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Prescott: Online Dating

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I’ve always enjoyed shopping on the internet. I buy everything from books and sunglasses to less conventional items such as flower bulbs and musical instruments all online. Since I dislike noise and crowds, virtual shopping is a good fit for me. So it makes sense that I’d “shop” online for a significant other too.

I met my fiancé through a free online dating website that lets users browse for those with similar interests, goals, and personalities. The site even predicts how likely a match is to succeed.

I looked through the online catalogue of possibilities and decided who might be worth pursuing and who wouldn’t fit into my life. Then Eric messaged me one day, and one somewhat awkward date later, I was on the road to a meaningful emotional partnership. Online dating provides those of us without a vast social network a chance to meet someone special without gambling on the more traditional methods of finding a date. A lot of my friends had moved away, which limited my chances to meet their friends without venturing into the social wilderness alone.

I’d never felt comfortable in bars, and classified ads in the newspaper seemed outdated to this tech-savvy twenty-something. Online dating suddenly seemed like my only chance. With online dating, being shy suddenly wasn’t an obstacle.

It’s especially easy for women. Men looking for dates on the internet will often engage in conversation first. Then it’s only a matter of the ladies deciding to take a chance. I was initially embarrassed to resort to online dating.

It seemed like the sort of thing someone doesn’t tell other people for fear of being judged, as if I were tone deaf and trying out for American Idol. But I really didn’t have to worry, even though I did go on what was arguably one of the worst dates imaginable thanks to an online match site. This guy brought two of his past girlfriends on our date, and he called me a “barbarian” for scraping the fork against my teeth while eating, something I’m all too conscious of now. There was also the date who constantly lied to be funny, except he really wasn’t funny. Thankfully, I did manage to find Prince Charming on the third try, much like in the fairy tales.

I’ve been surprised to learn how many people find partners through dating websites. At least three of my friends and my cousin have met their significant others this way. Through my work at a computer store, I’ve even helped customers create online dating profiles. Going online to find that special someone is becoming commonplace.

Online dating provided me with an opportunity to meet my fiancé, something that never would’ve happened if I hadn’t given it a chance. It allowed two shy people to find each other. I can only hope that it will do the same for others.