It’s the first quarter of the 21st century and dating can be rough. Online dating is worse. To help out the singles of the world, I signed up for a whole crapload of dating sites for a couple of weeks and got a glimpse of the good, the bad, and the pretty boring sides of online dating. All of the websites and apps I chose are free and I didn’t use anything that I’d heard 17 of my friends talking about.
My first impression of this site was that it’s reminiscent of vampirefreaks.com. There are a lot of usernames with band references in them, but with musical preferences on display throughout profiles, it’s easier to sift through duds with crap taste. All in all, this website seems pretty dead. There are a few active people lurking around, but it’s hard to narrow down who’s in the area. I can see the entire state of NY, but not my county. I can also see who’s visited my profile, which feels a bit voyeuristic—like a slideshow of men that considered catcalling me on the street but then got distracted. After a few days of seeing people stop by and not message me, I uploaded a few more pictures and beefed up my information a bit. Maybe people just weren’t into a girl who’s “about me” only says “I vomit live mice. Don’t waste my time.” I kept the part about vomiting live mice, and added a few more interesting tidbits about myself. I got a few messages, but nothing particularly inspiring, and only from people that lived about 10 hours away from me.
HER is a women-only social media/dating site. You choose your identity, which can be the familiar lesbian, bi, or straight, to polysexual, flexisexual, pansexual, asexual, bi-curious, and even fluid. If you’re in a relationship, you can mark that along with your name, age, and height. It’s a very user-friendly setup. It does require a Facebook or Instagram account to verify that you’re real, but it can pull pictures straight from there, so you have a full-looking profile immediately. When you search users, it says “finding you gal pals,” which doesn’t have the same lecherous feel of scrolling through piles of horny meatbags that you get with other apps. Women were quick to strike up conversations with me and my conversations were nothing short of pleasant. HER is an app I would consider keeping just to make friends and flirt with pretty girls. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a male equivalent.
Dating can be difficult when you have a medical condition, so Prescription4Love set out to help those among us with health issues. It’s pretty easy to set up, although the site itself is a bit clunky. Everyone’s profile states their conditions and the conditions they’re willing to date, which vary from anxiety disorders to IBS to morbid obesity. You can for search for people based on their condition and vicinity. The creator of the site got the idea from his brother, who suffered from Crohn’s disease and required a colostomy bag. Understandably, dating is rough when you need to disclose something like that. There’s really not a good time to say, “Hey, I’m suffering from a disease that may very well kill me.” Prescription4Love lays all the cards on the table, so users can be up front about their conditions and what they’d like from a relationship. Unfortunately, since the site’s setup feels about a decade old, there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. While it’s an excellent idea, it needs a lot more users in order for it to be a happening place to find love.
I heard a lot of gripes about online dating from my lady friends about horrible messages (with or without dick pics) from men on social media sites. Siren puts women in the driver’s seat and its goal is to create communities around conversation and mutual respect. Men can’t message women until the lady has initiated contact, so there are no dick pics or “bye felipe”messages out of nowhere. In essence, Siren strives to humanize online dating, so there’s no scrolling. There’s a “question of the day,” which people answer publicly. By scrolling through their answers, you can see with whom you might have a connection. I ended up having a decent time on Siren and I think it will pick up a lot more steam as it gains popularity.
Now that you have my feedback, go forth and date! Remember to be up front about your weirdness; your passions are what make you an interesting person. Please be safe when meeting strangers from the internet. Let a friend know where you are and don’t meet anyone in a dark alley known for stabbings. Get consent, wear condoms, use lubricant, and have fun!