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Annals of Online Dating
Published on December 5, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at GOOD magazine, Jill Filipovic explains what she's learned from online dating. The piece is both insightful and hilarious, with shrewd observations of a number of subcategories of online daters, including Nice Guys (who are never as nice as they think) and the guys who don't want to date crazy girls (who are often crazy themselves).

Here's an excerpt:

"I soon found that online dating did not force me to be nice—actually, it required me to be mean. And the process of ferreting out the weirdos was oddly cathartic. Offline, women are socialized to Be Nice (or at least to be polite and respond to advances). Men are socialized to Hit Anything That Moves (or at least to consider having sex with any interested woman). Online dating offered a new playing field. For women, OkCupid is both a less-intimidating medium for asking men on dates, and an easy out for evading creepy suitors. You’re entitled to select a date you are interested in and attracted to, which means you don’t have to respond to a guy’s advances just because he’s taken the time to advance upon you. The sheer volume of potential mates helps turn the tables even further. At a time when women are told that we’re getting too old and successful to find suitable partners, online dating offers us the buffet of options men have traditionally enjoyed.

Of course, buffet-style dating strikes a lot of people as overly consumerist: You’re evaluating potential mates not based on any real-life connection, but on a set of characteristics they list on a website and a curated set of self-shots. It can be limiting in that regard, but the little things can be significant. Online dating informs you from the get-go if your potential companion enjoys the musical stylings of John Mayer, thinks The Da Vinci Code counts as a “book,” or voted for Ron Paul. People lie—despite the appearances of my tightly curated online profile, my typical Friday night is not actually spent out drinking whiskey, but rather downing a bottle of $10 wine on my couch. But at least you get a sense of the kind of person a potential mate can be when they put their most dateable face forward."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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