Advice about finding love online: try POF, "Costco of humanity"

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"I was cautious telling people about my online dating because when I signed up back in 2007, it wasn't as mainstream as it currently is," Gagnon-Sirianni said about joining Plenty of Fish.

"There were a lot of aspects of online dating that made me nervous. I was skeptical of how successful it would be and anxious about meeting someone online and going out on a date without really knowing them. I am also very close with my family so I did, admittedly, worry about what my family would think about the entire thing," Gagnon-Sirianni recalled of her initial anxiety over joining the online dating world.

"I was of course nervous about trying it out because online daters are so stigmatized for being desperate or weird," Liu said about her fear of being assigned this stereotype if she openly admitted her online dating activities.

Online dating downers

"There is always that fear that people are not who they say they are and that element of deception," Liu said frankly. 

She recalled an experience where first date anticipation quickly turned into regret as she sat nervously and watched a woman come through the doors of a local Starbucks. As the unputtogether woman walked over to introduce herself, Liu was shocked at how noticeably older the woman looked than her online profile exposed. Further discussion with the woman also gave way to the detail that she was also still legally married.

"There are cases where people only put information in their profiles that they feel other people find desirable, even if it is entirely inaccurate," Liu said as she recalled one of her worst online dating experiences.

Wilson commented that the effort put into creating a high-quality profile and responding to emails in the hopes of securing a date, was particularly time consuming.

"There were many times where the Internet would become another workplace," he said about the additional time that had to be put into online dating.

Although online dating may be a favourable dating tool for people who are shy when it comes to expressing intimate feelings, Wilson proposed that taking a risk and exposing vulnerability while face to face, provides a more ultimate form of gratification. 

"Online, you can easily hide safely behind your computer and never have to face some of the emotionally gut wrenching moments involved when approaching someone in person. When those moments go well, though, it is a much better high than when you’re connecting with someone online," Wilson explained.

Online dating perks

Besides the effort, time, and occasional misleading profiles, all three of the online daters expressed that dating online provided perks that typical dating methods did not. 

"Life is busy. People have different schedules, live in different areas and hang out in different places. Dating online is refreshing because it gives you an avenue to meet people outside your daily routines,"  Matt Wilson commented.

New to  Vancouver, Wilson said, he was having difficulty meeting people.   Bars weren't where it was happening.

"It’s a place full of single people, generally looking for the same thing," Wilson said, countering the alternate, and highly unlikely, scenario of stumbling into someone you're interested in during daily routines.

"With the Internet making hundreds of singles instantly available, you feel like you could potentially be missing out on something great if you don't take a look on the sites and see what is out there," Wilson concluded.

The key ingredient that makes dating online so desirable: the Internet provides a larger pool of people to choose a potential partner from.

"Funny enough, my husband and I grew up only 30 minutes away from each other. Between a five year age gap and attending different universities, we likely would have never met each other without online dating," Gagnon-Sirianni said.

Online dating rewards

"I would be open to trying it again," Wilson said.

"I am happily married as a result of online dating," Gagnon-Sirianni said.

"I probably wouldn't try online dating again just because I've realized that it's not my style," Liu said.

 Although Liu admitted that she doesn't plan on trying online dating again anytime soon, she doesn't regret the experience. It helped her gain insights about how she functions with other people, her tendency towards shyness and her desire to go slowly at the beginning of a relationship.

The jury's still out for Wilson and the online cupid hasn't pierced him with his virtual arrow yet.  "I'd prefer to meet someone in person but it can’t hurt to use the Internet until I do," he said.

Our advice, just do it.  What do you have to lose?  Online dating sites like POF bring millions together in what one user termed a "Costco of singles".  You won't want everything you find on the shelves. You'll see a lot of yucky stuff. Lots of stuff packaged to make you want it with unhealthy stuff inside. But if you look hard enough, or just get lucky, you might find a healthy, delicious treat.


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