Don't worry, you're not going crazy. I updated a few things in my blog's layout. I felt it needed a little facelift. While I would also like to change the background drawing, I have yet to feel the artistic inspiration to create a new option. Perhaps if I had some fancy software like Photoshop my problems would be solved. We shall see about that someday.
My father went to see the final Harry Potter yesterday. By himself, of course. My mother returned last night from her visit to see friends with lake homes. I am trying not to be jealous, but it is really really hard when the weather is actually really nice and perfect for being in a lake when I know that there is 0.00% chance that I will be going to any kind of lake in the near future.
Perhaps I should add that to my list of "wants" for my personal ad. In addition to being a willing driver, you must also have some sort of ready access to a good swimming lake in Minnesota during the summer months. I do not really care if it is a fancy pants cabin or not. I suppose one stipulation would be that it be a somewhat private swimming location. I really do not need to see a bunch of scantily clad teenagers wearing age-inappropriate swimwear.
I suppose that now is the time for me to 'fess up and tell you that as much as I seem to mock online dating, I have partaken (partook?) in the practice a few times in the past 10 years. Web sites I have tried include: match.com, eharmony and chemistry.com. I realize that the last site is actually linked to match.com, but it involves a personality quiz, so it has the appearance of being more legit.
Every time I have started up (or re-started up) on one of these sites, I am always cautiously optimistic. Lord knows why. It always runs a similar course, although now that I am in my 30's I am finding that the number of interested parties has decreased a little in general. There just must be something universally appealing about 24 year old women that man cannot resist.
Here is my somewhat faithful account of the cycle of online dating for these sites.
This is probably one of the most well-known dating sites, which could be construed as a very positive thing as it is more likely to attract a broader range of person. It is also fairly "open" to searches and viewing, thus leaving much of the selection work up to the user.
There is no qualifying quiz for this site, although all profiles must be approved before they are open to viewing. This eliminates (hopefully) the yuckity-yucks who write about disgusting acts in language that can only marginally be taken as English along with their similiarly disgusting and inappropriate pictures. Save it for Craigslist, folks.
There are a lot of areas for free writing on this site. For me, this is important. While I realize that not every person worth meeting is a good writer, I need to know that someone I would potentially consider dating can at least write originally and convey meaning.
Sadly, the free writing aspect is a problem for some. Many a young man openly and quickly laments the fact that they don't want to write about themselves because they don't know what to say. I understand. Not everyone is confident in their writing skills and not everyone knows how to fully convey the essence of their complex personality in a concise and literary manner.
Still, this makes weeding through profiles very monotonous. There are only so many easy going "athletic and toned" guys who love sports, camping and cuddling that I can take. I have yet to find one that openly states they wish to cook, clean and chauffeur for their significant other.
I have an interesting relationship with this site. When I first tried it, many years ago, I was optimistic. I completed their questionnaire as honestly as possible for me (at the time) and was allowed to be a part of their "elite" singles group.
Unlike match.com, this site does not allow users to simply seek and find people on their own. No, for the extra cost, they take care of locating matches for you and presenting them on a daily basis. You are then left to review the profiles and then initiate contact if you feel so inclined.
In this case, "contact" means that you start the inane process of answering sets of questions designed by eharmony that are chosen by your "match," reviewing their "must haves" and "can't stands," and a few other steps that I can't quite remember. If you make it through all of these steps, you reach the "open communication" phase where you can freely email one another.
At first I found this intriguing. Helpful, perhaps. After a few go 'rounds, I was less eager to continually keep up and became confused over how far along I was with which person and what I really thought of any of them.
I think that I made it through my three month subscription without having a single date.
I did come back to this again, years later, only to re-take the personality test and be told that there were no matches for me. I can only assume that my more jaded and cynical (and perhaps more honest) responses did not meet their criteria. I tried again once more and managed to trick the system into letting me in. After one more three month trial and two dates with one ridiculously incompatible guy, I gave up on that for good.
Whenever I see their TV ads, I always have a pretty good laugh.
This site is actually part of match.com, but they are trying to go after the more discerning eharmony crowd by making you take another quiz before you can be on their site. In this case, I don't think that the quiz can disqualify you, but theoretically it is supposed to ensure more compatible matches.
I did this once. They ask very probing and insightful questions, such as "which picture of a hand most resembles your own?" As if proportional finger length is supposed to really mean anything. Also, you have to do these spacing and visual exercises that vaguely remind me of an IQ test I took when I was 5.
In the end, the communication process is not quite as tedious as eharmony, if I remember correctly, but the results were no better than what I saw anywhere else. It did introduce me to Jeff, a young man who still lived with his wealthy parents in Wayzata, installed home sound systems for a living, played mandolin in a bluegrass band and bought pot in his parents' driveway while I was on a date with him. You can guess how long that one lasted.
What did I learn from all of these experiences? It is hard to quantify. I am sure that some people are wildly successful with this mode of dating; my hairdresser is a victorious case-in-point. She has the ability to find new boyfriends immediately after breaking up with the last one just by reactivating her profile on match.com.
As I have a slight aversion to initiating contact in any circumstance, I am left to the advances of those brave enough to contact me. No matter how specific I am about age, marital status, education, location, etc. in my profile, I am inevitably contacted by men over the age of 40 with profiles containing little to no punctuation.
With the amount of time I spend trying to make my profile witty and honest, I have been left a bit depressed with the outcome. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me to lower my standards, but I think I have a few good years left in me before I have to succumb to the siren call of the illiterate rednecks.