Looking for love in all the online spaces

Mayra Sanchez and Mayra Sanchez

October will mark my one-year anniversary with my single self. Between the poorly written texts I receive from empty headed men and my self-destructive ways, I’d rather listen to my mom’s iPod than hear another “how you doin’?” pick up line. Realizing I was a little past due for a candle light dinner, I decided to go outside of my normal Midtown bar scene and venture into unknown world of online dating.

Yeah, it’s a little unnatural that an emoticon can suffice for a real genuine smile, but in an age where we share photos and embarrassing stories with complete strangers via the web, online dating seems less desperate and more realistic.

A few recommendations later and I was downloading and registering for “OkCupid,” a free online dating app with 3.5 million active users. I made my account, completed the questionnaire process and uploaded my most recent picture, one that would only upset my mother. I was well on my way to finding love.

My demand for love was met with an overwhelming amount of supply. My phone had never seen so much action. Where had all these men been hiding?  As I scrolled through profiles the same way I shop for shoes online, I wondered – are these men really any better than the self-involved guys I attract at bars?

I had already invested a few days swapping messages with a nice, sane-looking guy, so I decided it was time to put down the Ben & Jerry’s and take the online flirting outside of my bedroom. We made plans to meet up at a restaurant, somewhere public where I had phone services just incase my roommate got “terribly hurt” and needed my help (like we had practiced) and near a bar so I could grab a drink if it was a bust.

The date was a success in the sense that he looked exactly like his photos, no unexpected beard or belly but I realized early on when he wouldn’t shut up about his gym routine that he wasn’t what I had expected. Even though I enjoyed my hot Chinese way more than our cold, forced conversation, it was better than most of my dates I had been on in the past year.

In the end, I had stepped out of my comfort zone and it was fine. All ligaments were intact and I didn’t feel the need to listen to Adele on the ride home. We get caught up in the daily routine of school and work leaving little room for change. But in the words of Ronald Reagan, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”