After a long and necessary period of depression-fueled celibacy, I dusted myself off and decided to hop back into the dating pool and get myself laid. I was warned that dating in San Diego, particularly within the scene I'd be finding potential suitors, was not easy for a girl with standards. I'd be digging through a pile of angsty musicians, whiny artistes and unemployed dreamboats and hope that the diamond I unearthed wasn't spoken for, gay, a drug addict or wearing shorts shorter than my own. But unlike the unattached babes of the dark ages known as the '90s, single folks trying to hit the bone zone have something very powerful on their side nowadays—the internet.
Now, I am well acquainted with the internet. It's a magical wonderland of LOLs and WTFs. It's also a place where people turn to find some action, or even love, through online dating sites and apps like Grindr (which is basically a GPS that puts gay men in touch with randoms within close proximity who are “DTF,” or “down to fuck”). Technology and social media have become fully integrated into the age-old act of courtship and knockin' boots. But, to me, the thought of finding someone to have a beer with, let alone have sex with, in the same place where I watch Maury Povich paternity clips seemed more than a little sketchy.
I decided to attempt online dating—with the possibility of sex—anyway and turn the experience into a research opportunity to understand why, according to numerous statistics and surveys, each month roughly 20 million Americans turn to dating sites to find love, a hookup or, at the very least, a free meal. In San Diego County alone, there are 2,349,856 single men and women, according to 2009 Census data, and sites all boast results for users in the thousands.
Along with my good friends Paul and Julio—who agreed to provide the male perspective—I joined OkCupid, a site that prides itself on being young and hip and uses math ematical logarithms to match users. I browsed through pages of guys the site felt would be a good match for me. There, in black and white on an illuminated screen, I was given all the details I wish I could get when scoping dudes out in the real world. “Four- LokoLover” is into comic books. Cool! “OBguy420” is in a Sublime cover band. Tempting, but no thanks.
It wasn't too different for Julio.
“To me, it's the same thing as going to a bar and meeting somebody, then bringing them home to have sex,” he says. “I guess the weirdest thing about it was having sex with someone, then seeing them prowling on OkCupid again. To me it seemed like the girls used it mainly for one-night stands.”
Well, I argued, that's sort of the point. You can prowl to your heart's content. However, things can, and did, get a bit incestuous. Julio would often end up on dates or having sex with the same girls as Paul without realizing it. I had the same issue with my friend Megan, who I found out was a member, as well. We had a total Taster's Choice moment comparing the guys who had messaged us. One charmer would pretend he was a dinosaur, inviting both of us to chase raptors and signing his messages with “Raaaawr, Tyranosaurus Chris.” Surprisingly, we found no need to catfight over that one.
Also, it seemed like there was always something odd about each experience, especially if sex was involved. Julio slept with one girl who would yell as though she was being murdered. I asked the logical question, “Well, were you trying to murder her?” He assured me he wasn't.
My sexual encounters were all pretty awkward as well. One guy I got drunk enough to sleep with would stop at random moments, giggle, then continue thrusting. I just laid there trying not to look concerned. Another suffered from a cultural identity crisis, gifting me a dollar-store hair weave and showering me with compliments like, “Damn, girl. You fine. Let me get at them lips.” I should mention that he was very Caucasian.
I'll be fair and say I may have come off as a weirdo to some of these bachelors, too. We all have our quirks. And I'll also say that not everyone I met was terrible. There were some genuinely nice, regular people within that group of freaks, and for Paul and Julio, too. Although, when asked about the experience, all Paul would say is “online dating sucks ass.”
Even with all their weirdness, each one of these bachelors and bachelorettes said the same thing when asked why they joined a dating site. They felt that if technology is there to help you meet people, get some action or maybe even find love, why not use it? It makes sense. And while I'm still partial to finding my one-night stands and future boyfriends the old-fashion way—drunk at a bar—it's good to know there's another option available that's easily accessible and can be used while wearing my pajamas.