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Online Dating:

It turns out that I met my lovely wife through match.com. I also found our dog, Toby, through petfinder.com. And our two kids we got through babies.com. Well, no, not the last one, but the other two are right. And I'm a big believer in online dating; it has its minuses as well as its pluses, but (1)

E(m) = pn

which is to say the expected number of suitable mates you'll meet (m) is equal to p (the probability that any particular candidate is suitable) times n (the number of people you meet), (2) in my experience, as we get older, more settled, and more educated, we tend to get pickier and the p thus becomes quite low, and therefore (3) one easy solution is to increase the n. And the best way I've seen of doing that is through online dating. (Yes, the equation is an oversimplified model, among other things since the p may vary depending on the source through which you meet people, but I actually didn't find the p to be much less for online dating than for other contributors to n.)

In any case, I was just talking to an acquaintance of an acquaintance, a woman in her thirties who is interested in doing online dating, and I realized that my own store of online dating advice is pretty old -- five years old, which is 35 in Internet years.

So what can our readers, especially women, who have more recent experience recommend? Are there any services that you've found especially useful or useless? Are there any tips that worked for you? Any approaches or practices to stay away from? (Not people to stay away from, approaches or practices to stay away from.)

Please post your answers below. Please limit your answers, though, to useful advice on the subject, rather than (for instance) debates about the morals or social utility of various modern dating practices. I'm trying to collect some useful tips for people, and digressions will decrease the thread's utility.

anon) (mail):
Never admit that you found a special friend via online dating, because this is considered uncool.
4.14.2006 7:10pm
Dave!:
Anon... you're wrong. It *used* to be uncool. But these days, everyone is doing it. I met my wife through match.com several years ago, and at the time, many of my friends/relatives were shocked (both that I did it and that I met someone so wonderful.) Now? I know people from all age groups (college to seniors!) who have at least tried on-line dating.

The "stigma" of on-line dating is long, long gone...
4.14.2006 7:19pm
Steve,:
My girlfriend met me online because she had a blog.
4.14.2006 7:20pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
My cousin got married to a really wonderful guy she met on JDate, and my best friend met his girlfriend on whimit.com which is the Russian "online community." Online dating definitely seems to have taken off, from what I have seen.
4.14.2006 7:23pm
Cornellian (mail):
Hey Prof V, can you tell us how you described yourself in your Match.com profile? That would be both interesting and useful.
4.14.2006 7:24pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Cornellian, I think it would be more interesting (and fun) if we all took OUR shots at that description :-)
4.14.2006 7:36pm
davidbernstein (mail):
A very useful tip, I think. Women almost never email men through online services, or at least approach men a lot less than vice versa. So you have all these frustrated men who send out several dozen emails, only get a few dates, if that. Solution: if your friend is willing to overcome her inhibitions, and is willing to contact men, she will do very well, meet many men, have many dates, etc.
4.14.2006 7:39pm
GeoffCapp (mail) (www):
Dave!, while most of my closest friends are people I initially met online (only one via a dating site, and we're no longer dating but still keep in touch), I must say that IME meeting people online has only lost its stigma among those who have already done so themselves. Naturally, this is an ever-increasing segment of the population; nevertheless, it is still the minority in most places, and the majority in those places will have the usual "ewwww" reaction.
4.14.2006 7:41pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
GeoffCapp: I started doing online dating in large part because three good female friends of mine, whom I thought quite highly of, were doing it.

So let me offer a friendly amendment: Meeting people online has lost its stigma among those who have already done so themselves, and among those who know people who have done so and think highly of the dating-market value of those people.
4.14.2006 7:49pm
Brad (mail):
I have been trying out the online dating thing and got over the stigma attached to it long ago. After all, why cut yourself off from a number of people you might not have otherwise met? In other words, it's a good way of increasing your "n".

I also strongly agree with David. My best friend is a very attractive, desirable woman who tried the online dating thing. She was almost overwhelmed with responses to a well-written profile. However, her best success was when she took charge and emailed men, which is how she met her significant other. Women have a very large upper hand online. They shouldn't be afraid to use it.
4.14.2006 7:59pm
FXKLM:
My only experience with online dating is occasionally scanning the dating section of Craigslist. It's fun to look at, but I would never want to meet one of those people. Most of them seem fairly disturbed. Hopefully, Craigslist is not representative of online dating sites.

I have one piece of advice for women: Try to avoid using flowery poetic language in your profile. It invariably comes across as obnoxious and ditzy.

BTW, I find it a little ironic that someone posting comments on a law blog on a Friday evening would complain that online dating is uncool.
4.14.2006 8:11pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
FXLKM: Very funny last paragraph.
4.14.2006 8:12pm
nivine (www):
As a (former) techie working online for more than 10 years, getting to know people online before meeting them offline was the norm in my world (actually, I still haven't had the chance to meet some supercool aussies I worked with a few years ago, but I digress). There are just some things you know to look for in order to "size up" who you're dealing with. One of the benefits of having a gender neutral name, too, is that you get to see how guys really behave when they think no women are around. That helps me narrow things down rather quickly.

Perhaps because many people still have trouble sizing others up offline (successful con men - and women - still abound), they have even less confidence doing so online. For the kids that are being raised online now, however, the whole idea of online dating will seem totally normal and a thread like this won't even come up.
4.14.2006 8:14pm
ForestGirl:
I moved to California (where I had never been and didn't know a soul)last year and thought I'd give online dating a try. I've done match.com thing and craigslist (where I also found my apartment and car). A year's worth of experience has shown me a couple of things:

(1) You had better not be too sensitive or too reserved. Don't be too sensitive, because your date will likely decide within 15-60 minutes whether he ever wants to see you again. For the same reason, if you are generally reserved (like me), you're in trouble. I think this is a function of the medium of the internet itself--so quick and so detached--that dating derived from it tends to be the same.

(2) Don't expect much in the way of common courtesy. Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned, but even for mediocre dates I always send a quick email thanks. Don't expect one back.

(3) It's really not scary. In probably 15+ dates, I've never even had one bad enough that it made a good story!

(4) Overall, it's been fun. I've met some interesting people--one remains a good friend--have been to some interesting places, and never have to sit home on a Saturday night if I don't want to.

Prof. Volokh: thanks for sharing your happy-ending story, maybe I won't give up just yet! It also reminded me of something I've been thinking for a while now as a long-time fan of VC: it's too bad that there isn't a way to combine one's favorite blog with one's favorite dating site. Just knowing that someone is a loyal Conspiracy reader would make for a good date! :-)
4.14.2006 8:24pm
A Blogger:
For women, their picture seems to make the biggest difference: A good picture can trigger an almost overwhelming number of responses from men.

For guys, a witty intro and a well-written and non-cliched profile seem to be most important. But there's no doubt it can be frustrating to guys: a woman with an attractive photo who logs in regularly might get 30 e-mails a day, and might respond to one or two.
4.14.2006 8:28pm
John Armstrong (mail):
Come on, you were a math student. The optimal strategy has been solved. If you'll meet n people , automatically reject the first n/e (round down. e is the base of the natural logarithm) and accept the first after that who's better than all previous opportunities.
4.14.2006 8:54pm
Kit (mail) (www):
I completely agree with your equation - I didn't start specifically looking via online dating until I was 28 (I'm now 31), and I had a huge list of criteria by then. Just the basics often ruled out many men for me, as I was looking for a never-married, no-kids, doesn't-want-kids type. I tried match.com and eHarmony and didn't have much luck. eHarmony told me I was way too picky and that they knew of no one on the planet who would put up with me.

For match.com... when I put up ads, I would be flooded with the most bizarre crazy emails imaginable, so I stopped doing that and just searched ads instead. I profess a certain amount of shallowness, so I did want to see a photo. It's not hard to look good - clean up, tend to your grooming, and find a photographer via your local college photography classes if you really want to do it up right. (Unless you want a girl who likes your unshaven mountain man looks, in which case, ignore the foregoing.)

I also wanted at least small display of basic English skills and internet savvy, since those things were on my requirements list. I wanted to read a genuine paragraph about the guy's interests and what he was looking for - no sense wasting both our time if that wasn't appealing. I agree with other commenters that keeping cliches out of the ads is also helpful for getting a woman to respond. Just being humble and approachable will go a long way.

I ended up finding my match via livejournal.com, which isn't a dating service, but certainly gives you the opportunity to get to know people with similar interests. Through LJ I found (by accident really) someone who met all of my basic criteria and at the same time, I had the chance to learn more than the basics via his journal entries (I imagine one could use the blogging community as a whole in a similar fashion if one were brave enought to become a frequent commenter and then start emailing another blogger). I flew from Virginia to Montana to meet my LJ match, and moved to Montana to continue the relationship a year later. Now we're three years into it and still getting along famously.

I have found that while the reaction I got when telling people we met via the internet was "weird!" three years ago, now it seems just as normal as using a dating service.
4.14.2006 8:57pm
davidbernstein (mail):
FWIW, before I left DC, I had dinner with a group of casual friends, and EVERYONE at the table had met their significant other through either match.com or JDate. Maybe it's a "30s" thing. My wife and I were the exception, but only partly: we met several times in 3D, but she wasn't available. Then I saw her profile on JDATE, signalling availability, and the rest is history. So I wouldn't worry about social stigma for a 35 y.o. in a major metro area.
4.14.2006 9:29pm
Slim (www):
I had much more luck meeting men through my blog than I did with online dating services, but:

- Have a good photo. Don't use something old; get dolled up, go out with some friends, and have them snap a few shots of you. Don't use a photo with another person imperfectly cropped out, though; disembodied limbs will only create questions.

- Have a well-written profile. Spend some time on this; read other women's profiles to get a sense of what the competition is saying. If this woman is a Volokh peer, she's already probably smarter and more eloquent than 99% of the people online. Emphasize this. Go over your profile a few times to cull any cliches. Include things that someone who writes to you can use as a jumping-off point for an email.

- Don't feel like you have write everyone back. If you have a hot picture and a scintillating profile, you will get lots of emails. Most of these will be spam written by guys who didn't even read what you had to say. Delete these without guilt.

- Write to people. Make sure you refer to something from their profile to differentiate yourself from the spammers (although I don't think there are many female spammers).

Spring Street used to be great, but they were sold, totally changed their payment structure, and made all the good features expensive. The dating pool on there is probably still better than OK Cupid (or *shudder* Yahoo Personals), though. Match and Lavalife are in the middle. JDate I hear good things about.
4.14.2006 9:32pm
canadianllb (mail):
Professor Volokh, when will you set up the VC Matchmaking Service? =) Imagine telling your legal community friends that Eugene Volokh set you up!
4.14.2006 9:32pm
Nicole Black (mail) (www):
I met my husband online waaay back in 1995--back when it was an oddity. One thing that I liked about it was that it was nice to have a meeting of the minds prior to meeting in person. And, we've been together ever since--married for 8 years in May.

Having a good picture is certainly helpful. At the time, I had a web page, dedicated soley to moi, that I'd created using the HTML programming language. Ahhh, the good ol' days when you had to do it all yourself. How things have changed!

But, I digress. I think that the most important thing to do when entering the world of online dating is to look for inconsistencies in your potential date's "story" of his life. Try to get him to tell you the basics a number of times. If he's lying, he'll probably make a few mistakes, which is obviously a huge red flag.

Also, I'd definitely chat online and via e-mail and then on the phone for a while prior to meeting in person. And, for women, make sure to meet in public for the first date, possibly with friends nearby to keep an eye on the situation.

Bottom line: use common sense and keep your head on straight;)
4.14.2006 9:40pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
If you haven't read it Freaknomics has a chapter or a partial chapter about what people who use online dating look for in the opposite sex.


It is what you would think BTW (If I remember correct it was a while ago)
Chicks dig Mr. Moneybags
Dudes dig Blonds and not fatties

I don't prefer blonds so maybe I can moneyball it somehow (having no idea how moneyball works, I just hear it used alot)
4.14.2006 9:49pm
Yankee_Mark:
I too went through the Match/E-Harmony grist mill but ended-up marrying someone I met through a mutual friend. From the male perspective ... few things are as annoying as misrepresentation, whether it's a "Jack Daniels" photograph (aged 12 years), describing one's size 22 girth as 'slender' or having someone else write your profile.

The writing sample REALLY does help one to form an initial impression to work from which along with having handy conversation topic 'seeds' are among the main advantages to this approach. This mode is especially valuable for those of us who've become too old for or tired of the 'club scene' Internet dating really and truly IS the way to go...
4.14.2006 10:01pm
77vintage:
Ok, as a guy currently using match.com (my screenname for this comments section is not very original), here are some observations that I think I can add for any woman using the service -- if for no other reason than I'm coming at it from the Mars perspective:

(1) Take the time to write your profile so that it is not a cliche. I typically sort through about twenty profiles every day or so and send emails to about five of them -- and a vast majority have very generic comments such as "I like to hang out with my friends," "I work hard and I play hard" or "This is probably the hardest thing to do without sounding full of yourself." Instead, the profiles I'll send an email to share a detail that is somewhat personal: either a vivid description of something you love to do, a personality trait (show, don't tell) that puts you in a good light or a bit of your history, such as where you went to school, worked or whatever. The other bonus of doing something like that? You can tell which guys have actually read your profile because they will ask you questions about or comment on the details in it!

(2) Be polite and respond everyone who emails you, even if it's a "no thank you." Sorry, but this is common courtesy and the good kharma vibes you generate from that will pay off in the long run (that is, if the universe has any sense of kharmic justice). After all, while there are guys who will send out lots of spam emails, there are also a bunch who will take the time to write you an individualized email -- that takes time and effort, and a polite "no thank you" is appreciated. I believe match even offers robot-type reply features to show you're not interested -- so it will take you only a little effort.

(3) The other posters here are correct: send emails to the guys you come across that you think have an interesting profile. It's the twenty-first century, and it's a good thing for women to be assertive!

(4) If you send an email, ask him questions about the details he put in his profile -- it shows that you are interested in him beyond the superficial details he has in it.

(5) Finally, never, under any circumstances, and even if you mean it jokingly, list shopping as one of your favorite things in your profile -- unless all you're after is a sugar daddy. Listing shopping is almost as bad as a guy saying he'll only date "hot chicks"... it's just a bad signal for prospective matches.
4.14.2006 10:13pm
77vintage:
Nicole:

Boy, I have to think internet dating has changed a lot since 1995. I've found that usually you can get a phone number by the third email, and then a meet up for coffee or drinks (sometimes even lunch or dinner) after the first phone call. Either people click or they don't, and why drag it out if it won't work?
4.14.2006 10:18pm
John Lederer (mail):
Their return policies suck.
4.14.2006 10:23pm
Perseus:
Here's a link to an article on the subject: Mismatched.com

Most useful bit of advice: run the profiles of your suitors by your therapist first.
4.14.2006 10:35pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
I met my fiancee through an online service, and I think you're missing a point: Given search capabilities, it's not just that n increases, so does p, because you can filter out people who fail on any number of criteria which would be very expensive in terms of time to sound out in a physical dating context.

Indeed, get a good picture, write a description of yourself that is distinctive, and don't hesitate to contact prospects who appeal to you, even if you think they're out of your reach.

My finacee contacted *me*, after I'd passed her profile over thinking that she was out of my league...

Oh, and be sure to neaten up the view from your webcam... ;)
4.14.2006 10:35pm
Ilya Somin:
Eugene and David are not the only VC bloggers to have used Internet dating, and I've done so somewhat more recently. Maybe Eugene really should set up the VC Dating Service. It might be a more lucrative venture than even his computer programming business!



A few possibly useful tips:



1. Match.com is by far the best site, in terms of quantity, quality, and price. The AVERAGE quality of people is perhaps higher on 1-2 other sites, but Match.com has so many more people that at any given quality level there's a larger absolute number on Match (at least if quality is defined as a combination of looks and intelligence).



2. E-Harmony is greatly overrated. They operate on the assumption that their formula is better than your judgement as to who you want. If you're a reasonably self-aware person, they're wrong.



3. J-Date is worth trying if you're Jewish (and definitely if you only want to date other Jews), but it suffers by comparison with Match because there are many fewer people.



4. Women still have the edge in the e-dating game because there's so many more men doing it than women. However, there are special pitfalls that women face including 1) harrassment by obnoxious men, 2) men who lie on their profiles (women can do this too, but my sense is that men do it more often), and 3) getting deluged with unwanted e-mails.



5. Regarding the essay, it's important to have something that makes you stand out from the field and gives the reader some idea of what kind of person you are. A lot of women (I don't read too many essays by men:)) seem to have "I like to travel/I like to laugh" themes that don't set them apart from the 95% of other people who feel the same way.



6. As David points out, women can get a lot of mileage from e-mailing men first. It's still the exception rather than the rule, but becoming more common. Out of the e-dates I have done, about half were with women who e-mailed me first.
4.14.2006 10:35pm
Leland:
I met my wife online. However, like Eugene, it was over 5 years ago. In fact, Match.com was just starting about the time I found my soon to be wife, but I actually met her on Yahoo chat.

When people asks us how we met, we tell them the truth, "over the internet". Yet, really we only chatted over the internet for about 5 minutes. We exchanged phone numbers and never again chatted on the internet.

Anyway, can't help EV. I spend most of my time making sure my daughters (came with the wife and now 14 - twins) don't find love over the internet.
4.14.2006 10:51pm
Leland:
I agree with the formula. The bigger the population, the greater one can discriminate to find a more suitable mate. The internet is a rather large population.

However, the internet is simply a tool. We can chat on it, blog, email, and trade IM's. I think the best way is maybe to discover someone that way, but remember that some older tools are still available. If you like someone, trade phone numbers. Then pick up the phone and chat. This allows people to get away from the computer, get comfortable, and maybe even relax a little more.
4.14.2006 11:04pm
Cynicus Prime (mail) (www):
I think most online dating sites are overrated. I met my wife online, but not through a dating site. We connected via a mailing list for a mutual interest in music. Our affection and relationship grew from there. I find it much easier and more constructive to find someone with similar interests through those particular interests.
4.14.2006 11:08pm
Sameer Parekh (mail) (www):
Hi. Someone posted suggesting that there are not very female spammers. This is incorrect. A number of female "accounts" on match.com and similar sites would send out spam, and rather than the male-spam you mention, this was actual, true spam, not just some insensitive guy sending out lots of form emails. It is generally a poorly-disguised solicitation for a porn web site.
4.14.2006 11:23pm
77vintage:
For the record, I've received some very well-disguised solicitations for a porn web site. I applaud those spammers for being inventive -- and quickly report them to get their accounts bounced.
4.15.2006 12:04am
DG:
Everyone I know has met someone through match or jdate. My wife and I met on Jdate three years ago, and we got married 6 months ago. There is no stigma or uncoolness, at least for 30ish professional folks.

E-harmony freaks me out. Whats the deal with that guy?
4.15.2006 12:06am
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
I, too, met my wife online -- 11 years ago now. She was in LA for her postdoc and living with her grandparents and wanted to meet people, so posted in a local personals group on (gasp) the Usenet. This was back before posting a personal on the Usenet was suggestive of mental or sexual disfunction, and before the personal groups became 75% penile enlargment spam.

Anyway, we emailed a few times, called a few times, met, dated exclusively, married 9 years next week.

It was very strange back then. Now it seems almost mundane. I kind of preferred strange.
4.15.2006 12:08am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
While your simple numeric analysis is right assuming you can only pick members of your preffered sex at random and every pair of compatible people realize they are compatible these are hardly reasonable assumptions.

The types of activities we do the type of job we have all partially identify what type of person we are and people we meet through these real life situations are likely to have something in common with us. For this reason I have personally found that meeting people through school/work is way more effective at finding compatible people than online dating. Of course if you don't like to date people you are in school or work yet and are asking out people you meet at the mall things are entierly different.

Also you fail to take into account the probability that two compatible people go on a date but think they are incompatible. Personally I find these much more likely to happen in online dates where you often don't have common experiences/friends to talk about. Also many online daters go into a first meeting with very low expectations which can lead to false negatives (this is rational since if you are going to date many people having a high false positive rate becomes more expensive in time/emotional effort).

Ultimately I think online dating can be a useful tool. Especially for people who cannot/don't wish to date those they work/socialize with. However, it has radically varying efficacy depending on what you are loooking for and what sort of person you are.

For instance I'm a grad student in mathematics and tend to like to date smart women with a similar rigorous/logical outlook. Given that there is often a large ratio of men to women in these fields there is little incentive for women to look online and the large pool and low investment in online dating just exagerate this issue.

Also some traits are easier to convey online than others. For instance saying you want to date someone who believes in animal rights is easy. Saying you want to date someone who is really smart is hard. Smart is frequently used as a synonym for 'someone I find attractive' and almost everyone things of themselves as smart in some sense. Going out of your way to emphasize you mean the sort of person who is smart in the test/book sense just makes one look like an ass (because in most situations people who talk about being smart/hanging out with smart people are asses).

Or in summary if you like easily communicable qualities online dating seems great. If you like things that are harder to put in writing that large n comes at the cost of a lower p.
4.15.2006 12:10am
TFKW:
Don't forget that sites differ not just in how "good" their users are, but in the types of people they attract. I have heard people complain bitterly about how obsessed the users of their sites were with the career prospects of their potential mates. On the other hand, others are filled with teenage girls who just want to see what percentage match it gives them with their friends. Neither is necessarily "better".

Also, I find the idea of a VC matchmaking service hilariously funny. :)
4.15.2006 1:14am
Raw_Data (mail):
The law of large numbers prevails and if you comb through enough raw data, you will find a keeper.

Just last week I posted a silly vignette on Craigslist and within hours I heard from a woman. We chatted a bit and within two or three exchanges -- it wasn't very long at all -- we agreed to meet for dinner.

Well it turns out that she and I had crossed paths very slightly about 8 years ago in a professional capacity. And actually there's a lot more to this story -- my Craigslist post and why she &I hadn't lunched 8 years ago.

Anyway, Craigslist brought us back together and we had dinner again last night.

•••

I think the key to a posting is to actually say something of substance which will act as a cue ...maybe for VC readers it would be "Btw, what do you think of the Scalia's descent in ...." or it might be a funny little story (that's what I did) rather than presenting the laundry list of characteristics which you claim to be/have ("fun-loving" &"walks on beach" &"no baggage") or seek in a mate.
4.15.2006 1:23am
Hattio (mail):
Two questions.

Any suggestions for those of us in rural areas for whom the numbers aren't really that much better online? I'm trying the online thing, but I think there's only like 40 in my area, unless I define it really broadly.

Is match.com really that much better? Does anybody in a rural area have experience with match.com?
4.15.2006 1:36am
m-kel (mail):
At the risk of being redundant, the whole VC match-maker thing could be quite beneficial to us readers--and potentially lucrative to Professor Volokh.


FXLKM: good one!!
4.15.2006 1:38am
Fern:
I met my husband the old fashion way and found my cats the old fashion way, and I don't think online dating has a negative stigma. It just seems like one of the normal things people do these days. Online dating doesn't seem all that different than commenting on a blog or participating in a messageboard. I think all three have the benefit of reducing the value others place on physical appearance and increasing the value placed on a person's ideas and personal characteristics (such as religion, political affiliation, level of education, etc).

For what it's worth, I've been told that eHarmony.com is pretty good. I filled out the questionaire once, just to see what questions they asked. It was quite extensive and time consuming. I would imagine that such an extensive personality profile would reap good results.
4.15.2006 2:01am
Cornellian (mail):
For instance I'm a grad student in mathematics and tend to like to date smart women with a similar rigorous/logical outlook. Given that there is often a large ratio of men to women in these fields there is little incentive for women to look online . . .

I'd love to date a grad student in math but to look at math departments you'd hardly know that female grad students in math even existed.

Saying you want to date someone who is really smart is hard. Going out of your way to emphasize you mean the sort of person who is smart in the test/book sense just makes one look like an ass (because in most situations people who talk about being smart/hanging out with smart people are asses).

I think people use education as a proxy for brains. If you're restricting your search to graduate students in mathematics (for example) odds are you're going to get someone very smart, at least in a narrow sense of "smart."
4.15.2006 3:26am
Cornellian (mail):
One thing to consider (and maybe everyone already does this) is to search the competition. So if you're a man looking for a woman (for example) tell their search engine that you're a woman looking for a man with characteristics (age etc.) similar to yours and see what turns up. It might give you a few ideas about how to make your own profile stand out from the crowd.
4.15.2006 3:30am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Gee, LogicNazi, now I know how you got your handle. The E(m) = pn thing was a bit of a joke (or an attempt at a joke), of the "let's translate a basic commonsense point into something pseudoscientific" variety. The basic point is simply that you've got to kiss (or at least have a drink with) a lot of frogs to find your prince; yes, it may be fewer if you hang out in one pond rather than in another, but it's still a lot. And the main thrust of the post are the questions at the end, not the E(m)=pn mumbo-jumbo. But thanks anyway, Mr. Spock!
4.15.2006 3:55am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Haven't done Internet dating, but did do video dating a decade ago. I was looking for brains, and used education as a surrogate for that. I think I went three straight first dates once with double doctorates. Most of the women I met though like that were a bit weird, and we didn't click.

I did find that I got a fair number of the dates I asked for, possibly because one of my pictures was in a tux. And, yes, I own it (and picked up a second one since then - for under $100). I was in Austin at the time, and I think that worked better there than it would here in Colorado, where people are much less into getting dressed up. It also helped that I had a very good job with a company they all knew about in town. (Otherwise, why would anyone go out with someone as boring as a patent attorney?)

An almost girlfriend has had extrodinarily good luck with match.com. She is probably about 50 and keeps ending up being flown around the country on 1st and 2nd dates with guys who have money to burn. But she is finding that they all ultimately have baggage - as, I suspect anyone in their 50s does.
4.15.2006 5:43am
Eric Muller (www):
I met my wife online.

She was looking for another woman.
4.15.2006 8:13am
Eric Muller (www):
(rim shot)
4.15.2006 8:13am
Eric Muller (www):
I'm here all week. Tell your friends.
4.15.2006 8:14am
Cornellian (mail):
An almost girlfriend has had extrodinarily good luck with match.com. She is probably about 50 and keeps ending up being flown around the country on 1st and 2nd dates with guys who have money to burn. But she is finding that they all ultimately have baggage - as, I suspect anyone in their 50s does.

Searching for a baggage free person in their 50's is basically saying you want to remain single - the person doesn't exist. You could probably say that about most people even at 40.
4.15.2006 10:00am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
"The only reason I get any girls at all is because of Who I am.....a Rapist" ba da bum.....Rodney Dangerfield,1977
4.15.2006 10:01am
Nicole Black (mail) (www):
77vintage--

I probably should have clarified that my recommendations are more applicable to long distance dating, since that's my experience. I met my husband in '95 when I was 25--I lived in NY and he lived in Idaho. So, out of necessity, we spent a lot of time talking, e-mailing, etc. prior to meeting in person. And, you've got to be particularly careful when meeting someone who lives in another city/state..

I probably should have been a lot more careful than I was. But, it turned out ok, so it's all good, I suppose;)

That being said, while the dating platforms/interfaces have changed, people haven't. Any woman with an interest in continuing her life (sorry, a bit dramatic, I know;)) should ensure that she's safe.
4.15.2006 10:13am
ajf (mail) (www):
i find the idea of online dating services icky. but then, i find the idea of dating services in general icky. which isn't to say i have something against meeting people online -- i met two of my closest friends on iscabbs back in '93; we all live in the same area now and hang out together.

my brother met at least two of his boyfriends on iscabbs as well, and has a wide circle of friends met through mutual online friends. i think he met his partner that way, as well.

perhaps what i find icky is the idea of deliberately going out of one's way to find a mate. my own experience (and temperament) is exactly the opposite -- i meet people in the course of life; sometimes they click, more often they don't. no biggie.
4.15.2006 11:34am
Burt Likko (mail) (www):
Don't be too picky in the men you go out with. If you're looking at 25 profiles in your age range, and 24 of them result in judgments of "definitely no way," and the last one is "Msybe I'd meet him for coffee if there was nothing good on TV," then the problem is not with the men. I've had women friends who suffered from this problem and wondered why they stayed home most weekend nights.

Don't be afraid to initiate a conversation, particularly online, with a man who catches your eye. He has a lot of women he might be searching through and you want to stand out from the competition. Men like it when women are at least a little bit forward. This doesn't mean you have to take the initiative all the time, but it also means you shouldn't be a wallflower and wait for Prince Charming to send you the e-mail that will change your life.

Early-stage relationships blossom when both parties have something in common. So look for things you have in common with the men, and include plenty of interesting details about yourself (things you like to do, what kind of food you like to eat, what sorts of books you read and movies you watch) so that the men will be able to find things they have in common with you. I'll echo some earlier comments that when doing this don't give bland statements like "I like to have fun" or "I like sincere people, sunsets, puppies, and long walks on the beach." If you thnk you do have to search for things to list in this regard, try and find things that a lot of guys would enjoy doing, too.

Remember that many of the men will be just as insecure about what's going on as you, and realize that it's just a way to get to know people -- agreeing to a date is not the same thing as accepting a marriage proposal. Think of it as trying men on for size; you don't develop tremendous emotional trepidation to try on clothing and see how it looks and feels; so too you shouldn't be too apprehensive about meeting at a Starbuck's somewhere for ninety minutes or so.

Learn how to say "no" gracefully but decisively if you decide you're not interested. Of course you're going to hurt the guy's feeling when you turn down his request for a (second) date. But you'll hurt his feelings more if you string him along with equivocations.

...This is making me very glad I'm married. (Met The Wife at a wedding.) The Wife suggests that you be aware of what you're looking for -- fun "get-to-know-ya" dates, a long-term relationship, casual sex even -- and figure out as soon as you can whehter the guys are looking for the same thing as you.
4.15.2006 12:04pm
Humble Law Student:
So, am I one of the few remaining people who finds the idea of internet dating rather odd? I poke around dating sites because I find them humorous, but I can't take them seriously. Maybe I'm missing out?

I'm interested in hearing from you pro internet dating types about why I should get involved in online dating services.
4.15.2006 1:00pm
tefta (mail):
I'm about to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary, so dating online isn't something I've ever thought about, but meeting people online is a fascinating subject.

Since I almost exclusively visit blogs with a political bent, the people I 'meet' usually share a lot of my interests and in fact, I've become fast friends with a Kiwi woman with whom I, an American, have more in common that the dozens of acquaintances I've met in the 'real world' of central Florida.

Dating online is something I probably would have tried if I were starting out again, and visiting the VC is a great way to learn what's going on among those people with whom I would have been very happy to spend an evening on a real live date -- even those on the other side of the political spectrum.

Good luck to everyone who's looking for a mate and a lovely holiday weekend to those Christians and Jews reading this string.
4.15.2006 1:36pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Leland,

Don't hold your breath. My daughter and her friends went to an adult chat area when they were 14 and pretended they were adults. A college student they ran into became one of their friends and was still one of my daughter's email friends when she went to college. He was still single and, when my daughter was a sophomore, finally exchanged pictures. Now they are engaged - the wedding will be after her graduation. He's in Oklahoma and she's in California, and she'll move to Oklahoma. They meet at Christmas and during the summer.

They had a six-year internet pals relationship before deciding they were in love.
4.15.2006 2:01pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Well, I met my husband over the Internet while residing in California, when I received an email subject Title, "Florida Bar Applicant." Wondering why some "Florida Bar Applicant" would be writing me, I opened the email, and the rest was history.

On another note, I traveled across the Country on I-10 from North SF Bay to Tampa, FL with my disability horse, by finding very frendly, quality horse motels on horsemotel.com. Wives, husbands, pets, horse motels, the Internet is a very useful tool.
4.15.2006 2:42pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
I am surprised no-one has mentioned the assorted scams of major dating services - both conventional and online. I blogged on the legal problems of both Match.com and Yahoo! Personals back at TDB.

Considering the demographic of this blog, Conservative Match might be of interest to many here. While I don't have enough experience to give a quality opinion, one way or the other, I willl say that the profiles I've looked at tend more towards the conservative than the libertarian.
4.15.2006 3:55pm
Raw_Data (mail):
"I'm interested in hearing from you pro internet dating types about why I should get involved in online dating services."

You shouldn't. I don't think anyone here -- certainly not I -- is trying to persuade you of anything. If you want to continue in a pathetic, lonely, sad life without meeting a truly fabulous person -- some brilliant, buff, rich, probably an ex-Rhodes Scholar and ex-Olympian and get invited to dinners at the White House with Nobel &Pritzker Prize winners -- well, hey! it's a free country. And you'd save on all the fees,(except for Craigslist where the postings are already free.)
4.15.2006 7:08pm
R-U-Q-R-U:
My wife and I have been married for over 20 years. We met on the ancient Comopuser CB Simulator in 1985. If you are too young to remember, Compuserve was one of the first online time sharing systems. It was before AOL and all the rest. CB allowed group and one-on-one chats.
As luck would have it we found out while chating that we worked at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Being a rather large place we probably would never have met.
My advice for online daters is simple: be yourself and be honest. It will work our best that way!
BTW, my wife had an Atari and I had Mac Plus (1 KB ram no hard drive). We connected to Compuserve with 1200 baud dial-up modems. It was slow but worked!
4.15.2006 7:27pm
Alafair (mail):
Eugene, I also met my spouse online. I'll echo what some other women have already said: I found much more compatibility when I was the one to initiate contact. Once I got past my fear of that, I decided to remove my photograph. Because most people only search profiles with photos, removing mine reduced the number of messages in my mailbox (1-p of which, by your equation, were undateable), and I only exchanged e-mails with people I found interesting in the first place. If your friend's being cautious, I'd suggest the same for her. She can be selective about whom she contacts, then she can offer to send a photo if they think she sounds interesting.
4.15.2006 10:05pm
Oleg Volk (mail) (www):
For women, the winning strategy would be to go where men congregate. Any women venturing into technical forums get disproportionate amount of attentions (including the forums I run, such as http://thehighroad.org). So many men want somebody who shares their interests, so few women who would talk about such interests...any visitor would have a choice of many suitors.
4.16.2006 12:51am
Frank J. (mail) (www):
Personally, I found a t-shirt babe contest a great way to meet a woman through the internet (plus get free t-shirt modeling). Haven't seen anyone else use that strategy, though, but it certainly worked better than more traditional online dating services since I'm now married to her (and I make enough in t-shirts each month to pay the mortgage).
4.16.2006 12:57am
JoshL (mail):
I'm not entirely sure whether it's due to the internet population in general, the people reading this website and post, or the site's success in general, but considering that roughly 2% of the US population is Jewish, is anyone else even vaguely surprised by the number of "I know someone who met their spouse over JDate" stories here?
4.16.2006 1:20am
Jay (mail) (www):
I see one of the other married-through-bloggings, Frank J., chimed in above. I just posted my story at Dr. Helen's, but through the miracle of copy and paste, and since this was her post's inspiration, I'll toss it here too:

Well, it might not be internet "dating" in exactly the sense you mean, but Deb and I are the classic example of people meeting online through our blogs.

We both started blogging in early 2003, grew relatively popular fairly fast, and wound up in overlapping blogging circles. We'd comment-flirted a little, but in October 2003, at almost exactly the same time I started Carnival of the Capitalists and left more of an imprint on the blogosphere than I'd ever have imagined, she really got my attention and it fired up. Lots of e-mails, chats, calls, and by November we knew we'd be marrying and made plans for me to travel from MA to CA to meet her in person. Most of November and December was just "hold that thought," with things like the "warm socks" incident sprinkled in there. I flew out Christmas night and meeting in person was affirmation. We sort of did the honeymoon first, got together with some other bloggers, went to Vegas January 2nd, got married and spent one night there, and I returned home on the 6th. Then there was that strange limbo for a few weeks, until I flew back to Fresno at the end of January 2004, helped finish the packing, loaded up a trailer, and drove a southern route across the country and up to MA. Unknown to most people, that trip was made more interesting by morning sickness. Sadie was born September 29, our "wasted no time" baby. Valerie was born February 21, 2006.

We ended up blogging jointly, yet ended up lower profile than the path we'd been on. Then again, we both were heavily personal bloggers, which seems to be inherently limiting. I recommend it highly for putting yourself out there in full view, as exactly who you are, and being open to what might happen. I am sufficiently shy, and then "damaged" by my experiences, to have all but never dated. Thus being a hopelessly single prize catch at 42. I had finally accepted that I would never marry, never have children, and probably never date again due to my reticence about approaching anyone being that overwhelming. Meeting online solved all that, at least the way we did it. You figure it enabled us to know a huge amount about each other, have an "already know you" idea what type of people we were without ever meeting in person, know we were philosophically similar and intellectually compatible, and feel less scary. Even so, I still almost didn't call her that first time, between my skittishness and phone phobia, despite our having chatted in AIM for 4 1/2 hours the night before. The first call was 8 1/2 hours and the rest is history, but I don't think I've ever told her how close I came to running away before that happened, going silent, saying "naw, can't happen." For all it was easier and more certain online, I still had to let my normal reactions go.

Since then, we've seen other bloggers marry bloggers on account of blogging. A couple weeks ago we went to dinner with some friends and former colleagues of mine. The other two couples there met online with excellent results. One of the two singles there had not yet ahd that kinbd of success, though she had tried it. We've been to the wedding of a blog friend who met his excellent wife through eHarmony, which seems to be a particularly recommended online service. It's happening more and more, at least anecdotally.
4.16.2006 6:30am
Cornellian (mail):
I'm not entirely sure whether it's due to the internet population in general, the people reading this website and post, or the site's success in general, but considering that roughly 2% of the US population is Jewish, is anyone else even vaguely surprised by the number of "I know someone who met their spouse over JDate" stories here?

Not really all that surprising. I'd guess most of the readership is concentrated in large urban areas, where Jewish people are also disproprtionately located and it's "I know someone who met their spouse..." not "I met my spouse." How many well educated people living in large cities don't know any Jewish people? And if you're a member of a very small minority and want to marry another member of that same minority, it would seem sensible to go with a specialized service where 100% of the participants are a member of your group, rather than 2%.
4.16.2006 9:59am
Cornellian (mail):
Great story Jay. Not really what anyone has in mind when starting a blog, yet pretty much the best reward imagineable for doing so.
4.16.2006 10:02am
ly (mail):
I met my fiance through Match.com. I agree with those who point to the importance of a good picture and a thoughtful and well-edited profile. I would add that although you can do a lot of filtering based on the man's profile, his email, and the first phone call, you will still end up meeting quite a few men that you find you have absolutely no interest in. I didn't treat the first meeting as a full-on date. I arranged to meet for coffee or a drink and never stayed for more than an hour. The fact is that it's draining to met and begin to get to know strangers. If you repeatedly arrange to spend an evening with a stranger, I think you will quickly find yourself turned off by the whole thing. Online dating (dating in general?) takes stamina. You have to pace yourself.

I would also encourage people not to spend too much time emailing and talking on the phone. There's no substitute for meeting in person for finding out if you are actually compatible. Email in particular I think can be misleading. Not because of deliberate deception but because it's really a very narrow channel -- there's so much about a person that simply cannot be conveyed in writing.

For what it's worth, I'll throw in my personal screening criteria. As a general rule, I did not respond to men who:

1. Posted a picture of themselves partially naked
2. Indicated specific physical features as what they were looking for in a mate (even if I matched those features)
3. Posted a desired age range much below my own age. That is, at the time I was 38. I never wrote to nor responded to a man who said he was looking for a woman younger than 35 or so. I figured that men ages 35-50 (my own target age range) who wanted to date women more than 5 years younger than me were simply going to find me frightening -- that is, they were looking for a woman who would be pretty relaxed about getting serious, and that wasn't me.
4. As soon as I could politely do so, I wanted to learn if the man had ever been in a long-term relationship. If a man reaches 40 without ever having lived with a woman, I felt that he and I would probably be in very different places in terms of the capacity to sustain a relationship in depth. I don't mean to say that such a person could never manage a serious relationship, but only that there are two kinds of "age" -- chronological age and emotional age. I wanted to date someone similar to myself on both counts.

Hope this helps.
4.16.2006 10:53am
Robert Schwartz (mail):
"It turns out that I met my lovely wife through match.com."

When did you first notice this?
4.16.2006 1:07pm
AnotherAnonymousPoster:
I met my (soon-to-be ex-)wife online nine years ago, and will almost certainly return to the Internet when I start dating again. The fact that we met through an ISP chat room has not discouraged me about online dating at all. Through e-mail personals, we were able to discover that we grew up in the same Eastern state and had lived close to each other for years, but had never met until we had both moved West.

We also got to e-mail each other extensively before the first phone call (and a few days later, the first date). (So why is the marriage ending? My work forces me to move a lot and she wants to stay put.)

At the time, I sampled a lot of different services, in addition to ISP chat rooms. I would encourage others to do the same.
4.16.2006 1:11pm
Blog_Surfer:
I've looked at several of the sites and posted a few profiles. The J-Date service seems on the level. Yahoo has frauds but may have legit posters. If they are salting the gold mine then there business will implode. The Friendfinder, JewishFriendfinder, Asian - French - Gay - Midgit - BDSM Finder collection of sites is probably best avoided.
4.16.2006 2:33pm
Oleg Volk (mail) (www):
On-line mate search is very similar to data mining. The only down side is that the "car with the right specs" might not be to your taste in reality. Real-space approach is the opposite: "this looks nice", then you get to discover if the engine is any good.
I find that the net is a great source of friends picked on compatible views and competencies. However, the number of theoretically compatible people is vastly greater than the number of actually attractive individuals. Making the search on-line at least reduces the geographical limitations and reduces the time required to vet each initial contact. That said, it seems to me that dating sites are inferior to other methods, as they seldom contain useful information about the other person.
4.16.2006 4:29pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
I'm an online dating veteran. Recently met a very nice lady that way.

I agree strongly with Slim about having a good picture. My reaction to a bad picture is "you really don't care about this, do you?" I'd note, since this thread is in response to a posting by somebody born in Russia, that Russian women virtually always have good pictures.

Something that I'd recommend that may cut down on the number of responses but not the number of responses of interest is to tell lots of concrete things about yourself. For example, I find that perhaps 5% of the female profiles that I see want a man who rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (I'm not making this up; they even specify the brand). That's valuable information to me. I'm not going to waste my time nor the woman's time if that's what she wants: it's not what she's going to get from me. I don't think that there's anything inferior or wrong about such a woman; I just think that it's unlikely that we'll be a good match. On the other hand, a profile that says "I'm looking for good chemistry. Sweep me off my feet" and nothing more doesn't tell me enough to make a decision.

I try to do this with my own profile. As others have noted, women are less likely to contact a man anyway, but I suspect that I cut the likelihood down even further by noting that I'm not interested in travel or dancing and that I don't like dogs or cats. No point in wasting other people's time.
4.16.2006 4:31pm
Oleg Volk (mail) (www):
Specifying potentially problematic facts should be a good policy. For example, a very liberal person might not want a very conservative date, a hoplophobe might find a JMB worshipper problematic, and a person looking for slim petites might not want to waste the time of a portly tall candidate.

Russian dating sites approach this very seriously, the people seem to view this (correctly) as advertsing. I note that many of my friends use the studio photos I took of them in their personals. Those images are accurate but they also emphasize the good sides.
4.16.2006 5:21pm
kobayashimaru:
I'm another girl who met her fiance on match.com--we'll be getting married in 3 weeks, met 3 1/2 years ago. I am a shy person generally, and i found it much easier to meet and start to get to know someone that way. My recommendations: screen the men carefully and have a trusted friend read their information before you meet one, for your own safety. Make your profile really reflect who you are--don't be afraid to share unusual details, because those are what will draw men to you. (My fiance and I were both martial artists, and that's what started everything.) And don't skip over a man just because he doesn't fit your "perfect man" image--throw that right out the window, and just start dating men who seem interesting. You might end up with some good friends that way, even if you don't date them.
4.16.2006 6:44pm
Foolproof Method! (mail) (www):
Two women who met their husbands online love to share their foolproof method!

Check our website for lots of helpful information, including a free monthly newsletter!

4.16.2006 8:00pm
MrNewYorker:
Is this a good place to mention that I am MrNewYorker at JDate? Maybe I can meet a nice lawyer via the good counselor's invitation? This could be very romantic. The canadianlib is correct, at least about this I think. Probably about nothing else. If this blatant personal ad offends please delete and accept my apologies.
4.16.2006 9:04pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'd note, since this thread is in response to a posting by somebody born in Russia, that Russian women virtually always have good pictures.

If I were a Russian citizen living in Russia, I'd probably be pretty motivated to get out of there as well. I think the more general point is to approach with great suspicion any ad by someone who isn't a US citizen or doesn't already have a green card. I think a presumption of ulterior motive should apply.
4.16.2006 9:11pm
Alfalfa Male:
I'm a Match.com veteran and will add to the very good advice that has already been given about choosing a photo.

Don't use a photo that:

1. Shows you standing next to some guy who might be a former boyfriend;

2. Shows you standing next to a girl who is clearly more attractive than you are ("Oh, bummer! Why couldn't it have been the other one?!");

3. Shows you holding someone else's kid (the guy will click on "Next" before he can learn that it's not yours);

4. Looks like a professional swimsuit photo (it will attract more responses than you want and some of the good guys will assume it is a fake porn ad and move on);

5. Shows you holding a beer bottle;

6. Shows you holding a small dog.

Those last two might just reflect my own personal prejudices. Oh, also, under "Last thing I read", don't put Cosmo. I've seen at least a dozen women list Cosmo or Glamour. "Next".
4.17.2006 12:16pm
Ms Glass:
i've met many dates and made many online friends through sites like friendster, tribe.com, mayspace.com, nerve.com....etc. in many ways i prefer getting to know someone online in combo with getting to know them in real life, rather than just offline, because i value articulate expression quite highly. if someone can spell and form coherent sentences and tell interesting stories, as well as pay attention to details and answer my email promptly, they get major points with me. all that is a lot harder than just sort of being witty and cute over a beer. screw real life dating and the worthless bar scene--i like my men literate in this increasingly illiterate age.
4.17.2006 12:37pm
Some Guy (mail):
I prefer my own equation:

Nq=InDa + ST

Where Nq is "nerd quotient," InDa is "internet dating," and ST is "attending science fiction conferences or owning a memorabilia store." Nerd quotient is of course, a decimal beginning at 0 (Dick Cheney, of course) and approaching 1 (anyone with a booth at a Star Trek convention). Note that InDa and ST are both either 0 for "I'm going to kick your ass just for asking me that question" or 1 for "affirmative, I am a giant nerd." Also, note that is impossible for the Nq to exceed 1, as a score of 2 would indicate that a guy with a booth at a Star Trek convention would be able to get ANYONE to date him (even a fat girl from the internets).

In other words, to those using Match.com to find a woman, congratulations on your high scores, winners.
4.17.2006 12:53pm
Alfalfa Male:
Actually, I now find most of my women at www.trekpassions.com, a SciFi personals site. Here's a sample ad:

Here's a sample from the site:

Your basic Spock-like personality here, seeking a woman with a personality somewhere in the Deanna Troi to Subcommander T'Pol range. will consider B'Elana Torres to Kira Nerys types depending on extenuating circumstances. No tribbles, please.

31 years old | All, Maine
4.17.2006 1:48pm
DC Corporate Lawyer (mail):
I met my wife using Match.com, so check off another success story.

I find Professor Volokh's formulation pretty accurate -- the biggest plus for Match was that it had the greatest number. The other large advantage to using the computer was the search functions - if you have a deal breaker (i.e. something that you just couldn't look past, such as atheism, to use a recent example from the VC), you can screen out people based on that characteristic (or, more realistically, those characteristics). That saves loads of time compared with meeting people in person and having to ferret out information, particularly on touchy subjects like religion.

Generally, I was very pleased with the email screening process - you can find out a lot from a few emails (particularly if you suspect a person had a ghost-written profile). There were many interesting women on match, and I had a lot of good dates (personally I recommend drinks first, just in case...).

I'm probably lucky because my wife emailed me, and I emailed her back because her message was interesting, even though she didn't have a picture (I've since learned there are many reasons why a woman wouldn't post her picture other than that she's not attractive...). She put a bunch of criteria in to the computer, and I was one of 10 profiles that showed up. I guess that means I second (or third, or fourth) the notion that women should email guys whose profiles interest them.
4.17.2006 2:06pm
Paul Gowder (mail):
Afalfa male: oh my god, even after checking that site, I can hardly believe it's real! I guess it would be great for gay men, bec. I can't imagine that there's more than 0.001% women on the site (and I note that the browse function doesn't permit browsing by gender).

That being said, it does seem like the most fruitful way to do things would be to seek out online/affinity groups rather than broad-brush "internet dating" sites, thus raising p. (I agree with logicnazi!)

There's a wealth of them out there, beyond even jdate and the star trek site. Consider, for example, meetup.com, livejournal.com (with its "communities"), and yes, the blogosphere.

Amusingly, I took eharmony's test once for a lark, and it told me that I'm in the bottom 20% of people, i.e. that fifth of the population that it isn't even interested in having as members. Badge of honor man, badge of honor.
4.17.2006 3:15pm
Meryl Yourish (www):
Is that all I have to do? Blog?

No, wait, I've been doing that for nearly five years. That's not working.

Perhaps I should check out the online dating services, then.
4.17.2006 3:40pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
Cornellian: If I were a Russian citizen living in Russia, I'd probably be pretty motivated to get out of there as well. I think the more general point is to approach with great suspicion any ad by someone who isn't a US citizen or doesn't already have a green card. I think a presumption of ulterior motive should apply.

I should have made it clearer that these are pictures of women who seem to be (in one case I actually met one of them) here in the US. A better choice than "Russian women" would have been "women living here who have emigrated from Russia".

Alfalfa Male: Shows you holding a small dog.

That's an example of the sort of thing that I was talking about when I mentioned things that will eliminate responses, but maybe only the responses that you want. A photograph of a woman with a dog, cat, or horse (or, even more, just the photography of the animal, with no woman) is reason enough for me not to make contact. But maybe that's good. We'd probably both be wasting our time if I contacted a woman whose pet is such an important part of her life. Best that she be contacted only by men who want that sort of woman.
4.17.2006 3:42pm
Smitty18 (mail):
I'm a millionairre, physician and own a large yacht and several vacation homes, I enjoy travelling and shopping, divorced no kids.

Works every time.
4.17.2006 4:06pm
Paul Gowder (mail):
Meryl... perhaps your blogging isn't... shall ve say... "hot?"
4.17.2006 4:52pm
mike:
Nearly every profile I've seen, the woman claims "I enjoy everything from bass fishing to the opera and can go from one to the other in 30 minutes"

Don't claim to enjoy everything, and don't claim as an interest things you only think you might be interested in but have never done. If I've based a first date strategy on our common interest in cycling only to find out that your interest in cycling peaked at age 9, it will be awkward. Don't claim to like golf if you don't play. I guess I'm saying honesty is the better policy.
4.17.2006 5:51pm
Meryl Yourish (www):
Paul: Hm. I hadn't thought about making my blogging hotter. Okay. No more pictures of cats. From now on, I'll call them pictures of--well, you know. ;-)
4.18.2006 11:51am
Paul Gowder (mail):
Meryl... Oh my! Well, that'll get you some attention at least! :-)
4.18.2006 4:17pm