I entered the (always interesting) world of gay dating a week ago.
Although I would have preferred to make some real-world contacts, I decided that raising kids in the suburbs is unlikely to be conducive to starting a gay social life. At some point I'll focus on making real-world connections but for now I'm giving the Internet a try.
There are a plethora of options available for Internet homo dating, including Manhunt, Adam4Adam, Grindr, Jack'd, Gay.com, PlentyofFish, DudesNude, Match.com, Compatible Partners, Craigslist, Chemistry.com, Mypartner.com and OKCupid!
Because I'm looking for a relationship, not casual sex, I will be focusing my efforts on the more traditional sites first. My plan is to try one site at a time, stick with it for a while, and then move on when the activity level drops to nothing. I'm in no particular hurry to meet someone so I view my approach being as being a slow and steady journey.
The site I chose to start with is OKCupid! The name is kind of stupid but in just about every other way the site is awesome. I love that it's free, I love the way they match people, I love the way they casually prompt you to make connections and reveal more about yourself. The owners just sold the company to Match for $50 million. I think they made a big mistake. If they had held on, ala Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, the company would have been worth much more in 10 years' time. It's by far the best traditional dating site on the Internet.
I've had a lurker profile on OKCupid for a few months so I could have begun with some prospects I've had my eye on. But, as part of my slow-and-steady approach, I decided not to pursue any of them until my own profile has aged a bit. I'm new, I'm fresh meat, I should see a burst of initial activity.
And I did.
Here is what happened in the first week:
More than 103 different guys viewed my profile. On OKCupid you can browse openly or anonymously; 103 browsed openly.
Of the 103, 25 were under the age of 40, 50 were 40-49 and 29 were 50-56. No one older than 56 browsed. I'm a bit surprised about the age distribution. Before I crunched the numbers my perception had been that mostly older guys were interested in me. Not true. The majority were very near my age. I didn't calculate the median but I'd guess it's 46 or 47. I'm 44.
Of the 103 who browsed openly, 15 of them returned to my profile at least once more later in the week. I know that I have a tendency to look at profiles I like multiple times. If others behave in the same way, a return-visitor rate of 14.5% is encouraging.
During the week I was contacted, in a variety of ways, by 11 different guys:
Two 'favorited' me. OKCupid lets users select favorites either with or without the person's knowledge. Anyone who picks you as a favorite, and lets you know, is basically saying, "I'm interested in you, are you interested in me?"
Five guys '4-starred' me through QuickMatch. QuickMatch is when you opt to go through random profiles and give them ratings of 1 to 5 stars. If you 4 or 5 star someone, they are notified. The thing is, the notification says, "One of these NINE guys gave you four or five stars." Sometimes you can check the visitor history and match up the time of the visit with the time of QuickMatch email. Then you can tell who 4-starred you. Otherwise they are browsing anonymously and you have no clue which guy actually 4-starred you.
Four guys sent actual messages. Well, really there were six, but I'm not counting two of them because they were from distant locations and they were....strange.
Eleven contacts. Did any of them interest me?
One of the guys who 4-starred me was moderately interesting so I 4-starred him back. He's a real outdoorsy nut so he suggested a hike for our first meeting instead coffee. Weather-permitting we'll meet on Sunday.
My expectations are low. Maybe it's not fair but it really bothers me that he's 7 inches taller.
Regardless, it's a connection. A test first-date. A way to get my feet wet and gain some dating experience.
I'm neither disappointed nor especially pleased with my first week 'out'. Many guys spend year after year looking for a connection. I can see why.
Wish me well on my first interview...I mean...date.
Thanks for readin', writin' and commentin'.