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Going Digital: First Experiences with Online Dating

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I confess to being a relationships writer with little game. When I spot a man that I like in a crowd, the only signals I'll give him are an awkward smile and some dodgy eye contact. When I do approach a guy, I usually say something super nerdy or kind of inappropriate--my smooth tactic for standing out from the rest of the ladies. I know my timidity stems from self-consciousness, so when I took an intentional five-month break from dating new people, I wanted to focus on getting to know and accept myself more, in hopes of shaking my inner wallflower. I wanted to gain a better understanding of my likes, my dislikes what makes me feel happy and what makes me feel sexy without the influence of any men. Just in time for Spring fever, my dating hiatus is up and I'm looking forward to picking up a few guys and showing them the real--outgoing, fun-loving, slightly nerdy--me. I announced last week that I decided to enter the world of online dating as a way to expand my options, broaden my horizons, and learn more about what I want in a mate. I figured it would force me to be a bit more assertive, too. I started my digital dating adventure this weekend with the popular and free site, OKCupid. While I plan to sign up for some other sites (BlackPeopleMeet.com, Match.com and HowAboutWe.com), I decideded getting my feet wet with a free site would the smart choice. Plus, I want to test out some recent findings that Black women have less luck with that particular online dating site (more to come on that subject in future posts). OKCupid sucked me in like MySpace did when it first launched. I am constantly checking my homepage, perusing matches to see if any new cuties pop up, obsessing over my profile and checking to see if anyone new has visited me. On the first day of signing up, I got sucked into two personality tests, which took me at least an hour and a half to complete. The site finds your matches based on your answers to a number of questions--about everything from how sexually adventurous you are to how often you brush your teeth. This also sucked me in. In two days I answered nearly 120 questions. As far as getting over my shyness, I sent an email to one of my matches on my first day of signing up. He didn't respond, but I don't care. I'm just really proud of myself for reaching out. My main goal for this week is to send messages to ten new guys. One of them's bound to bite, right? Here are my other findings: The Good: OK Cupid is free, which means you can't lose by signing up for it. The tests and match questions are less clinical and more fun. Plus, the option to hide matches that you don't like from your match list helps you weed out the guys you don't want.  The Bad: I get the sense that a lot of the people on the site are not really serious about dating or meeting new people. Also, if your time is precious, beware of getting sucked into hours and hours of browsing, test-taking and question answering. It happens so fast. My Matches: Most of my matches are fellow creative and intellectual types living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. I'm attracted to about 40 percent of them. The Race Card: Most of my matches are White men, which makes sense because they make up the largest demographic on the site. My matches with the highest compatibility tend to be White men, too. I was surprised to find that that my compatibility with my Black matches was fairly low between 50 and 70 percent. Still, regardless of our love potential, most of the men who have sent me a message are Black young professionals. If they're not stressing our compatibility percentage, I won't either.  Read More:
Filed Under: Dating
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