Last month, I started an experimental series with online dating. I joined a number of sites and apps including DateMySchool, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, which have yielded some interesting results to say the least. It’s been one heck of an experience, I’ll give you that – there was never a boring story to tell.
As I mentioned briefly before, the season 2 closer of Catfish: The TV Show followed a guy named Mike who met the girl of his dreams, Caroline, on the dating site Plenty of Fish. However, what I didn’t mention (but what could totally have been inferred) was that Caroline turned out to be a catfish. Now, I know I should be extra careful based on my own previous experience, but I’ve learned my lesson and now have a basic screening process for each suitor. First, I exchange a few messages with the guy through whatever service we met on (every site or app has a built-in messaging system). Then, I make an informed decision to exchange phone numbers and switch to texting. At this point, I run their name and number through Google and Facebook the way I did when I caught my Catfish. This has been pretty successful so far – the average public Facebook profile (the amount of stuff you can see without being Facebook friends with someone) can tell you quite a bit about someone, especially if you have Graph Search, which helps you find public tagged photos of them. Tagged photos don’t just exist for the sake of Facebook stalking, but in turn verifies that this person has a social circle (and hopefully not a girlfriend and/or a child), which supports the conclusion that they are (fingers crossed) not a catfish.
Anyway, I’ve been on POF for a few weeks now, but haven’t taken advantage of the extra personality-matching quizzes it offers simply because I don’t have the time or attention span to fill them out. I’ve met a couple of nice guys, but nothing significantly promising. Today, I noticed a small ad at the top of the page, a single line: “Try eVow, a new dating site from Plentyoffish [sic] for finding relationships.” Anything for journalism, right? So, I clicked on the hyperlink and went about creating my profile. It asked a series of standard questions, but was slightly more thorough than the other sites I’ve been on. In addition to asking for your basic info, it asks what basic info you would prefer in a partner and how important it is to you. This is mainly for things like educational background (you can specify the minimum educational requirement you want in a partner, be it high school, bachelor’s degree, etc.) and religion. I filled out all the demographics and preferences, then clicked “Finish”. However, I was immediately greeted by this:
Yeah. That passive-aggressive little banner quickly informed me that I was not welcome in this here establishment. Further, I returned to the site and attempted to start over and recreate an account, but once you’ve been given that banner, your email and username are actually blacklisted. Okay, so I’m not as serious about online dating as some people are, and I’m largely doing this for the sake of the experience; if I meet some nice guys, that’s great and if I don’t, that’s fine too. But what happens if I change my mind in a year and decide that I do want to pursue a real relationship through online dating? Have I lost my chance at eVow forever?
Let’s be serious, that probably won’t happen. But that little banner is actually pretty concerning – sure, I’m probably not in a good place to pursue a serious relationship right now what with graduation coming up and post-grad plans in the works. I’ve always said, I don’t want anything serious until I know where I’m going to live next fall. But I guess a part of me does kind of want something long-term with someone, according to that banner. Maybe I’ve got some more figuring out to do after all.