Way back in 1985 (wow, that’s almost 20 years ago!) John Hughes had a dream… a dream or world where if you couldn’t get the hot chick, you could simply make her. Enter ‘Weird Science’, a story of two geeks who, via their computer, create the perfect woman, who looks an awful lot like Kelly LeBrock. After she emerges from their steam-filled bathroom, she poses a question that every man hopes to hear from the girl of his dreams, “What would you two little maniacs like to do first?” They had no clue. Nineteen years later, a man named Chris Coyne, realized John Hughes’ dream by creating a little known dating site called OkCupid, and even after being able to choose the height, weight, hair color, even yearly income of your date, people are as clueless as ever when it comes to what they want.
Growing disenchanted with the bar scene, I started online dating as a recommendation from an old college buddy. I never really contemplated exactly who it was that online dated, but I never saw myself as someone who’d ever try it. My closest friends and family raised a ton of eyebrows when I mentioned I’d be venturing into cyberspace to find Ms. Right, but soon discovered a ton of my friends were doing it, and many had great luck.
Fast-forward months later: I’d been on countless dates with my perfectly designed athletic-figured women, between the height of 5’4” and 5’7” with brown hair, who had backgrounds in everything from the medical field to dancing on Broadway. Not only did they look how I wanted, based on their essays and answers, we’d also have a lot in common, and indeed we did. And none of the dates were ever terrible, granted I was ‘Catfish’-ed once. I’d even had 2 relationships that grew from those rare amazing dates. Yet, I didn’t achieve the same kind of success that Gary & Wyatt had, as they not only got to have fun with their ideal woman, (SPOILER ALERT!) but also managed to fall in love with their two high school crushes by the film’s end.
It took a lot of time alone, and even more self-reflection to realize where I’d been falling short. I often blamed myself for being too picky… not giving the ‘so-so’ first dates a second try, and finally thought to myself, “Maybe I just suck at relationships”. Ready to hang it up completely, I received an e-mail from that same friend who initially recommended online dating telling me about a brand new site ‘HowAboutWe’
Rather than creating your perfect partner, you simply present a date idea, “HowAboutWe… go ice skating!”, “HowAboutWe… grab coffee at Union Square ,” The possibilities seemed endless. When you find a date you like, you click ‘I’m intrigued’, and indeed I was. I was being treated to many date ideas that seemed fun from woman I normally would never have gone out with. I was, if you will, stepping outside my comfort zone; as if online dating, itself, wasn’t enough.
Much like OkCupid (and, yes, various other dating sites I’d been a member of), I was treated to various dates that were good, but certainly not true love. Because the focus
was now more about ‘Offline dating’, (yes, HowAboutWe has coined that phrase), I also found myself way more focused on fun date ideas and less about how tall or athletic a woman was. Am I saying I suddenly had a complete 180 and decided personality supercedes attraction, certainly not. What I am saying is that I was way less in my head about who this person could be, and more focused on the feeling of how it would be to experience one of our date ideas together.
My three month membership of HowAboutWe has come to an end, and I decided to NOT renew. It wasn’t out of dissatisfaction… quite the opposite. A week ago I had one of the greatest dates of my life, and have seen her several times since then; I know, I know, but, hey, who am I to stand in the way of a good thing? I still go to bars with friends, but no longer in search of love. And whenever I overhear someone complaining about how hard it is to date in New York, or how much it sucks to try and meet someone at a bar, I say confidently: Try online dating. Unlike at a bar, you can cut to the chase about what you want and don’t want without having the person look at you like you have six eyes. Want kids? You can say it right away. Don’t believe in marriage? Yeah, you can say it. Much like a sporting event, or wine tasting, whoever is online dating is there for one purpose, and that’s to date, so when it comes to chatting about what you want, just like in life, all’s fair in love and war.