Online Dating: Diane Lane I am Not

Until the last month or so, the only thing I ever knew about online dating sites and services was what I’d heard second or third hand and seen in movies. I thought you signed up, paid a fee, filled out a questionnaire, and they found a perfect match for you.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who presumed the same thing since such a scenario seemed to be a major plot point in the movie Sneakers. The collaborators needed to bypass a voice recognition security device, so they had Mary McDonnell pose as a computer date for Stephen Tobolowsky and record the necessary words. All goes well until Ben Kingsley discovers that Mary is supposed to be Stephen’s date. He says, disbelieving, “A computer matched her with him?” And so the story took a turn for the worse for the collaborators.

Now that I know the truth about computer dating — at least the sites I signed up for — the movie seems a bit less riveting.

To the extent that the computers are matching me with anyone (it doesn’t seem as if they are really finding matches, just notifying me of a random mix of people in my current geographical area), they seem to think I am looking for an inarticulate, overweight, tattooed smoker who rides a motorcycle. (Um, no.) The two characters in the movie were a much better match for each other than any I’ve been paired with. In fact, when I was watching the movie, I thought that very thing, that the two characters had a lot in common — both were educated, fastidious, articulate, and lived well.

Another movie that deals with online dating sites as a major plot mover is Must Love Dogs. Diane Lane seemed to find plenty of dates almost immediately, yet after five weeks, I haven’t managed to connect with a single person. Of course, she is Diane Lane, and I obviously am not. Also, the photo used for her profile was her high school photo, and pretzelsthat makes a big difference. As I wrote before, a woman’s desirability online peaks at 21. At 26, women have more online pursuers than men. By 48, men have twice as many online pursuers as women.

What started out as a sort of a leap into the future or maybe even just a fun dating game has fizzled into . . . nothing. One or two men did manage to tear themselves away from their motorcycles long enough to send impersonal replies, another two or three approached me and begged for my phone number and email address first thing as if they thought I were so desperate that I would pass out such information like pretzels at a singles bar. Such tactics might even work — apparently, a lot of people think the computers on the sites have more insight than they do, or the members are so psyched to go out that they go on a date with the first person who makes any sort of move.

I’m used to meeting people online who live on the other side of the mountains, the other side of the country, even the other side of the world, and it is a bit disconcerting to think I am making myself known to locals. Sometimes I wonder if anyone would recognize me if they saw me on the street, but I don’t think they would. So far, I’ve managed to remain invisible, both online and off.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

9 Responses to “Online Dating: Diane Lane I am Not”

  1. Gen Says:

    You should listen to TED Talks — Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating, added 10/2/13. I think you will really enjoy it. I found it hilarious. Enjoy!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I did enjoy it. Thank you! Don’t know what it means for me, but it does give me something to think about. I did consider setting up fake profiles for the sake of research, and now I don’t have to since she did it for me.

  2. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    But Pat, think of your writing. You might get some cool plot ideas from “an inarticulate, overweight, tattooed smoker who rides a motorcycle.”


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Good point! In fact, the woman who talked me into joining the site finds characters for her books that way.

      So in the story, he meets a staid, old maid schoolmarm, and together they . . . (Not that I’m staid, old, or a schoolmarm, but it seems to fit with this particular story.)

  3. 22pamela Says:

    As far as online dating services go…you get what you pay for. That said, if one joins a site that is free…well. My friends joined one called eHarmony. A year after meeting, they ran off the Las Vegas and got married in a drive thru Elvis Chapel. One year after that, they got married in a beautiful garden. Why is this important? Because I met my husband at their ‘second’ wedding…therefore; making us eHarmony by proxy. We are coming up on 7 years of happily married life….Sidebar; before my husband met me…he tried a few of those free sites, only to find a bunch of gold digging (you fill in the blank) and crazy over-sexed middle aged women who didn’t dress or act their ages. Myself, I was waaaaaaaaay too paranoid to try it. Even, the option of meet me at Starbucks wasn’t, for me, an option. Good Luck! Oh! One more thing…my husband wasn’t a biker before we met. I was! Now riding is just one more thing we enjoy.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You made me smile with your comment about your husband not a biker before you met but that you were. I bet you two have a lot of fun together.

      I joined OurTime, which is a pay service, supposedly for the over 50 crowd. I don’t know what the men on the site are looking for, but it isn’t me, and I’m okay with that. My life is complicated enough right now.

      • 22pamela Says:

        I’ve heard very good things about OurTime. At least the men there are looking for a ‘realistic’ mate and not a 24 year old Super Model to help them feel young…but a 50-Something? Real Woman who has the same references and life experiences they have. Ms. Bertram…I kissed a LOT of frogs before I found my prince. Know that this is a journey, a process, and don’t rush it…cause it’s all in God’s/the Universe’s time…not yours. Put the gloves back on and keep fighting girl. My alternate Trailer Park personality, Nadine always says: “Not that I ‘need’ a man, cause I don’t!…but I ‘want’ a man.” Take your time and be as picky as you like…and keep it real.

  4. Wanda Hughes Says:

    Hey Pat, I’ve had some experience with computer dating back in the day and one thing I have to tell you, most ‘men of a certain age’ seem to think a motorcycle makes them more attractive to women, usually younger women. I, like you, found a preponderance of picture of proposed ‘matches’ either on or near their motorcycle. Or boat. Or, in a couple of cases, their airplanes. (Those I considered for a bit since it would have been nice to get a plane ride to here or there.) What I ultimately found was that in a small area, like here, there were just not that big of a base of possibles to make it worth my while. I had a few dates with locals, lunch you understand…in a public place, no addresses exchanged, etc. I found I hated dating in every form! We’ll have to dish about your matches when next we meet. Hugs girl

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Actually, this is pretty much the whole story. I have no idea if I like dating because after all those months and money and motivation, I did not go on a single date. I think I told too much of the truth. And anyway, they seemed a particularly humorless lot. They all posed with their vehicles, so I posted a photo of me with my bug, and no one got the joke. But if all goes as planned, we should be meeting again in May.

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