Now that I’m nestled in the cozy confines of a relationship, I took a minute to think about the joys of walking on the grass on the other side of the fence. It is a lovely shade of green, as it turns out. There’s an occasional pile of manure over here, but that’s how it stays so green, I guess.
There are a wealth of things I’m happy to leave behind in the bachelor world : watching Valentine’s Day commercials alone on the couch, dating in general, the vague uncertainty that you will ever reproduce – but no aspect of that life will be missed less than spending painful hours on match.com.
My aversion to it grew so strong that I had resigned myself to either just embracing a future as Crazy Cat Guy writing unpublished novels in a filthy study surrounded by dozens of shelter rescue kitties, or simply hoping I would wake up one morning and realize I was actually gay. I would make an awesome bear, for the record.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why not just go out and meet people some other way?”
That sounds simple enough in theory, but in practice it’s hard to identify specific times and places to go meet other single folk. The older we get, the more isolated and entrenched in our routines we become – chance meetings reduce to almost none through the course of your day. When you reach a certain age (I’d say mid-thirties) you’re pretty much out of places at which you can regularly meet available, desirable people. Back in your twenties you had the bars and clubs to play in; but as the years slide by and your friends marry off, though, you find yourself without wingmen, and even if you had them – you’re now the creepy old people along the wall those little whippersnappers are making fun of.
So you’re left with online dating, or other, more uncomfortable contrived events to pair up lost souls. As unromantic as it is, you can’t help but treat it as a numbers game. You need to go where the largest number of available people are, to have the best chance of finding the right one. That leads one to match.com, who have marketed themselves effectively enough to become the McDonald’s of dating sites.
Much like their fast food counterpart, you’ll find something there, but ultimately nothing that you end up being really excited about. Exactly how this comes to be is still somewhat of a mystery – how they manage to disappoint virtually everyone that uses the site is actually a small wonder of statistics; since so many people feel like their matches are “below” them, there should be an equal amount of people who feel like their matches are “above” them, but it never happens. Everyone’s just kind of bummed about who they find.
Match.com accomplishes this by neither bothering to find out anything substantial about you, nor using what scant data they do procure in any logical or meaningful way. Just about every woman I know who has used the service specifies an age range near their own, only to be flooded with buckets of mail from men in their sixties, half of which feel it appropriate to include dick pics.
You can filter your results by body type – but who doesn’t think they are “about average”? You can filter by exercise frequency – but who will admit to working out less than “two or three times per week”? You can filter by education – but you can’t separate the well-educated from proud holders of an Associate’s Degree in Emoticons from Crazy Tony’s School of Online.
Why can’t I filter out people who can’t find the fucking Caps Lock key on their keyboard, or who pepper their headlines with “lol” and “totes”? Where can I specify I only want to meet people who take less than five selfies per month? Why isn’t there a check-box to eliminate anyone who watches American Idol?
Sadly, there isn’t anything you can do but shoehorn your life into that awkward form, hit ‘Send’, and hope for the best. Millions of single people out there do have one thing in common – they can’t believe that match.com sucks this badly.