Misadventures in Online Dating: Getting Started

Sarah McCluskey by Sarah McCluskey | February 6th, 2012 | 16 Comments
topic: Personal Growth, Relationships

Online DatingAt the age of 28, I decided that dating had thoroughly kicked my butt. It seemed as if 99 percent of my friends were engaged or married or having babies; meanwhile, I continued pursuing a breed of man who was never quite able to leave behind his college glory days and blatantly refused to face adulthood. It’s an irresistible combination, I know.

In my early twenties, I had the supernatural ability to hone in on this type of man in the midst of a crowd and can only blame myself for my early dating mishaps. But at some point in my mid-20s, I made a dramatic internal proclamation that I would never seek out this type of man again. But from then on they just came to me. I became the pied piper who attracts the emotionally stunted and unavailable.

The only thing worse than my actual dating history was when I made my friends listen to my tales of woe. This is why, when my friends could take no more, I was finally convinced to give the online dating scene a shot. I had recently undergone an especially rough breakup, to which my sanity, sobriety and eating habits were not responding well, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

The great thing about starting online dating is that everyone immediately jumps on your bandwagon. All of your happily coupled friends will tell you how Greg’s brother Steve was having the worst time finding a girl, but then he joined Match.com and met this amazing girl and they started doing couples power-walking every morning and now they’re engaged! And then there’s your seemingly stoic Goth coworker who stares straight through your soul when you try to give her your signature awkward smile-wave combo (which is usually paired with a small, strangled throat noise, because you were going to say “hi” but then you panicked and decided not to, but the message didn’t quite reach your vocal cords in time). She found a life partner on DemocraticSingles.net who works at a tattoo parlor and now they are blissfully happy together.

With uplifting stories like these — and my obvious cool and breezy nature — online dating was sure to be a success!

I signed up with only mild hesitation, spending just one day reviewing the plethora of dating sites available to the single gal nowadays and a mere 48 hours meticulously composing the most alluring, sophisticated, witty and professional but also totally relaxed online dating profile that any dating site has ever seen. Did I have some cute photos to post? Uh, yeah. Attractive stats? Heck yeah. I’m healthy (thanks to my 10-year commitment to veganism), fit (Pilates!), employed (as a charity fundraiser), and my hair kind of rocks. Intriguing “likes” and “dislikes”? Yup: traveling, reading, hiking with my adopted rescue dogs, gardening. Morals? Well, as previously mentioned, I’m vegan and I do charity work. I also recycle and support my local farmers’ market. Granted, none of those might qualify me for sainthood, but I think it’s a good start at least. Sense of humor? Of course! My friends (and my dogs) think I’m a hoot.

With the creation of a single online dating profile, I had magically transformed into a cyber goddess, a new kind of pied piper who plays her pipe and every attractive, self-actualized, animal-loving, eco-friendly man within a 35-mile radius is sure to come a-runnin’. It was in the bag, right?

And thus began my adventures — and misadventures — in online dating …

Have you tried online dating? Share your stories — good or bad! — in the comments section below.

Need relationship help? Find it with dating and relationship videos on GaiamTV.com.


  1. Absolutely hilarious stuff!

    Tim | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  2. This blog makes me laugh, cry, sigh, and contemplate the blessings and curses of online dating. Sarah, you are a fabulous writer! Please keep telling your story!

    Kate | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  3. This is great and your blog is so unreal and funny it has to be true! $$$$

    Ben | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  4. This is awesome!

    Sarah | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  5. LOL! it’s funny because it’s true!

    Shel | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  6. which sites do you like best? or had the best luck with?

    sam | February 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  7. Hahaha! I hope you find someone to go couples power walking with you! Can’t wait to hear about your suitors.

    jilli | February 8th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  8. Haha hilarious!!

    jilli | February 8th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  9. Great humor… reminds me of “S*** My Dad Says”. Keep the stories coming!

    Ryan | February 8th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  10. Hi – I just stumbled upon this site because I was actually considering using dating services and this popped up. I felt like your article was directed right at me! Perhaps it was kismet that I saw this because now I want to ask YOU out on a date. So…how about it, Ms. McCluskey? I’ll even turn vegan for you! And I love dogs!

    Doog | February 10th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  11. Thanks for this inspirational blog about online dating. I’ve done this before and I enjoyed meeting new friends and relationships. Some are serious and some are only playing. But I really enjoyed reading it, learned a lot of tips.

    Anonymous | April 23rd, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  12. Great Article! keep up the great work and look forward to reading your next article

    Dating | July 9th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  13. I’m just getting into online dating and the hardest part seems to be coming up with a good profile. I’ve looked at a bunch and like you’ve said everyone seems to have advice on what to put in there, but then I did a search on dating profile generator and this site with a free one came up and it just helped me out a lot. Maybe if could help some of you as well – http://www.pquery.com

    Julie | July 16th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  14. Interesting read. I recently started an online dating review site, so I’ve been checking around a lot to see what else is out there. I enjoyed the reading here and hope you guys will stop by if you get time.

    John | September 11th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  15. Basic Rules of Blind Dating for Newbies

    There are lots of people who have no idea as to how they must prepare for blind dates. While blind dating seems like an interesting adventure, it could turn out to be a disaster if you don’t take enough time to ready yourself. Although blind dates are set up by friends or family, you’d like to think that they know the two personalities fairly well to make them come together. However, they don’t have the slightest clue as to what can be expected from it.

    Your friends may have taken the trouble of asking a man/woman out on a date with you, but the person at the other end has no idea what they’re in for. Descriptions by friends or family members don’t always tell the whole story of an individual. It’s up to you to make a unique connection with a person, even if it is the very first time you’re meeting them. There are a few things which must be taken into consideration so as to avoid striking disaster on a blind date.

    Make a good first impression

    Considering that you’ve never met your date for the evening before, your first notion can make or break the future of the two of you. It is important to dress well as it’s the first thing he/she will notice about you. Wear clothes that you find comfortable so that you don’t have any problems with the same during your evening out.

    Go easy on the food and drinks

    It is very easy to get carried away when food and drinks are in your sight. However, you might want to take it easy as consuming excess of either of the two may not go down well in your date’s books. Don’t get too comfortable with the individual as you’ve only just met them. Make sure that your personal belongings are not left alone with your date.

    Do your bit to make it a happening evening

    Blind dates can be ironic for the reason that you have no idea what you’ve signed up for. Regardless of who your companion for the evening may be, it is important that you do your part to make the date as fun as possible. Engage in conversations about the things you may have in common as this will lay the foundation stone for other topics that may be of mutual interest.

    Michael Sanders | November 13th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  16. I’m a big fan of luvfax. I find lots of people to date and a lot of them have turned out to become good friends. I don’t know any other ones, but this one works great for me.

    Randy Clap | December 11th, 2012 | Comment Permalink

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