule of thumb herbivore shit smells better than carnivore shit smells better than omnivore shit.

            eg pig shit is much worse than cow shit.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: I'm interesting

              @phuzz: (in regards to the various types of fecal matter)

              .... I did not need to know that.

              *reaches for the brane bleach*

  6. Robin

    Fake Profiles

    Good article, particularly the point about paid-for versus free services.

    On one of the free ones, I've seen a few fake profiles. i.e. Person with a supermodel-looking photo requests a chat out of the blue. It'd be nice if this really happened, but when your instinct tells you something's not right it's generally correct. Suspicions can be confirmed by dropping the profile picture in question into Google images and finding it appears on several hundred other sites with completely different names.

    Besides that though, I've struck up some pretty decent conversations so far. I've only been trying it for a few weeks so far out of interest, so let's see!

    1. Scrumble

      Re: Fake Profiles

      I had someone contact me on plenty of fish. Apparently Natalie Imbruglia had changed her name, and moved to Grimsby, and was looking for lurve lol. What I could never get my head around was women including pictures of their kids. Aside from the fact that photo with six kids would put a lot of men off, who in their right minds puts photos of their kids on a site like that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fake Profiles

        plenty of fish


    2. fridaynightsmoke

      Re: Fake Profiles

      I had a message once from a supermodel who lived in Wolverhampton. Her pastimes were walking on the beach and skiing in the mountains. I didn't realise there were beaches and mountains near Wolverhampton. Also I didn't know they used US 110v sockets in Wolverhampton, but according to her photos they do. You learn something every day, don't you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fake Profiles

        Hahaha - yup, seen those too.

        I've had a look at some of those sites, and by simply creating a profile you tend to immediately get email if you use a decent picture. I was quite impressed by the long term strategy - it took 3 or 4 emails before they tried to get me to call their high rate call number because that would be "safer"..

        Personally I can't see the point of such sites. From what I have helped friends with, they are mostly populated by gangs abusing people's loneliness to scam them. No thanks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fake Profiles

        You noticed the sockets?

        Yeah, that's something I'd probably notice too.

        1. Robin

          Re: Fake Profiles

          "You noticed the sockets?"

          Are those 110V pins darlin' or are you just ... erm .... no forget that.

  7. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    My advice would be

    If he/she mentions Western Union - RUN!

  8. Harman Mogul

    We can all do it!

    >It's not too hard to craft a good bit of writing

    Ha ha, the triumph of hope over experience!

  9. tony2heads

    can turn out badly

  10. David Given

    Required reading for anyone interested in the subject is OKTrends' "Why you should never pay for online dating". It got pulled after OKCupid was acquired by one of the companies they were damning in the article, but there are cached copies everywhere:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worked for me too

    I'd signed up to one of those casual dating websites and was definitely not looking for a long term relationship, just enjoying being 'back in the game'. A few dates in and I fell in love at first sight & now plan to marry the girl.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worked for me too

      I should also point out that in terms of bringing a chaparone. I actually met her mum at the start of our first date, bit nerve-racking that surprise; she approved of me & we went out for dinner alone (me & the girl, not me & her mum).

  12. Wish You Were Here
    Thumb Up

    Worked for me

    Free sites do work. Plenty of fish worked for me. Met Mrs. WYWH 27 months ago today on there. There is quality on the free sites but like all things in life, you need to use some common sense. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worked for me

      I think that any online dating site has several distinct groups of people on it.

      1) The genuine people looking for a relationship. These people get snapped up relatively quickly and leave the pond of available people on the sites.

      2) The genuine people with something wrong with them, (poor relationship skills, really, really high standards or whatever) but looking for a relationship. These people say in the available pond more or less indefinately and account for a lot of funny stories about online dating.

      3) The players, looking for sex instead of a relationship. They don't "leave" the site and remain in the pond indefinately preying on fresh meat that might not realise the different groups of people involved and account for a lot more not so funny stories about online dating.

      People who do find people on dating sites don't admit it, and say they met at X. They might even be technically telling the truth if they say where they met in person for the first time offline! This removes the positive stories from the mix, and leaves only the bad ones. Generally.

      Strangely, people seem genuinely surprised that there are a lot negative stories about dating sites and a lot of people on there whom you really wouldn't be that interested in dating...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worked for me

      In my experience of Plenty Of Fish, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably from Llanelli.

  13. jake Silver badge

    Daft thing is ...

    ... all the singles at coffee shops & "purchase a lonely meal for one" emporiums, flashing their hardware bling, obviously desperate for a date, yet so intent on their iFad/fAndroids that they don't grok that there is a MOTAS within fifteen feet ... who is equally desperate for a date.

    If you're a Yank, eyeball the pre-made so-called "food" section of Whole Foods Market at meal time to see what I mean. It's really quite sad.

    Drop your internet connection, singles, and look around you! It ain't rocket science ... humans have been finding local partners since before there was fire.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Damn it jake...

      While I'm 100% with you on guys actually paying attention to all the girls that are actually there, I'm going to have to deduct 50% because you posted the Whole Foods info in a public forum. That's just low man. You can't go telling secrets like that!

    2. Nuke
      Thumb Down

      Re: Daft thing is ...

      Wrote :- "Drop your internet connection, singles, and look around you! It ain't rocket science ... humans have been finding local partners since before there was fire."

      The wimmin must have had fewer airs and graces back then. I have tried your idea and they told me to f@#k off.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Daft thing is ...

        @Don ... As a geek/nerd who never had issues dating (I know where the stereotype came from, and why, having partially grown up in Silly Con Valley in the 1960s & '70s), and is now happily married to the most wonderful woman in the world, I feel a need to share tips ;-)

        @Nuke ... Try bathing occasionally. It's the little things ...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'I've spent the last 20 years using the internet for dating'

    Oh... that must mean it works!

  15. Cosmo

    My experences

    I have and am currently on two dating sites - PlentyOfFish which is free, and Match which is a pay site.

    The numbers on POF are good, but the quality is very, very low:

    * Fake profiles (easy to spot though)

    * Unemployed single mums with multiple kids who live in a craphole of an area

    * Cougars (Think Dorien from Birds of a Feather) looking for toyboys *shudder*

    * Lots of lonely girls who just want to "chat" but have no intention of going on a physical date

    Match is a little better but:

    * Very expensive for what it is

    * You have no idea if the girl you send a message to can actually read your message as she may not be a full member

    * Some girls have a list of requirements longer than you arm

    * If you live in a non-metropolis area, your options are restricted

    Saying that, it sounds like I've had a bad time, but in the last year I've probably had about 12 dates, of which 10 were great and 2 were disasters (old pic and a cat lady). It really is a numbers game though. The only way that you'll get replies as a man is to send as many good quality messages as possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: My experences

      The odds are good, but the goods are odd.

  16. That Awful Puppy
    Thumb Up

    I've met my share of nutters ...

    ... including one girl, who, after one date (which went by without any physical contact whatsoever) decided that I was the love of her life (I didn't quite reciprocate) and eventually nearly forced me to change my phone number after pestering me with calls night and day.

    On the other hand, I've also met quite a few very nice girls - sometimes, things didn't work out, and sometimes, they did.

    However, I never found anyone on a dating site as such - mostly, it was just chatrooms and various forums.

    Oh, and internet dating is indeed a boon for not particularly attractive folks with the social skills of a demented turtle, such as me. Picking up women in bars or indeed initiating any sort of physical contact is, I'm afraid, very much beyond my abilities.

  17. DrewG

    I've had some success with Internet dating, as someone else said plenty of fish is good for numbers. Chatted to quite a few girls, went on about 10 dates before finally meeting my current girlfriend, just over a year later and things are going really well. I will admit that about half those dates I had to bail out on, stay away from the freaks!

  18. Great Bu


    ....who's up for a good hard shag ?

    ( I'll even bring my own goose fat )

    1. Simon Smith 1

      Re: So...

      Why? Are you intending to make roast potatoes?

    2. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: So...

      Will that be a European Shag or a Great Cormorant?

      Shags are quite close to boobies according to Wikipedia...

  19. Mattjimf

    I met my wife on Uniform Dating. We exchanged messages/emails for about 3 months before we finally met up (me being an hour late).

    I travelled to visit her a couple of times, then she came to visit me, I was looking for a job in two cities, decided it would be easier to look in one and moved in with her.

    I have used various different dating/meeting sites, most for short term dalliances.

    A friend of mine was due to meet a girl in a club while we were out, I went with him, he met her, and then ran out saying that she was nothing like she had described and her photo had suggested.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which one of you had the uniform? Does a burger flipper at the big M count as one?


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