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New San Diego girl tries OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle, Match.com, eharmony

“Right now, I’m talking to 12 guys"

Image by lou brooks c/o theispot.com

In July, my friend Bekah (not her real name) calls to announce her engagement. I am shocked by the news.

The last I heard, she was dating a guy named Mike, whom she’d met on the online dating site Match.com. A few weeks into their relationship, Bekah texted me a photo of Mike in striped jeans and a leather vest with nothing underneath. He reminded me of Captain Jack Sparrow.

“The sex is amazing,” she said.

She sent another picture, the two of them in motorcycle jackets, posed in front of an Easy Rider–style bike. In this photo, Mike’s resemblance to Johnny Depp was uncanny.

They broke up a few weeks later.

“The ridiculous way he dressed got old,” she said.

Before Mike, Bekah dated a doctor she met on eHarmony. The site matched them through a personality test. After doing an internet search of the doc, Bekah learned that a local magazine had named him one of her city’s most eligible bachelors.

Their first date was at a wine bar. It went well. The next morning, a Saturday, Bekah was awakened by a text message: “Do you have any STDs or STIs? Are you on birth control? Have you ever had an abnormal pap smear? Being a physician, you wouldn’t believe the things I have seen!”

She never spoke to the doctor again.

Two weeks later, Bekah met a new guy online. She decided to Skype with him to avoid the possibility of a wasted Friday evening. Fifteen minutes into their Skype date, the guy held up a framed picture of his ex-girlfriend and asked, “Do you think she’s hot?”

Bekah told him she was tired and logged off.

She exchanged countless emails with a photographer before meeting him.

“We have a great connection,” she told me.

But it turned out that the photographer looked nothing like his pictures.

“He listed his height as six feet, but he was closer to five-six and had a receding hairline. He took me to tea. That should’ve been a red flag. A cup of tea costs about $2. What a cheapskate.”

When she denied the photographer a second date, he sent a scathing email telling Bekah that she wasn’t “hot enough to be so picky.”

“I am 32 years old! Too old for this BS,” Bekah said. “I should be married by now.”

Then came Mike, the Johnny Depp look-alike.

Bekah gave up hope of meeting a normal guy through a dating site. She stopped looking for something serious. One night, out of boredom, she typed the physical characteristics of her ideal man into Match.com’s search engine. A guy named Christian (not his real name) popped up. She viewed his profile. He sent her an electronic wink. She winked back. They Skyped. Two days later, they went to a tapas bar. At the end of the night, they exchanged a kiss.

Bekah was convinced that she’d found the one. The feeling was mutual.

In eight months, Bekah and Christian are getting married. She has already purchased her wedding gown and booked a reception hall.

“He’s perfect for me,” she says with a happy sigh. “I never thought I would actually meet someone I’d want to marry from one of these sites.”


Twenty-two-year-old Rebecca (not her real name) meets me at Cosmos Coffee Café in La Mesa on a Wednesday night. Her OkCupid dating-profile photos show a raven-haired, blue-eyed sexpot, but when she first walks past, I don’t even notice her. Dressed in a pink blouse over a frumpy maxi dress, Rebecca looks nothing like her online images.

When she started internet dating, she was a 19-year-old college student living in Mobile, Alabama. She signed up with the site Christian Mingle, hoping to find like-minded, faith-based men.

She had never been kissed.

“Immediately, I received lots of sexual messages. I was asked by one man to have phone sex with him, and he asked if I could be loud during it. I was a young, Southern, Alabama girl looking for a relationship. I learned quickly that maybe one out of 50 guys on there really wanted to get to know me. Because of that, I deleted my account within 24 hours.”

The following morning, when she checked her email, she discovered one last Christian Mingle message. It was from a 23-year-old named Chris (not his real name), who lived in Corona, California.

“He told me I had beautiful eyes and a nice smile. He said he wanted to get to know me better. I thought it was cool that he lived in California.”

Charmed, Rebecca talked to Chris through Yahoo messenger. They soon exchanged phone numbers and began to speak daily. Within two months, they were in a long-distance romance. Despite never having met, they discussed marriage.

“I was supposed to go to California for my college spring break to meet him, but my family said no. My dad said, ‘If this guy wants to marry you, he’ll come here.’ I didn’t tell my parents that we met through a dating site till later. My dad was totally creeped out. He said, ‘Whoa, whoa, you haven’t even met this man. How do you know you love him?’ They didn’t understand.”

In the end, Chris flew to Rebecca’s parents’ home for a five-day visit. Rebecca was convinced he was the man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. A month later, on the final day of her sophomore year in college, she dropped out of school and caught a flight to California in order to be closer to Chris.

“I had never been out of the Southern states. When I flew to California, it was my first time on an airplane. I didn’t tell my parents I was moving until the day I left. I called my parents on the way to the airport and said, ‘I’m moving to California. If you want, you can meet me for lunch before I leave.’ My dad was so upset, he had a breakdown. My mom was sad. They thought it was insane.”

Rebecca’s parents had a hard time grasping that their 19-year-old daughter had dropped out of school and was moving across the country to live with a guy after spending only five days together.

Rebecca arrived in Corona on May 1. By July 4, she realized that Chris had portrayed himself one way over the internet when, in reality, he was a completely different person.

“Chris was happy with my online picture and with the way I planned to look, but never with the way I really was.”

Rebecca admits that she was naive.

“Honestly, it was a little reckless. It was the first time I had been in love...my first kiss.” She sighs. “He was my first.”

After six months, Rebecca moved back to Alabama to live with her parents. She swore off online dating. But she soon grew bored and returned to California. In January 2012, she moved to San Diego.

She signed up for dating accounts with OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. Within a week of living in San Diego, she met a personal trainer on OkCupid. They began a five-month relationship.

“He sent me a message. I thought he was hot. He took me to Benihana on our first date, and to a movie at Mission Valley AMC afterward.”

She liked him immediately. They began to date exclusively. When she discovered, five months later, that he was cheating on her with his high-school sweetheart, Rebecca broke up with him.

“Two months ago, he married the girl he cheated on me with.” She shrugs. “And that’s not even the worst of my dating experiences. I had a guy lie about his entire identity. We started talking because I thought his profile photo was cute. He claimed he lived in La Jolla. But things didn’t add up. He said his rent was $600 a month and that his complex was ghetto. There is nothing ghetto about La Jolla, and you can’t rent an apartment there for 600 bucks.”

The man started sending Rebecca photos. He sent her a penis picture. They had phone sex a few times. Whenever she tried to make face-to-face plans, he came up with excuses about why he couldn’t meet her. After two weeks, he admitted that the photos he’d sent Rebecca weren’t of him; they were of a friend. Also, he lived in New York, not La Jolla.

“He swore the penis picture he sent was his, but the other photos weren’t. He sent me a pic of what he really looks like. He is not attractive.” Rebecca laughs. I am surprised at the ease with which she accepts this.

“I know exactly what to say in my dating profile to get any guy on these sites to email me,” she confides. “I used to be more vulnerable and real about who I was. Now I say things like: ‘I am awesome, I’m so much fun, and you can’t handle me.’ I can get the most attractive guy on these dating sites to email me. It makes me feel powerful. I have dates every night of the week. I leave Wednesday night open, just in case I want to go on a second date with one of them.”

Rebecca says that, most evenings, someone buys her dinner, a different guy every time. If she doesn’t feel like leaving home, she invites the man over to her place to watch movies.

“It’s really fun, though sometimes it can be annoying. I had a Navy guy come over to my place. Less than 20 minutes later, he was begging me for sex. He almost cried when I said no.”

Rebecca shows me her phone. There are dozens of text messages from different men.

“Right now, I’m talking to 12 guys. I’ve met 5 in person. The most promising one is an ugly guy. All the others are just looking to bone me. No one on these dating sites is really looking for a relationship. They’re just looking for sex. That has been my experience.”

Rebecca says that tonight she has her choice between the ugly, sweet guy and a new date. Both are waiting to hear whether she will be joining them for dinner.

“It takes me maybe 30 minutes on any given night to find a guy to go out with. I usually message three different guys. Someone always gets back to me.”

Rebecca has never gone out with anyone outside of internet dating. She has no idea what it’s like to meet someone randomly without checking out stats beforehand: height, weight, smoker, likes or dislikes dogs, does or does not want kids.

“I love it. It’s like a game. My 40-year-old coworker says she wishes she did what I am doing now when she was my age.”


“The problem with online dating in this town is that we live in Man Diego. There are not enough women to go around,” Carlos (not his real name) says. We are sitting in a mutual friend’s living room in Serra Mesa. Carlos is attractive, fit, and could pass for late 30s. He is 48.

“I’ve had a profile on Match.com for over a year and have only gone on five or six dates,” he says. “My profile has been viewed 14,500 times. I recently spoke to a woman who had 12,000 views after just two days on Match.” Carlos sighs with frustration. “The pretty women are snapped up immediately.”

He describes his first Match.com encounter.

“I set up a date with a woman at Wine Steals in Point Loma. She had multiple photos on her profile. It was questionable how recent they were, but I decided to be open-minded. She said she was 45. When she showed up she looked closer to 60. If anything, I thought that maybe the photos she’d posted were of her daughter.”

Carlos knew within a minute that he would never go out with her again.

“I try to date women my age. I want to be realistic. I am looking for a relationship, not just a hook-up. I have my age preference set at 37–48. Women age quicker than men. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same shelf life. I sympathize with older women’s plight, but at the same time, I don’t want to date someone that looks old.”

Carlos has learned from his online dating experience that if a woman claims to be 40, he needs to tack on an additional five years, at least.

“Women either post outdated photos or lie about their age by 10–15 years.”

Over Labor Day weekend, Carlos set up a Sunday-night dinner date in Little Italy with a good-looking woman whose profile he viewed on Match.com.

“Her photos looked great. That night, I saw an older lady making a beeline for me. She knew who I was because I actually look like myself in my pictures. Halfway through our date, she admitted that she was five years older than she’d listed on Match.com. I think it was more like ten. That was our last date.”

Carlos finds that, in order to make an online connection, he needs to be the one to initiate things. He is the first to send a message requesting a date.

“I look at profiles and send messages to women I think I want to get to know. I rarely, if ever, hear back from them. San Diego ladies have their pick of the litter. They have to weed through the men on these dating sites. The women here have guys pawing all over them. They have more choices.”

Carlos is frustrated over the amount of work it takes to find a woman online to date.

“My view of women has become jaded. Women on these sites say things like, ‘I want someone that makes me laugh.’ I can respect that, but I am not a comedian. I shouldn’t have to be. There are women on Match that say you have to make a minimum of $150,000-plus a year in order to even contact them. I can appreciate it, if that’s what they want, but if a man makes that much money, he doesn’t need to be on Match.com to get a date.”

A few months ago, Carlos noticed that Match was advertising an event called “The Stir.”

“Basically, it was a singles’ mixer. In the advertisement, they had good-looking people smiling and having a good time. It was at House of Blues in the Gaslamp.”

Carlos thought it sounded like fun.

He arrived early at House of Blues. The place was pumping. Loud music blared from the upper level. There appeared to be a nice mix of older and younger people. Carlos told the doorwoman he was there for the Match.com event. To his disappointment, he was led to a different gathering downstairs.

“It was in a hidden corner that looked like a dungeon. I walked in and looked around. The people were losers. I was wearing nice slacks and a nice shirt. These guys were wearing cheap tennis shoes and jeans. I thought, Hell, no, I’m not staying for this. There were only a couple of girls. I left. By that point, there was a big line of people trying to get into the event. I wouldn’t date any of them.”

Due to failed dates, Carlos has nearly given up hope of meeting a nice San Diego woman online.

“It’s like high school. All the women I like aren’t interested, and the ones interested in me I wouldn’t date. People are on Match for all different types of reasons. I have coworkers that have met their wives through online dating. I am doing it to find someone to have a serious relationship with, but I don’t know if that will happen.”


Margarita and Avi finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes they talk over each other. On occasion, Margarita shushes Avi with a wave of her hand. In their La Jolla apartment, they sit side-by-side on a microfiber sectional. We keep our voices down because Milana, their 22-month-old daughter, is sleeping.

“We met on JDate [a Jewish dating site],” Margarita tells me. “I signed up for a profile because I wanted a relationship with someone of the same faith.”

“JDate is a more serious dating site, compared to some of the others,” Avi adds. “It’s not a hook-up site like Match.”

“I’m trying to remember why I responded to Avi’s initial message,” Margarita says.

“Because I am amazing,” Avi laughs.

“It’s easier for girls,” Margarita says. “You can be a minimally attractive woman and get hundreds of messages from guys trying to date you. I got a lot of messages. I think I responded to Avi because he’s a really good writer. What he wrote was eloquent and funny. He wasn’t trying too hard or being too serious. It didn’t seem like he was just trying to get laid.”

Avi and Margarita agree that the profiles on dating sites are fairly generic. For the most part, everyone says the same thing. For instance: everyone likes to take walks on the beach, go on picnics, and drink a nice glass of wine.

Margarita says, “For me to click on a guy’s profile, something had to really stand out. Everyone had the same crap. It became borderline cheesy. I’m not going to lie: the first thing I looked at was their picture. As soon as you click on them, you get a stat sheet. It’s pretty awesome, assuming they’re telling the truth. You learn if they are college-educated, a smoker, like dogs, or if they want kids. It was easy to get rid of people based on their stats. It takes all the hard work out of dating. I could come home from work, sit on my couch, and read people’s stats.”

Avi went on a handful of dates through JDate prior to meeting Margarita.

“I went out with one girl who looked cute in her pics. She had a nice-looking bikini photo, but when I met her at a bar in PB, she ended up looking like a Chargers linebacker. Another woman invited me to the University Club, had me pay for our $100 meal, and later serenaded me on a grand piano. It was awkward.”

After emailing back-and-forth through JDate, Margarita and Avi decided to meet at Altitude in the Gaslamp on a Saturday night. Avi showed up at 9:30 with a group of friends. Margarita and some of her friends were to meet them at 10:00. Margarita called and canceled, and Avi spent a chunk of his night talking to her over the phone from the club.

“At 12:30, she told me how much she loved chocolate-covered macadamias. I had a box at my place from a recent trip to Hawaii, so I said, ‘What if I come over right now? I’ll bring a box of those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.’”

Margarita agreed.

Avi arrived at Margarita’s La Jolla apartment at 1:15 in the morning. She looked out the window and saw him parking a cherry-red 1989 BMW.

“My first impression was, Gross! What kind of douche drives a fire-engine-red used BMW? I thought, Let me get this chocolate and get him out of here. I was gagging.”

“I was dressed nice because I’d just come from downtown,” Avi says. “Margarita came to the door in old sweats and a sweatshirt. Her hair was pulled back. I could tell she was cute, but I had no idea she had a slamming body.”

They both smile at the memory.

“We walked her dogs for two hours that night,” Avi says.

Margarita says, “When I opened the door, he was talking a lot. I was, like, Man, this guy won’t shut up. It was late. I needed to walk my dogs. I figured he could come with me to walk them. I thought he couldn’t be that bad. He was definitely more excited over the whole thing than I was.”

“I was just excited to finally meet a cute girl,” Avi says.

Three days later, the two went on a real date. Avi took Margarita to a Padres game.

“When I picked her up, she had on snug little white capris.”

Margarita laughs before correcting Avi. “They weren’t snug!”

“She looked adorable,” Avi says. “Her hair was in a ponytail. She had a Padres shirt on. She looked casual. Sometimes, you’ll go to these games and see women dressed like they’re going clubbing. It’s a frickin’ ballgame. I decided that night: I don’t care if she likes me or not. I’m going to pursue her.”

A few days after their date, Margarita emailed Avi. She told him she wasn’t interested in him romantically. But Avi wasn’t about to let her go.

“I made her meet me for lunch the next day. I claimed I was in her neighborhood.”

He convinced Margarita to give him one more chance. Friday night, he took her to the San Diego Symphony.

Saturday, both of them had dates with other people from JDate. Avi took a woman to the Corinne Bailey Rae concert at the Embarcadero. Margarita went with a freelance writer to a party at Kitty Diamond in Hillcrest.

JDate featured Margarita and Avi in an advertising blitz.

“I liked Avi, but I wasn’t going to take my JDate profile down just yet. It’s like buying a pair of jeans from Nordstrom. After three wears, you can return them and get something different at Neiman Marcus.”

After four weeks of dating, Avi and Margarita mutually decided to take down their JDate profiles. They began an exclusive relationship.

“I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to waste my time with anyone else,” Margarita says. “It was never forced with Avi. I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone other than myself.”

“I said ‘I love you’ first,” Avi says, “but she said it with her eyes. She had hungry eyes. I wanted to ease her pain.”

Margarita rolls her eyes.

“In July, she sent me a blown-up photo of an engagement ring, ‘Just in case, hehehe,’ it said.”

Margarita shoots back, “I don’t remember doing that.”

A year after their first date, Avi asked Margarita to marry him.

Avi wrote JDate a thank-you letter that included his and Margarita’s love story. Shortly after, the couple was contacted by the site.

“JDate was doing an advertising blitz and wanted to interview us. We said, ‘Sure.’”

They were invited to Los Angeles, were interviewed, and had photos taken.

“We had no idea how the photos would be used,” Avi says. “We signed a waiver saying that [JDate] had the right to use our images. We got no compensation. Not long after, I got a text from someone in New York saying that our photo was in Times Square, up on a billboard.”

“That was a shock,” Margarita says. “After that, a friend of mine in L.A. sent us a photo of a gigantic billboard of Avi and I, in the heart of L.A. It was cool but weird.”

“Later, we did a national televised commercial for them,” Avi adds.

In April 2009, two years after their first date, Avi and Margarita got married at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

“We recommend online dating to family and friends constantly,” Margarita says. “It’s effortless. If you know what you like, you don’t have to waste your time. It sounds shallow, but who the heck has time to date in the old-fashioned sense? Meeting someone at a bar or club is so much harder.”

“It’s rare nowadays to find the high-school or college sweethearts,” Avi adds. “People don’t date like that anymore. That’s a lost art.”

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Image by lou brooks c/o theispot.com

In July, my friend Bekah (not her real name) calls to announce her engagement. I am shocked by the news.

The last I heard, she was dating a guy named Mike, whom she’d met on the online dating site Match.com. A few weeks into their relationship, Bekah texted me a photo of Mike in striped jeans and a leather vest with nothing underneath. He reminded me of Captain Jack Sparrow.

“The sex is amazing,” she said.

She sent another picture, the two of them in motorcycle jackets, posed in front of an Easy Rider–style bike. In this photo, Mike’s resemblance to Johnny Depp was uncanny.

They broke up a few weeks later.

“The ridiculous way he dressed got old,” she said.

Before Mike, Bekah dated a doctor she met on eHarmony. The site matched them through a personality test. After doing an internet search of the doc, Bekah learned that a local magazine had named him one of her city’s most eligible bachelors.

Their first date was at a wine bar. It went well. The next morning, a Saturday, Bekah was awakened by a text message: “Do you have any STDs or STIs? Are you on birth control? Have you ever had an abnormal pap smear? Being a physician, you wouldn’t believe the things I have seen!”

She never spoke to the doctor again.

Two weeks later, Bekah met a new guy online. She decided to Skype with him to avoid the possibility of a wasted Friday evening. Fifteen minutes into their Skype date, the guy held up a framed picture of his ex-girlfriend and asked, “Do you think she’s hot?”

Bekah told him she was tired and logged off.

She exchanged countless emails with a photographer before meeting him.

“We have a great connection,” she told me.

But it turned out that the photographer looked nothing like his pictures.

“He listed his height as six feet, but he was closer to five-six and had a receding hairline. He took me to tea. That should’ve been a red flag. A cup of tea costs about $2. What a cheapskate.”

When she denied the photographer a second date, he sent a scathing email telling Bekah that she wasn’t “hot enough to be so picky.”

“I am 32 years old! Too old for this BS,” Bekah said. “I should be married by now.”

Then came Mike, the Johnny Depp look-alike.

Bekah gave up hope of meeting a normal guy through a dating site. She stopped looking for something serious. One night, out of boredom, she typed the physical characteristics of her ideal man into Match.com’s search engine. A guy named Christian (not his real name) popped up. She viewed his profile. He sent her an electronic wink. She winked back. They Skyped. Two days later, they went to a tapas bar. At the end of the night, they exchanged a kiss.

Bekah was convinced that she’d found the one. The feeling was mutual.

In eight months, Bekah and Christian are getting married. She has already purchased her wedding gown and booked a reception hall.

“He’s perfect for me,” she says with a happy sigh. “I never thought I would actually meet someone I’d want to marry from one of these sites.”


Twenty-two-year-old Rebecca (not her real name) meets me at Cosmos Coffee Café in La Mesa on a Wednesday night. Her OkCupid dating-profile photos show a raven-haired, blue-eyed sexpot, but when she first walks past, I don’t even notice her. Dressed in a pink blouse over a frumpy maxi dress, Rebecca looks nothing like her online images.

When she started internet dating, she was a 19-year-old college student living in Mobile, Alabama. She signed up with the site Christian Mingle, hoping to find like-minded, faith-based men.

She had never been kissed.

“Immediately, I received lots of sexual messages. I was asked by one man to have phone sex with him, and he asked if I could be loud during it. I was a young, Southern, Alabama girl looking for a relationship. I learned quickly that maybe one out of 50 guys on there really wanted to get to know me. Because of that, I deleted my account within 24 hours.”

The following morning, when she checked her email, she discovered one last Christian Mingle message. It was from a 23-year-old named Chris (not his real name), who lived in Corona, California.

“He told me I had beautiful eyes and a nice smile. He said he wanted to get to know me better. I thought it was cool that he lived in California.”

Charmed, Rebecca talked to Chris through Yahoo messenger. They soon exchanged phone numbers and began to speak daily. Within two months, they were in a long-distance romance. Despite never having met, they discussed marriage.

“I was supposed to go to California for my college spring break to meet him, but my family said no. My dad said, ‘If this guy wants to marry you, he’ll come here.’ I didn’t tell my parents that we met through a dating site till later. My dad was totally creeped out. He said, ‘Whoa, whoa, you haven’t even met this man. How do you know you love him?’ They didn’t understand.”

In the end, Chris flew to Rebecca’s parents’ home for a five-day visit. Rebecca was convinced he was the man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. A month later, on the final day of her sophomore year in college, she dropped out of school and caught a flight to California in order to be closer to Chris.

“I had never been out of the Southern states. When I flew to California, it was my first time on an airplane. I didn’t tell my parents I was moving until the day I left. I called my parents on the way to the airport and said, ‘I’m moving to California. If you want, you can meet me for lunch before I leave.’ My dad was so upset, he had a breakdown. My mom was sad. They thought it was insane.”

Rebecca’s parents had a hard time grasping that their 19-year-old daughter had dropped out of school and was moving across the country to live with a guy after spending only five days together.

Rebecca arrived in Corona on May 1. By July 4, she realized that Chris had portrayed himself one way over the internet when, in reality, he was a completely different person.

“Chris was happy with my online picture and with the way I planned to look, but never with the way I really was.”

Rebecca admits that she was naive.

“Honestly, it was a little reckless. It was the first time I had been in love...my first kiss.” She sighs. “He was my first.”

After six months, Rebecca moved back to Alabama to live with her parents. She swore off online dating. But she soon grew bored and returned to California. In January 2012, she moved to San Diego.

She signed up for dating accounts with OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. Within a week of living in San Diego, she met a personal trainer on OkCupid. They began a five-month relationship.

“He sent me a message. I thought he was hot. He took me to Benihana on our first date, and to a movie at Mission Valley AMC afterward.”

She liked him immediately. They began to date exclusively. When she discovered, five months later, that he was cheating on her with his high-school sweetheart, Rebecca broke up with him.

“Two months ago, he married the girl he cheated on me with.” She shrugs. “And that’s not even the worst of my dating experiences. I had a guy lie about his entire identity. We started talking because I thought his profile photo was cute. He claimed he lived in La Jolla. But things didn’t add up. He said his rent was $600 a month and that his complex was ghetto. There is nothing ghetto about La Jolla, and you can’t rent an apartment there for 600 bucks.”

The man started sending Rebecca photos. He sent her a penis picture. They had phone sex a few times. Whenever she tried to make face-to-face plans, he came up with excuses about why he couldn’t meet her. After two weeks, he admitted that the photos he’d sent Rebecca weren’t of him; they were of a friend. Also, he lived in New York, not La Jolla.

“He swore the penis picture he sent was his, but the other photos weren’t. He sent me a pic of what he really looks like. He is not attractive.” Rebecca laughs. I am surprised at the ease with which she accepts this.

“I know exactly what to say in my dating profile to get any guy on these sites to email me,” she confides. “I used to be more vulnerable and real about who I was. Now I say things like: ‘I am awesome, I’m so much fun, and you can’t handle me.’ I can get the most attractive guy on these dating sites to email me. It makes me feel powerful. I have dates every night of the week. I leave Wednesday night open, just in case I want to go on a second date with one of them.”

Rebecca says that, most evenings, someone buys her dinner, a different guy every time. If she doesn’t feel like leaving home, she invites the man over to her place to watch movies.

“It’s really fun, though sometimes it can be annoying. I had a Navy guy come over to my place. Less than 20 minutes later, he was begging me for sex. He almost cried when I said no.”

Rebecca shows me her phone. There are dozens of text messages from different men.

“Right now, I’m talking to 12 guys. I’ve met 5 in person. The most promising one is an ugly guy. All the others are just looking to bone me. No one on these dating sites is really looking for a relationship. They’re just looking for sex. That has been my experience.”

Rebecca says that tonight she has her choice between the ugly, sweet guy and a new date. Both are waiting to hear whether she will be joining them for dinner.

“It takes me maybe 30 minutes on any given night to find a guy to go out with. I usually message three different guys. Someone always gets back to me.”

Rebecca has never gone out with anyone outside of internet dating. She has no idea what it’s like to meet someone randomly without checking out stats beforehand: height, weight, smoker, likes or dislikes dogs, does or does not want kids.

“I love it. It’s like a game. My 40-year-old coworker says she wishes she did what I am doing now when she was my age.”


“The problem with online dating in this town is that we live in Man Diego. There are not enough women to go around,” Carlos (not his real name) says. We are sitting in a mutual friend’s living room in Serra Mesa. Carlos is attractive, fit, and could pass for late 30s. He is 48.

“I’ve had a profile on Match.com for over a year and have only gone on five or six dates,” he says. “My profile has been viewed 14,500 times. I recently spoke to a woman who had 12,000 views after just two days on Match.” Carlos sighs with frustration. “The pretty women are snapped up immediately.”

He describes his first Match.com encounter.

“I set up a date with a woman at Wine Steals in Point Loma. She had multiple photos on her profile. It was questionable how recent they were, but I decided to be open-minded. She said she was 45. When she showed up she looked closer to 60. If anything, I thought that maybe the photos she’d posted were of her daughter.”

Carlos knew within a minute that he would never go out with her again.

“I try to date women my age. I want to be realistic. I am looking for a relationship, not just a hook-up. I have my age preference set at 37–48. Women age quicker than men. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same shelf life. I sympathize with older women’s plight, but at the same time, I don’t want to date someone that looks old.”

Carlos has learned from his online dating experience that if a woman claims to be 40, he needs to tack on an additional five years, at least.

“Women either post outdated photos or lie about their age by 10–15 years.”

Over Labor Day weekend, Carlos set up a Sunday-night dinner date in Little Italy with a good-looking woman whose profile he viewed on Match.com.

“Her photos looked great. That night, I saw an older lady making a beeline for me. She knew who I was because I actually look like myself in my pictures. Halfway through our date, she admitted that she was five years older than she’d listed on Match.com. I think it was more like ten. That was our last date.”

Carlos finds that, in order to make an online connection, he needs to be the one to initiate things. He is the first to send a message requesting a date.

“I look at profiles and send messages to women I think I want to get to know. I rarely, if ever, hear back from them. San Diego ladies have their pick of the litter. They have to weed through the men on these dating sites. The women here have guys pawing all over them. They have more choices.”

Carlos is frustrated over the amount of work it takes to find a woman online to date.

“My view of women has become jaded. Women on these sites say things like, ‘I want someone that makes me laugh.’ I can respect that, but I am not a comedian. I shouldn’t have to be. There are women on Match that say you have to make a minimum of $150,000-plus a year in order to even contact them. I can appreciate it, if that’s what they want, but if a man makes that much money, he doesn’t need to be on Match.com to get a date.”

A few months ago, Carlos noticed that Match was advertising an event called “The Stir.”

“Basically, it was a singles’ mixer. In the advertisement, they had good-looking people smiling and having a good time. It was at House of Blues in the Gaslamp.”

Carlos thought it sounded like fun.

He arrived early at House of Blues. The place was pumping. Loud music blared from the upper level. There appeared to be a nice mix of older and younger people. Carlos told the doorwoman he was there for the Match.com event. To his disappointment, he was led to a different gathering downstairs.

“It was in a hidden corner that looked like a dungeon. I walked in and looked around. The people were losers. I was wearing nice slacks and a nice shirt. These guys were wearing cheap tennis shoes and jeans. I thought, Hell, no, I’m not staying for this. There were only a couple of girls. I left. By that point, there was a big line of people trying to get into the event. I wouldn’t date any of them.”

Due to failed dates, Carlos has nearly given up hope of meeting a nice San Diego woman online.

“It’s like high school. All the women I like aren’t interested, and the ones interested in me I wouldn’t date. People are on Match for all different types of reasons. I have coworkers that have met their wives through online dating. I am doing it to find someone to have a serious relationship with, but I don’t know if that will happen.”


Margarita and Avi finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes they talk over each other. On occasion, Margarita shushes Avi with a wave of her hand. In their La Jolla apartment, they sit side-by-side on a microfiber sectional. We keep our voices down because Milana, their 22-month-old daughter, is sleeping.

“We met on JDate [a Jewish dating site],” Margarita tells me. “I signed up for a profile because I wanted a relationship with someone of the same faith.”

“JDate is a more serious dating site, compared to some of the others,” Avi adds. “It’s not a hook-up site like Match.”

“I’m trying to remember why I responded to Avi’s initial message,” Margarita says.

“Because I am amazing,” Avi laughs.

“It’s easier for girls,” Margarita says. “You can be a minimally attractive woman and get hundreds of messages from guys trying to date you. I got a lot of messages. I think I responded to Avi because he’s a really good writer. What he wrote was eloquent and funny. He wasn’t trying too hard or being too serious. It didn’t seem like he was just trying to get laid.”

Avi and Margarita agree that the profiles on dating sites are fairly generic. For the most part, everyone says the same thing. For instance: everyone likes to take walks on the beach, go on picnics, and drink a nice glass of wine.

Margarita says, “For me to click on a guy’s profile, something had to really stand out. Everyone had the same crap. It became borderline cheesy. I’m not going to lie: the first thing I looked at was their picture. As soon as you click on them, you get a stat sheet. It’s pretty awesome, assuming they’re telling the truth. You learn if they are college-educated, a smoker, like dogs, or if they want kids. It was easy to get rid of people based on their stats. It takes all the hard work out of dating. I could come home from work, sit on my couch, and read people’s stats.”

Avi went on a handful of dates through JDate prior to meeting Margarita.

“I went out with one girl who looked cute in her pics. She had a nice-looking bikini photo, but when I met her at a bar in PB, she ended up looking like a Chargers linebacker. Another woman invited me to the University Club, had me pay for our $100 meal, and later serenaded me on a grand piano. It was awkward.”

After emailing back-and-forth through JDate, Margarita and Avi decided to meet at Altitude in the Gaslamp on a Saturday night. Avi showed up at 9:30 with a group of friends. Margarita and some of her friends were to meet them at 10:00. Margarita called and canceled, and Avi spent a chunk of his night talking to her over the phone from the club.

“At 12:30, she told me how much she loved chocolate-covered macadamias. I had a box at my place from a recent trip to Hawaii, so I said, ‘What if I come over right now? I’ll bring a box of those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.’”

Margarita agreed.

Avi arrived at Margarita’s La Jolla apartment at 1:15 in the morning. She looked out the window and saw him parking a cherry-red 1989 BMW.

“My first impression was, Gross! What kind of douche drives a fire-engine-red used BMW? I thought, Let me get this chocolate and get him out of here. I was gagging.”

“I was dressed nice because I’d just come from downtown,” Avi says. “Margarita came to the door in old sweats and a sweatshirt. Her hair was pulled back. I could tell she was cute, but I had no idea she had a slamming body.”

They both smile at the memory.

“We walked her dogs for two hours that night,” Avi says.

Margarita says, “When I opened the door, he was talking a lot. I was, like, Man, this guy won’t shut up. It was late. I needed to walk my dogs. I figured he could come with me to walk them. I thought he couldn’t be that bad. He was definitely more excited over the whole thing than I was.”

“I was just excited to finally meet a cute girl,” Avi says.

Three days later, the two went on a real date. Avi took Margarita to a Padres game.

“When I picked her up, she had on snug little white capris.”

Margarita laughs before correcting Avi. “They weren’t snug!”

“She looked adorable,” Avi says. “Her hair was in a ponytail. She had a Padres shirt on. She looked casual. Sometimes, you’ll go to these games and see women dressed like they’re going clubbing. It’s a frickin’ ballgame. I decided that night: I don’t care if she likes me or not. I’m going to pursue her.”

A few days after their date, Margarita emailed Avi. She told him she wasn’t interested in him romantically. But Avi wasn’t about to let her go.

“I made her meet me for lunch the next day. I claimed I was in her neighborhood.”

He convinced Margarita to give him one more chance. Friday night, he took her to the San Diego Symphony.

Saturday, both of them had dates with other people from JDate. Avi took a woman to the Corinne Bailey Rae concert at the Embarcadero. Margarita went with a freelance writer to a party at Kitty Diamond in Hillcrest.

JDate featured Margarita and Avi in an advertising blitz.

“I liked Avi, but I wasn’t going to take my JDate profile down just yet. It’s like buying a pair of jeans from Nordstrom. After three wears, you can return them and get something different at Neiman Marcus.”

After four weeks of dating, Avi and Margarita mutually decided to take down their JDate profiles. They began an exclusive relationship.

“I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to waste my time with anyone else,” Margarita says. “It was never forced with Avi. I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone other than myself.”

“I said ‘I love you’ first,” Avi says, “but she said it with her eyes. She had hungry eyes. I wanted to ease her pain.”

Margarita rolls her eyes.

“In July, she sent me a blown-up photo of an engagement ring, ‘Just in case, hehehe,’ it said.”

Margarita shoots back, “I don’t remember doing that.”

A year after their first date, Avi asked Margarita to marry him.

Avi wrote JDate a thank-you letter that included his and Margarita’s love story. Shortly after, the couple was contacted by the site.

“JDate was doing an advertising blitz and wanted to interview us. We said, ‘Sure.’”

They were invited to Los Angeles, were interviewed, and had photos taken.

“We had no idea how the photos would be used,” Avi says. “We signed a waiver saying that [JDate] had the right to use our images. We got no compensation. Not long after, I got a text from someone in New York saying that our photo was in Times Square, up on a billboard.”

“That was a shock,” Margarita says. “After that, a friend of mine in L.A. sent us a photo of a gigantic billboard of Avi and I, in the heart of L.A. It was cool but weird.”

“Later, we did a national televised commercial for them,” Avi adds.

In April 2009, two years after their first date, Avi and Margarita got married at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

“We recommend online dating to family and friends constantly,” Margarita says. “It’s effortless. If you know what you like, you don’t have to waste your time. It sounds shallow, but who the heck has time to date in the old-fashioned sense? Meeting someone at a bar or club is so much harder.”

“It’s rare nowadays to find the high-school or college sweethearts,” Avi adds. “People don’t date like that anymore. That’s a lost art.”

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Comments
9

At least Siobhan Braun gave one single man's point of view in this article compared to her man-hater hit piece "Guys are Gross" last summer.

First of all I want to tell "Carlos" from this article that I coined the term Man Diego when I moved to this town for the first time in the late 80's. Now to sound cutting edge I will have to use my back-up 'Sausage-City'. Having lived all over the U.S. I have to agree with him 100% in his analysis of online dating in S.D. from a man's perspective.

For you old school Reader-readers you will remember the dating section (personals/no photo) that used to exist in the pre -internet age. Bad results in my experience with ladies describing themselves with the favorite line "you won't be disappointed" when asking about their looks before meeting.

Here's my tip of the day for internet dating. Get the mandatory picture from that possible someone special, holding a drivers licence under their chin for identity/age confirmation before you take it to the next level. I recently saw a USAtoday article (link below) that says " a quarter of the group's 37 million members are single". So it's not just men lying about their relationships status if only 25% of middle aged dating site members are truly single.

It's not just internet dating as any social setting you go to in downtown S.D. or the beaches, it's raining men. Apply some deductive reasoning with all the military bases in the area and other factors = a perfect 'celibacy storm' for the average single male.

The divorce rate in CA. is 75% as this state leads the the world in superficiality and materialism. As mentioned in the article, even average looking women tend to have a have over inflated opinion of their looks. Literally, I have seen 'WALMART WILDEBEESTS' (that's an original folks) strutting around a night club like they are God's gift (supply and demand). Compared to prime areas of W. LA and O.C. my math is Double the attitude, and half the looks of women locally.

My advice to Carlos if he is looking for wife material and wants to have a family is to outsource out of country. Women in Eastern Europe,Philippines ,Columbia,Mexico are a different 'species', as they have not been totally manipulated by western culture (see link below). If that is not a option, then put your match.com or POF profile in cities where you will get responses by attractive women. If you/she is willing to move, as NYC has 300,000 more single women then men. Other cities that tilt in a man's favor ratio and attitude wise are Atlanta,Dallas, and Phoenix.

Every city has it's +/- as S.D. has the weather, but I find many people here to be unfriendly and uptight as a general rule. Courteous, friendly people makes for a more pleasant existence, A well written article previously written here gave a excellent analysis on social interaction.

Dec. 29, 2012

Here's my personal cliche' list I assembled from my profile on a dating site.

My POF Dirty Dozen Profile Clichés/Translations

  1. Looking for my 'one' and only Soul mate = profile says divorced twice? make that soulmate-s
  2. I give great backrubs/massages = TO CATCH A POF PREDATOR ALERT!
  3. I’m tired of drama / games = Chaos attracts Chaos
  4. I live life to the fullest = As opposed to what?
  5. My friends talked me into posting this profile = you were also forced to post 12 glamour shot profile pics?
  6. I want to be with someone who's my best friend = Who wants to date their best friend?
  7. I appreciate the finer things in life = fax me your W-2 to see if we can do some business
  8. I hate cheaters and liars = Really? How strange - I love them
  9. Looking for a partner in crime = Ex-cons encouraged to apply
  10. My hobbies are fast cars and fast women = Cletus has a bus pass and gets NO women
  11. I work hard, but I play harder = underemployed: I've never seen a Profession: Unemployed
  12. Man must be 6 feet+ tall = Do you really want to limit yourself to 15% of the male population? BONUS: "Cliché of the Day" I'm not religious but I'm very spiritual = Can't you be both? Every one of my tattoos have meaning = So does a Diary with less INK and without the lifetime commitment *Can't change profile AGE = How come no one 'accidentally' posts a # OLDER than their real age? 29.39.49 & HOLDING
  13. Love to Laugh = Hate to Cry?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/02/online-dating-aarp-singles/1735761/

http://endofmen.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/why-feminism-is-a-fraud/

Dec. 29, 2012

Wow, interesting list-but very true. One left off is the "Love walks on the beach"!!! Yes, but who doesn't??? All I can say is Internet dating is for losers. People who have no personalit and don't want to put in the effort and time needed to make a connectrion. Just my opinion. But there are quality people all over this city and every other city in America. Don't have to be a pretender, just go out and be yourself and be sincere- that is what all people can relate to. When you're resorting to Internet dating yo have already lost IMO.

Dec. 30, 2012

Agree with a lot of what you say here. Love the Man Diego part. I've been out of the singles scene for a couple of decades now, but it's been like that since I moved here in 1975. I'll admit I'm a boomer, born right in the middle of my generation. Boomer men have always had a tough time meeting marriageable women. Statistics are against them (I could detail why, but it might be too long). I was getting discouraged dating US born ladies from my generation, especially in San Diego. I looked up census tables (before the internet) and found that in every age group, except over 70, men outnumbered women in San Diego. Between 20 and 40 the ratios were way lopsided. In fact, at that time, there was no urban area of the US which was the opposite of San Diego, with a high women/men ratio. I assume that hasn't changed. So I started to look elsewhere. I almost moved. But I found there's a whole large world of women out there without the major attitudes the ladies of my generation had/have. The internet has to make it easier to contact them now. But I have a few caveats. If you marry a foreign born lady, and her family isn't already here, you'd better plan on spending all of your vacation time taking her back home on a regular basis. You may find a good portion of your income goes toward bringing her family here. Or, as I've seen more than once (hilariously), she's going to deplete your savings account one day to go visit Mommy back in the old country, when you're out of town on business. I'm serious there, I've seen that exact situation more than once.

But I consider myself lucky. My Colombian (spelled Colombia, unless you're talking about someplace in Oregon) born esposa has seven sisters and two female cousins just like sisters. All married, most living locally. That's 10 marriages, if you count, and not ONE divorce between them. So far, anyway. You should see our family parties; it's like the United Nations, with sometimes five different languages going at once. But the whole thing is, if you're a guy in San Diego, you have to broaden your search pattern out of the country. Never a boring moment.

And ladies, if this pisses you off, you can marry a foreigner, too. Lots of foreign guys out there looking for a green card. But don't be surprised when their 'other' wife shows up after few years. Seen that more than once, too

Jan. 3, 2013

I agree with everything Carlos said. San Diego County is brutal for men on the internet dating services. The women are generally of low quality; frivilous, overweight, unattractive, shallow - they are not what you're looking for. Reading their profiles is enough to make you sick - mostly useless bimbos (sorry baby - don't care that you like to laugh, don't care that you like to have fun, that you like to travel - got any intellectual interrests??? No). You can see why they're divorced or never married. The ones that are half-way decent will get hundreds of emails, so they can be very picky which explains why it's unlikely you'll ever get a reply from any of them. I was on Match.com recently and sent out emails to 10 women I had some common ground with - none of them replied back. It's obvious if you live in San Diego you will need to expand your search range to all 50 states, because it's not going to happen for you in SD County.

Jan. 1, 2013

Hey Bruce, did it ever occur to you that you can meet people, real people, in person at various places, without stoopid "dating websites"??? And you will be much more successful if you put in the effort and give it a shot. Seriously.

Jan. 1, 2013

SurfPuppy619, you dealt me a double edged sword, a compliment followed with a 'loser'.

" All I can say is Internet dating is for losers."

I guess you apply the term to "LOSER" to all the websites that cater to the elite(wealthy) men for match making?

Are you a pup or a pup-ette as that would change your perspective, as I guess you see yourself as a winner ,social master-carouser aka (legend in your own mind)?

Put your money where your mouth is, and tell me and Bruce where attractive middle aged men with busy lives can meet attractive women in person who don't have S.D. attitude deflector shields set on stun?. Church socials,Libraries. Supermarkets?

Do tell Super-Pup

Short answer in this town, Fantasy Land., Back to plan B, I'm driving to south O.C. for a date this weekend. Like our Economy (outsource).

Jan. 2, 2013

Are you a pup or a pup-ette as that would change your perspective, as I guess you see yourself as a winner ,social master-carouser aka (legend in your own mind)?

:)

Hey, it is an opinion, relax!

Jan. 3, 2013

This is huge! Humans are seriously mutating. I think it is fascinating that I share in a generation of notable pioneering. We maintain this crazy weird balance of history and development that, to me, is the undertone of this piece.

This generation, as children, still played outside, yet invented the technical level that we thrive in today. Computers (along with central air) brought us indoors, first content with a jumping Italian plumber and then soon to a linked WWW where this type of “romantic” interaction can even be possible. We are good at this.

She actually says: “I love it. It’s like a game”. Absolutely priceless! Genuine singles delving through pages of profiles while she Levels-Up.

Right when I want to say that there is a better way to meet someone, I realize that this is the medium we are comfortable in now. Yes, I did meet my wife the “ol’ fashion” way, but if I really examine it I can’t help but realize that it was simply a series of events that could have been triggered in any way possible. Why not an invoked action such on-line dating?

These folks still have to go through that uncomfortable (possibly even more so) first date that everyone endures. They are getting up and meeting each other and not completely satisfied with drawing the drapes and clicking their little hearts out. Sucks that there are so many dishonest people or those just hunting for sex, but you can find that age old scheme face-to-face at the night club or even the produce section.

The fact that this is commonplace is what I take away. Maybe I broke it down to deep. Stop and think it out, people are placing a few basic self-opinions on a website to be scrutinized by potential mates and then putting themselves out there to be sorted. Some results successful, some tragic. Simplistically iconic Siobhan.

Best of luck to you honest folks lookin for love in whatever way suits you. Down with you meddling wrong-doers.

Jan. 3, 2013

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