Better Dating Through Chemistry

Better dating through Chemistry…No, I don’t mean that you should drop a tab of LSD before an internet date; although I’ve had a few in the past that made me wish I’d been medicated for them. What I’m talking about is that chemical spark that inexplicably ignites when you meet certain people. Sometimes it happens immediately and sometimes it happens after a few dates…and you just don’t know why. I don’t think I want to know exactly what creates chemistry between a couple, I like the mystery. I like meeting someone, feeling that connection and then experiencing the delicious excitement of not knowing why it’s there or where it will lead us.

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I think sometimes that I’m alone in that opinion. At least that’s the impression I get from many of the dating sites I’ve seen. They all seem to feature a personality test or a compatibility matching system or some other form of cyber-voodoo that will “guarantee” (this word is usually followed by the dreaded * – which means that you should take that word very, very loosely) your chances at finding true love.

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eHarmony has an hours long test that matches you on different levels of compatibility. Of course, after all this there are a few people that eHarmony pronounces as “unmatchable”. WOW…my mother always told me that there’s a lid for every pot – apparently not. Of course she never had to take a test to find my dad. Chemistry.com has a test that rates you in four areas. Perfect Match has a test created by a relationship expert. Even the free sites have quizzes and surveys that you can take that will give you insights into who you really are and who you really want to find. I’ve yet to find a site that uses astrology, tarot or tea leaves, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these showed up in the mix one day.

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If all these guarantees of perfect compatibility through psycho-social poking, prodding and rating were a sure thing, dating sites would all be out of business and all the Las Vegas wedding chapels would be on the Fortune 500 list.

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I remember a few years ago, the opening episode of that season’s “The Bachelor” included a young woman who was chosen for the bachelor based on their mutual eHarmony compatibility matching. She never made it past the first episode..yep…tossed off on her compatible little keister. So much for scientific matching.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I like taking all those quirky personality tests. It brings me back to my tween years when my girlfriends and I would spend hours taking Cosmopolitan’s quizzes….”Are You Virtuous or Vixenish?”. We had no idea what some of those questions meant, but what a hoot trying to answer them…:) So now after all these years of Cosmo quizzes and internet chemistry tests I am probably the bane of psycho therapists everywhere….she who knows herself too well.

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In the end though, when you’re meeting a new man or woman, it still comes down to that elusive, non-measurable chemical reaction. And I like that…the mystery, the excitement, the wondering where it will lead. That’s what I like about internet dating, it gives you so many more chances to find that.

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A Designer’s Lament

I need to start this post with a Graphic Design Diva’s Hissy Fit. …I put a short profile and a photo up on PlentyOfFish.com and made a valiant attempt at trying to figure out how to “work” the site. I am exhausted, and I still haven’t completely figured out this place. Now the Pollyanna side of me is saying “You never know. Don’t judge a site by it’s navigation. Your soul mate may be lurking around on there somewhere. Chin up Girl!” And the Design Diva is screaming “BARF…GAG…it’s ugly here. GET OUT before the place permanently blinds you!” I just can’t get comfortable with this site.

First of all the photos are horrible…all of them. Seems when you upload a photo the site re-sizes your pix….but not proportionately. I’ve yet to see a man on there who doesn’t look like some variation of Mr. Potato Head. Now I’m sure most of these guys are actually normal to great-looking in real life. I’m also sure that the majority of them posted photos that are an accurate depiction of what they look like, but by the time these pix get posted on pof.com they have apparently gone through some kind of internet nuclear holocaust, causing them to become Mr. Potato-fied. I am actually afraid to look at the public view of my profile. I don’t want to know what happened to my head.

I did find a rating section on the site though. You can submit your headshot and have members rate you, from a 1 (Fish Again) to a 10 (Great Catch). Am I the only one who finds this too icky to bear? Needless to say I will not be submitting my headshot to this section. There’s also a discussion board, which I just haven’t had time to delve into, and just as well too because, let’s face it, I’m looking for a real-live date – not a discussion board buddy.

I’ve gotten a few emails from men on the site and not one of them is more than one sentence long. Actually most are just a word or two, like “Hi There” or “Va-Va-Voom” (do people really still use that expression??!!), or “Hey Hottie”. I have to be honest, I need more than that verbally. I like to know that the person I’m considering meeting can string a short series of sentences into a coherent message. Call me crazy, but I really do like that. I wonder if this penchant for the briefest possible message has something to do with the structure of the site? Maybe all these gentlemen are so mentally drained from trying to navigate the labyrinth that is PlentyOfFish that basic language skills have now escaped them.

I did briefly reply to a Mr. Potato Head from New York. He wrote “You seem very lovely, it’s a shame that we’re so far from one another”. His profile seemed intelligent and down-to-earth and, although he really is G.I. (geographically inappropriate) I decided to write back with, “Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your profile and I too think it’s too bad that we’re so far apart. I do have cousins who live out your way though. It’s a nice area.” He replied that he might mapquest where I lived and then he mentioned a town that’s about 50 miles south of me! So, I sent him a note telling him to set his mapquest sights to my actual home town….and….never heard back from him. Well, that’s the way it goes with online dating…sometimes they just disappear…onward and upward then.

For now I’m going to leave my profile up on PlentyOfFish…Polyanna usually wins with me. It’s free so it couldn’t hurt, right? In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions for other likely sites. Let me know if you run across an interesting one.

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Decisions, Decisions

I have been off of dating online for about a month now. Why? I’m too busy….working on a book about adventures in online dating. Oh, the irony. O. Henry would be so proud of me. But, I am not entirely idle on that score. I’m planning to get back on the merry-go-round in the next few weeks, just not sure what site to try. I’ve had luck on Match.com. I had a wonderful 2 1/2 year relationship that started with a typical Match date. I think that I’d like to test some other waters this time though. So, to that end, I am doing some research into other sites. There are SO many of them out there!! You can find sites for Catholics, Jews, Liberals, Conservatives, Born-Again Christians, Jocks (yes, really, Fitness-singles.com), straights, gays, swingers, under 30s, over 30s and the “hard to remember my age anymore” group. The cost for these sites varies wildly, from free to a fee that’s roughly the equivalent of a medium sized mortgage payment. There seems to be a dating site for every lifestyle and preference out there. I have yet to find my ultimate site though: chocoholic-singles.com. When I do though, I am so THERE baby!

I’ve decided to start by checking out the free sites. Well, let me re-phrase, my WALLET has kindly made this decision for me…such a considerate inanimate object. A while back I’d actually started an account with downtoearth.com, but never really explored the site and they never sent me those annoying “Someone Special Is Waiting For You” emails either so I’d completely forgotten about it. I just logged on earlier today to finally plunge into the site, which I think is owned by Match.com, only to find that it’s now called Stir.com…hmmmm. Apparently you can find People – Places – Parties here. Not sure if it’s a dating site or a networking site.

I am not going to start an account here, although it apparently is free. Sorry, you kids will have to check the site out and report back to me about it. …..Hehehe, just read what I typed…Am I getting OLD? Why am I not burning with curiosity about this night-life toutin’, friend findin’, hot-spot spottin’ web site? Could it be that the people pictured on the home page look like they’re my sons age???? Could it be??!! Not for me, I’m so not a Cougar. By the way, I hate that word “cougar”. A woman who dates someone younger is a Cougar and a man who dates someone younger is a… what is that word they use?…Oh, yeah..a MAN. OK, OK, I will not go off on a total feminist tangent…but – really.

I think what it finally boils down to is that I want to find a relationship, a good, healthy, lasting relationship and I don’t think a site with a title like STIR is the place for that. So, this week I’m going to see what PlentyOfFish.com is all about. Yes, the title “Plenty of Fish” sounds as if it’s a haven for serial-daters, but I have a girlfriend who’s met some guys there and a male friend who’s met someone he’s truly crazy about. On the other hand Mares tells me that everyone there is creepy and/or married. I think I’ll just have to do the research myself here.

Have any of you been on plentyoffish? Any luck? Any sites to recommend? My detective hat is on, pad and pencil in hand.