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2007-09-19

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What I learned about online dating

BY PAUL TASSI
Daily Staff Writer
Published September 18, 2007

I'm bored. It's 1 in the afternoon on Friday. I don't have class. I don't have plans tonight. I like women. And I think I'd like to see one, tonight. Unwilling to miss the rest of the episode of "The Dog Whisperer" I'm watching, I turn to the closest thing to me. My laptop.

That's right, we're online dating: an endless sea of Internet loneliness stretches out before me. The first site I try is iamfreetonight.com. I happen to be looking for a date for tonight, so this looks like it could be massively convenient. Let's see, male seeking female ages 18 to 25 within five miles of Ann Arbor. Search.

Nothing.

Nothing at 10 miles, 15 miles, 25 miles. Am I the only lonely person in this city? What's going on? Finally, at 50 miles I find a result. As I click on her I realize that I've found Marilyn Manson's long lost twin sister. The expression she wears is half rage, half seduction and 100 percent disturbing. She lives in Gross Isle and likes to keep "bussy."

Match.com is legitimate, right? They have ads on TV where people get married and smile and stare at each other. Why can't that be me? Well, ever notice how the people on those ads are old? Yeah, here's the thing. If you're college age and can't meet someone in class, on campus, at a party or at a bar, chances are you're extremely unappealing or so horny that the first four locations can't contain you.

As I sift through the pages of potential dates for tonight, I'm blown away by some of the entries. One girl proudly proclaims "im in collage." Another has posted a picture of herself in a wedding dress. My brain hurts.

To put it mildly, I'd say, "The majority of these girls are not my type." Why would you post a picture of yourself with vampire teeth and fake blood dripping out of your mouth? And why would you pose in your bra and panties when your legs and the edge of a razor appear to be mortal enemies?

At long last, a hot girl! I'm excited. I click on her. She's on her bed, wearing a sexy negligee and she claims "youve never seen how i do it." This is like finding a gold nugget in a river of toxic waste. This girl could be a model. Actually, this photo looks professionally taken. Wait . this is a model. And she's on match.com. This isn't a real person. It's just someone so desperate they've taken a photo from FHM and posted it as their own. But just in case that's not true, she still gets a "Hi ;)" message. Send.

My prospects for the night are looking dim. I try a few more recommendations. Gk2gk.com, where gk stands for "geek." I can pretend I'm an engineer. I already said I was a professional windsurfer in my match.com profile, so why not? I look around for about 10 minutes. It's the same crop as my previous attempts, except now everyone's wearing glasses.

OKcupid.com looks more professional than the other sites. I hit "quick match" because time is running short for my date night to happen. I'm immediately linked to a 34-year-old woman from Budapest, Hungary. I'm tempted, but I think I might be too cranky to make a good impression after the flight.

I'm on Craigslist. This is it. We've hit rock bottom. Craigslist hookups are so shameful. No one even wants to post a picture of themselves, although there is, of course, "yours gets mine." An endless amount of "curvy" women want me to fulfill their fantasies. They usually involve public restrooms and/or discreetly cheating on their husbands. I feel like Chris Hansen's about to kick down my door for even being on this site. I don't want to be on Dateline NBC. I give up.

So what have I learned about online dating? It's more or less a wasteland out there. Maybe if you're 35, working all the time and are tired of the bar scene, this might be for you. But if you're a college student and can form a sentence while looking at another person, go somewhere, anywhere. You'll find someone - eventually. If not, e-Harmony will still be there down the road.

No date for me tonight. Time to go to parties and try to impress girls with my Michigan Daily ID card. Really I'm still waiting for that model to message me back. Maybe if I believe hard enough she'll be real. And maybe I'll find my soul mate on Craigslist. Right.