The Vicious Cycle of Online Dating

After a substantial dating hiatus, I’ve recently re-entered the vile, reprehensible, obviously-created-by-the-devil world of online dating. After being away for so long, I somehow forgot that not long ago I proclaimed I would rather have my face ripped off by a chimp than participate in online dating again. But clearly, the early onset of Alzheimer’s has led me to believe that it could in fact be a fruitful endeavor.

It’s a never-ending cycle of shit, really. And it has dawned on me that surely I am not the only one who repeatedly torments herself in this manner. Allow me to walk you through the six stages of the online dating cycle.

Online Dating Cycle

Stage 1: Optimism

During Stage 1, you are giddy at the possibilities. You log in and marvel at the million-man smorgasbord at your fingertips.  You craft a Pulitzer-worthy profile and upload six sexy – yet tasteful – photos. After browsing the buffet thoroughly, you narrow your selection and send messages to three seemingly attractive, sensitive, witty, intelligent, moob-free specimens. The following day, you log back in and are delighted to find you’ve received 51 messages! Oh my goodness, plenty of fish indeed! However will I choose just one?!

Stage 2: Mild chagrin

After sifting through your e-mails you try to come to grips with the sad reality that of these messages, 16 were octogenarians, 14 led to profiles that were no longer active and 21 were nothing but dick pics. None of the men you contacted responded. WTF?!

You reevaluate your profile and decide it needs some tweaking. You upload a cleavage-filled selfie and add snowboarding, camping and volleyball to your hobbies because, I mean, you’ve been meaning to try them. You dip into your “B” list and send messages five more guys.

Stage 3: Disillusion

After a month you finally give someone a try and go on a date with Tech Dork Timmy who forgot his wallet and derided you for thinking Big Data was a band. In the next few weeks, you try to remain hopeful and go out on three more dates with Halitosis Hank, Ear Hair Earl and Rapey Ralph. You leave each of them indignant that you missed that evening’s Seinfeld re-run.

After revising your profile for the fourth time and going out on 13 more first-and-last dates, your options have now been reduced to Widower Willy and Crossdresser Kris. You meet them both and learn that Kris only wanted full access to your wardrobe and Willy began sobbing uncontrollably into his Bud Light during your second date at Chili’s.

Stage 4: Bitter disgust

Sick and tired, you rewrite your profile one last time. You change your screen name to PenisBiter666. Under Activities/Hobbies you include “poking voodoo dolls of ex-boyfriends,” “taking dumps with the door open,” “Xtreme nagging” and “eating kittens for breakfast.” At first glance, this appears to be an attempt at reverse psychology but in reality is an accurate depiction of your current state of mind.

Check inbox and receive 12 more dick pics.

You immediately call your doctor beseeching the maximum allowable dosage of Zoloft, invest in a top-of-the-line vibrator and swear off online dating FOREVER.

Stage 5: Refractory period

Now that your date prospects are nil and there are clearly no decent men in the greater Los Angeles metro area (or wherever you are), you stop shaving your pits, watch HGTV every night and engage in some of the most meaningful conversations of your life with your new vibrator, whom you have named Justin Timberlake. Your sofa is covered with Dorito droppings and you only wash your hair on special occasions, except there are no special occasions. For the first time in months you feel, in fact, free! That is, until…

Stage 6: Bored/Lonely/Horny

Six months pass. You can recite every episode of Cupcake Wars verbatim. You yearn longingly for a warm penis and someone to replace the chain in the toilet tank.

Just to break the monotony, you log into OKCupid. It doesn’t hurt to look, right? Right off the bat, you find three very worthy specimens who actually seem kinda perfect! Damn, if only these guys were online before!

It’ll be different this time around, you think. You’ll think positive this time. I mean, it’s really just a numbers game. One of those guys honestly could be Mr. Right. You really didn’t give it a chance if you think about it.

And suddenly, you find yourself back at Stage 1.

Repeat cycle… With maybe 10% less optimism.


LA peeps! Want to watch a funny ass show about online dating? Check out Undateable at the Second City Hollywood - totally true accounts of what ensued when 38 fake profiles of weirdos were created on OKCupid. Through Dec. 13. You WILL laugh.

32 replies

  1. Looking for a married guy who’s presently incarcerated and only posts shirtless pics? Online dating is the place to be. Just took my latest shirtless set. They turned out pretty well.

  2. I think you nailed the stages just right… You’ve got enough experience in online dating to know what you are getting yourself into thou – there are people out there who really need educating. So if you had one piece of advice you could give an online dating what would it be? (and you can’t say don’t do it?!)

    • Hmm, I don’t really give advice. Everyone’s experience is different, I just talk about mine. I suppose my “advice” to everyone in any dating (or even not dating) situation is what I wrote about on your site: remember and accept that not everyone is going to like you.

  3. Single Girl, the online dating black hole as I like to call it. I can’t even begin to describe the horrific “potential matches” that I went out with. My last one said “you’re not as skinny as your pictures make you look.” I deleted my account seconds after him telling me that. And I swore that I would NEVER do it again. Because that was the end of a long and vicious cycle (as you so eloquently described above). At this very moment there is a hottie sitting across from me at a Starbucks and I feel it would be the perfect meeting place, yet I don’t know how to go over and talk to him. My friends suggested staring (bad idea), I thought of buying him a drink and then having the Barista deliver it…but then I decided to read your blog. And now here I am. Bitching about meeting matches (or not really matches) online when there is a perfectly fine specimen right in front of me.

  4. Just found your blog and this is great! You are dead-on with this cycle. Online dating is the absolute worst. There might be at least some interest when you’re chatting online but then when they are a troll in person, it is really frustrating. All that time invested, and nothing to show for it. I’ve only visited LA a few times, but I can only imagine how frustrating it is to date there. Don’t know if it would help you or not, but I actually wrote a lot about where I meet men instead of going online, maybe it might jog some ideas? Good luck, girl! http://singlegalstartingover.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/my-problem-with-online-dating-and-where-i-meet-men-instead/

  5. The worst part about online dating is the dating. Mostly it was an acceptable way of stalking potentially attractive men – aka Facebook for people you don’t know but might actually want to date. This would be the fun part… for a specific and limited amount of time.

    My experience with the dating? I know in two minutes if I actually have any interest in you. The rest wastes my time (and yours) and then I insist on at least going halfsies on the meal as I feel bad knowing that’s it from me. So then we both waste money too.

    LE SIGH.

  6. Trouble is SG I don’t think you’re needy enough (desperate in other words). You are independent (probably too much); able to support yourself; intelligent; old enough to know what you want but more importantly know want you don’t want in a man/r’ship. Unless you meet a very close match to yourself deep down you’re thinking what’s the point? Plenty of peeps out there who just jump from one to the other with not a lot of space in between because they HAVE to be with SOMEONE/ANYONE. Mostly its got nothing to do with what it should be about which is really sad. I don’t think your type of character can lower their expectations too much because its not something deep down you want to do. If you do it won’t last (Tom?). There is no point “settling” just because you feel you have to. Stick to what your head (you’re clever) says, hearts seriously mess us about! In essence to your post I agree, once you get to a certain age/experience it becomes a chuffin nightmare. Seems to me that the older I get the more I think NO, RUNAWAY!!!

    • You know, Steve, when I first read this I thought, “Oh boy, another person who thinks they can assess my circumstances when they know nothing about me.” But you actually may be right there. And I still love that word “chuffin.” I’m going to have to work that into conversation somehow.

  7. I have actually done the “I’m disgusted with you assholes” profile before. I seemed to have gotten more messages with it than my “honest” one. But they were along the lines of “this is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read” and not one of them indicated in interest in my hot, chubby body.

  8. So much truth. After I got my first “wink” or whateverthefuck it’s called on OKCupid, I ran for the hills. By the hills, I guess I mean Craigslist, where instead of actually looking for potential suitors, I laughed at those worse off than me. I don’t miss being single.

  9. Thankfully, I haven’t tried online dating. Though my friends have.. Thd latest one seemed to be great at first. Then, the annoying “babe” “honey” “I’m gonna go change my clothes sweetie” starting happening… Then the, “we have to only sit by each other at church and dinner afterwards”, then the, “I had to respond to a text you got from a guy at 3am because I assumed he wanted you sexually so I told him to eat a dick”. Best part too? He has a 2 month old baby… WTF. Never trying that shit!!

  10. So fucking true!!! POF has sooooo much to answer for; they don’t call it the ‘dark side’ for nothing! When I tried it a few years ago, I became so bored of the usual ‘hey sexi’ opening line and UTTER atrocious spelling (sorry, can’t help it), I decided to look up dudes in different countries!!! I kid you not!! I’m of the opinion that as long as you approach online dating with an extremely light-hearted attitude and keep telling yourself that Mr Right WILL NEVER be found among all the bare-chested selfies, you’ll at least retain SOME level of sanity.

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