iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 4 – Stories from Lavalife

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Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is part 4 of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series. Stay tuned for more!

H&M are the model couple. They’re a ridiculously cute and yes, almost envy-inducing, because that’s just how great they are together. H has infinite indie rock boy charm and though I’ve only met M a few times, she’s super nice and bakes tasty things. They met on Lavalife, chatted online, went on a first date together and have been dating ever since.

But you’re probably pondering… “if they’re so great, did they really need to go online to look for a date?” Good question.

Paraphrasing my friend H: “It makes sense if you think about it. People spend $30 and a night at a bar in hopes of meeting someone. Compared to that, online dating is a pretty good alternative, especially for those who are a little shy.”

I talked to H about his online dating experience, and he said it was much the same as mine: lots of messages sent, not so many replies. “Just keep at it and give it a chance,” encouraged H. Mind you, H is much better looking than I am. He’s got way cool hair plus well, you just can’t compete with indie rock boy charms. (M if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m not trying to steal him.)

I was also curious about M’s online dating experience. What’s online dating like from the female perspective? Turns out it’s quite a different story! The following is an excerpt from our MSN conversation.

[first I asked for some feedback on my profile]
M: … the vocabulary is good, as you are likely to attract girls who of the more intellegent/well read variety… which are ultimately more fun to converse with. Overall I think its very sweet and such and makes it sound like you have quite a bit going on… not like you are all “I sit at home in my dark basement… if you talk to me I will construct a creepy shrine”
JP: HAHAHA… good, cutting down the creepiness factor is key, I believe
M: which is always a secret girl fear I think when she enters online dating. I made H tell me his last name and address before our first date in case one of my friends had to avenge my death. Luckily, no vigilante justice was required.
JP: HAHAHA… It’s good to be smart, haha. It’s good that women are usually wise about these things
M: yeah, its a shame because honestly the internet is an amazing resource, especially for the nice kind of people who are a little shy or would rather not hit on everybody when they go out with their friends, but do want to find someone. But you also get quite a few jerks who abuse it, so it never hurts to be safe…
JP: Oh yeah, tell me about your online dating experience! Girls must get so much attention online!
M: like I went on one date from plenty of fish actually, and this guy took me on a tour of his house, then turned off the lights in his room and was all “Want to see my lightsaber?” and I was thinking… this is either a horrible euphemism… or he’s actually going to show me a lightsaber… I don’t know which outcome I prefer.
JP: HAHAHAHAHA.
M: it was the latter…. I left shortly after hahah
JP: you made laugh so hard!!! HAHAHA
M: yeah thats probably the funniest. I dunno, mostly my biggest problem was all these old guys kept messaging me and stuff. Guys 40+… guys that could be my dad. It was vaguely creepy. But then again, i would have never met H without it and H is everything i could ask/hope for in a guy… so I guess its hit and miss. H almost didn’t message me back I guess… as I lived so far away [M lives in a good drive outside of Toronto]
JP: awwww, you guys should be the lavalife cover-couple. 😉

JP: Yeah, how many messages would you get in a day? And what did they mainly consist of?
M: 2-3
JP: sorry, don’t mean to make this an interrogation! haha, just doing some research
M: sometimes they were like “You seem super cute and sweet, we should talk more.”… and others were like “You’re cute, whats the weirdest thing you’ve done in bed?”
JP: …ugh.
M: or the ever classy “Let’s fuck.”
JP: haha, I’m going to guess you didn’t reply to those!
M: Really makes a girl feel special hahah… and no sirrrr hahah. Yeah in total I probably sent out 3-4 messages to guys, and got about 40ish in the month I belonged to lavalife… I would give as basic totals (not including creepy old guys, but actually dateable guys)
JP: Ah, I see. 🙂 Cool, thanks so much for the inside scoop! Hehehe

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen! The female side of the story, and wow, what a different story it is.

I think that lightsaber story is probably the funniest dating story I’ve ever heard. I love how M said “a horrible euphemism.” This is the mental picture I get:

[Setting: dark room in space ship somewhere in a galaxy far away…]
[Enter, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia]
Luke Skywalker: Hey, Princess Leigha… ugh…. you wanna see my light-saber?
Princess Leia: What do you mean? I’ve seen it lots of times… you were just battling some storm troopers with it this morning, remember?…. …. OH…. …. THAT light-saber…Oh no, put it away!
[exeunt Princess Leia, Luke. Leia running, Luke pursues]


Yoda: Twisted by the Dark Side, young Skywalker has become.

… *AHEM* Anyway. Faith restored in online dating by H&M’s inspirational relationship, I continued my virtual flirting anew. I should make a mention here of Lavalife’s “smile” system here. Lavalife lets you send as many “smiles” as you want for free. (You have to get a paid account to message. Replying to messages is free though). Basically, a smile works the same way as a Facebook poke: you can send smiles, receive smiles, and smile back. Except on Lavalife it suggests anything from “Hi there, I think you’re interesting.” to “Nice to meet ya, I’d like to get with ya.” (on that note, I have no idea what Facebook pokes connote… maybe it’s an euphemism, but I’ll hold my imagination in check this time)

So this time, I was more inclusive in sending messages and smiles. I expanded my range to people who seemed promising rather than people who seemed perfect (or almost too perfect). This included girls with well written profiles who did not post photos and cute girls instead of drop-dead-gorgeous girls. Lo and behold, my efforts were rewarded with 3 “smile-backs” on Lavalife and a courteous rejection on PlentyOfFish. Nothing to write home about, but much better than nothing!

Still, I couldn’t help but feel that the response rate left something to be desired. Over 50 messages and over 50 smiles and only a few responses. “Have wiser and more charming men before me figured out how to put on the smooth moves online?” I found myself wondering. Maybe I needed some guidance. I looked online for something to the effect of “online dating for dummies”. Failing that exact title, I found something along a similar vein. Well, I doubt I could be doing any worse, so any advice has got to be an improvement right? So, I decided to see what I could glean from Mr. iMack’s insights. (To be continued …) Go to Part 5 >>

4 Replies to “iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 4 – Stories from Lavalife”

  1. I’m enjoying this series. As a gay guy though, you wouldn’t believe the increased use of and amount of dating sites available out there. A lot of them are crap, and more often than not you’re going to just get promiscuous-minded people interested in you (men/boys will be men/boys).

    At the same time, it’s almost necessary to have these sites for gay folks. I’ve talked to many friends, acquaintances, and former dates about this, and everyone seems to come to the same consensus. Despite how progressive and liberal Toronto (and others) seems, at the end of the day the only way to practically get a date is either online, or at a bar/club.

    There’s a lot of pros/cons with both options, but what it boils down to is that (in my experience), you’re more apt to meet someone decent online than someone who frequents a bar or club. It’s a matter of making that intellectual/emotional connection first, rather than the physical. In person you can pick that hot guy/girl that you want to talk to and make a move, but you really have no clue what you’re getting yourself into.

    It gives you a bit more sense of perspective and control in this regard, and that’s why I think a lot of people are gravitating towards online dating.

  2. M (and yes I do mean THE M of lighsaber infamy) is a good friend of mine and recommended I check out your blog seeing as I have been thinking about diving into the internet dating world. Though I still have yet to
    take the plunge, it has been really interesting – and hilarious – learning about the guys’ perspective of online dating. Also, I share your frustrations about not being able to meet anyone in your program. I’m studying psychology and the only guys that I’ve met in class are … well to quote one of them are “here to learn more about themselves”. Sadly it’s one big sea of crazy fish in the psych department! Anyway, best of luck and I can’t wait to read more!

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