It seems everything these days is in danger of being rendered useless by the internet. The mighty blue Blockbuster fell to Netflix. Bookstores were chewed up and spit out by Amazon. And now the U.S. Postal Service's only job is to make sure Chris Christie never runs out of Oreos.
It makes sense that dating would be next on the list. Talking to actual people makes mailing letters look like fun. Yet the world of online dating is still, at best, weird.
But is it really that bad? Surely every online encounter doesn't end with Chris Hansen and a camera crew. Is it possible to find love online? Or, at the very least, a Valentine's Day date?
I tried to find out.
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I had never engaged in any online dating before, so I asked around. Three names kept coming up: OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder. So I chose those three for my experiment.
But as I was about to make my profile, another question kept popping into my head: What kind of person succeeds in the world of online dating? Is it different from actual dating? Can you get away with more? Or less? Essentially, what do girls look for in a virtual partner?
To help figure this out, I made two profiles for each site. Each profile would represent two completely opposite sides of the spectrum. The good guy versus the bad boy.
Meet the good guy:
This is Rian (notice the sensitive spelling of the name Ryan).
Rian is a good person -- maybe too good a person. He's the kind of guy who would gladly help you move. Then after you're done moving, he'd give you a hug. Then he'd bring you homemade muffins every day for the next three weeks because "a home is not a home without warm muffins."
Rian loves poetry, baking, the ocean, and Joni Mitchell. He doesn't curse, and he will always ask to hold your baby. He is the human equivalent of a Labrador retriever, and he is here for one reason and one reason only: love.
This is bad boy Ryan (hereafter referred to as Douche Bag Ryan).
Douche Bag Ryan is, well, a douchebag. And if you didn't already know that simply by looking at a picture of him, you might be a douchebag too.
Douche Bag Ryan is here to bone and only to bone. He likes going to the gym, hates turn signals, and has a tentative grasp on the English language.
He is the type of person who would make a Google Plus account just so he can continue to call people gay in YouTube comments.
So now the match is set. Good versus Evil. Sweet sensitivity versus brute sex drive. Kittens versus the gym.
Round one: Plenty of Fish.