Women are Like Buses

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No, women aren’t big and red, emit noxious fumes and get ridden a lot. What I actually mean is that, like buses, you wait ages for one to turn up, and when it happens two appear. Yes, I’ve finally had some sort of success on the online dating game, and found some women who seem to take some interest in me. I’ve had a few matches, but most of those didn’t really progress past the first exchange of messages, but two did actually progress into meaningful conversations. Not only did they progress to online conversations, but into real life meetings!

Before I go onto more gory details about these two, I’ll rewind a bit and describe how the searching and matching has been going.

Which site provided the most success?

So, I’ve been registered with POF, Tinder and happn; all for pretty much the same period. All three allow a certain amount of regionality to your search, so I picked similar sized areas for each. While each site lets you know about matches (i.e. you’ve ticked someone who’s also ticked you), POF also lets you know who is interested in you (whereas happn and Tinder keep in you in the dark unless you also like them). So this is quite a useful feature with POF, as it at least gives you an idea to how many women like you and what type of women you attract. On Tinder and happn you haven’t a clue, so I may have hundreds of women liking me, but they are also ones I don’t like.

So far, after about 6 weeks of activity I’ve had this number of matches:

  • POF: 3 mutual matches and 55 ‘they said yes’ (i.e. they like me, but I haven’t ‘liked’ them).
  • Tinder: 5 matches.
  • happn: nothing, zilch, nada, not a sausage (not that I’m looking for sausages!).

With the matches, I’ve started a conversation on all of them, and 2 of the POF ones matured into someone more, whereas only on the Tinder one has really got into any sort of meaningful conversation.

So I would say POF has been the most fruitful in terms of finding women I like, who also may also like me. Very disappointed with happn though; I would have hoped for maybe one match on that.

Getting to know my matches

So two of the POF matches actually started to have a conversation with me. They both started at a pretty similar time (within a couple of days of each other), and both were easy to talk to online, with some shared interests and nice conversation. With both, they soon moved to communication via Whatsapp, so moving outside of the dating site, which made things easier and also I felt some progress was being made. At this early stage I was still expecting to get blown out at some point, so didn’t want to pick one over the other. Both women had similarities and differences, but I couldn’t pick on over the other without having met them. After all, I’d read about so-called catfish, and wanted to make sure they were really who they were in the pictures. Also, as so many first dates become the last dates, I didn’t want to turn one down only to find the other one isn’t interested too.

Being a single parent that works full time means finding time for a date is pretty difficult. The two women also worked full time, so this didn’t help (however, at least I knew I was dealing with reasonably self-sufficient women, which is a plus). However, after a while I managed to fix up first dates with both, within a couple of days of each other.

The first dates

I don’t really want to go into two much detail here, as there’s also the chance the women concerned might come across this blog and realise I’m talking about them! I met up with the first woman, and she seemed to match the woman in her picture (to be honest, her photo wasn’t a very good one, so it was pretty difficult to tell!), and seemed attractive to me. It was a good date, we chatted freely, had a laugh, and it all seemed to go well. After the date, she contacted me to let her know she got home OK, and to check on me which was nice. So there was a good feeling about this one; although the pessimist in me knew not count on it being a done deal quite yet.

The date with the second woman was a couple of days later, and I was a little more nervous about this one. Her photos in her profile were pretty stunning, so I was very wary I was being duped. How can anyone that attractive show an interest in me? Well, as it turned out, she turned up to the date on time and really was the woman in the photos. Not only that, she looked even better in the flesh (I say flesh – she was fully dressed, but my imagination was ignited!)! At this stage I was expecting her to take one look at me and do a runner, but no, she was down-to-earth, chatty and soon made me feel more relaxed (I really had butterflies, it was like being 17 again). Just like the first woman, the date turned out well and she contacted me afterwards which was a good sign.

The dilemma

So I’ve now had first dates with two women, and against all odds, they both take an interest in me. Both have carried on talking to me since the first dates, and I’ve even had second dates with both. I’m now in a tricky situation:

  • Do I now choose one over the other?
  • Are they both convinced about me yet?
  • How many dates do I have before I know I’m in a relationship with one?
  • Are they having dates with other men? Both were very coy about this, and I can’t believe the second woman hasn’t got a hoard of suitors after her.
  • Do I focus on one, and keep the other on the back-burner?

I can’t even pick a favourite between the two at this stage, so I pretty torn. But I suppose it’s better to have to have the choice of two than none at all. I’m still expecting to get blown out by both of them at some stage, so maybe I may never need to make the decision.

Apps & Sites

On-line dating isn’t new to me, I’ve done it before with varying amounts of success (largely failure, but it’s had its moments); but a few things have changed since I last took it on. As smartphones are now ubiquitous, apps seem to be dominating over conventional websites; though many of the websites do have apps of their own. The big daddy of the apps is of course Tinder – the favourite of the media, where everyone is swiping right to jump directly in to bed with a new hottie every night. Of course, the truth is rather more staid with most people just wanting to meet someone who they might bond with for some sort of meaningful relationship. Tinder’s appeal is its ease-of-use and that it’s effectively free. Yes, you can pay for extras, but there’s enough there to contact someone for nothing. For those who having been living on the moon for the last couple of years, Tinder feeds you a series of mugshots you swipe right (hmm, she’s nice) or left (is it even human?) on. If someone else swipes right on you, and there’s a mutual match, you’ll be informed and you can contact them.
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There are other well established sites and apps out there. Plenty of Fish (POF for short) is a relatively conventional dating website, with the added bonus that it is mostly free. Everyone writes a profile with some pictures, and you can search through the various attributes you desire (age, body type, race, kids, etc.). Like Tinder it also allows you to contact people you like without payment. There’s a few extras you can pay for, but they aren’t essential. POF has Tinderised (my new word for the day!) somewhat with its ‘Meet Me’ section which provide a yes-maybe-no series of mugshots which can be quite fun to rifle through. Like Tinder, if you get a mutual match on this, it lets you know, so you stand some chance of starting a conversation without being ignored. POF also has an app, so you can carry on your hunting while on the move. So when you’re on a crowded train your fellow passengers can look over your shoulder at your selections.

Another app that’s recently come across my attention is happn (yes, it hasn’t got a capital letter), which is sort of Tinder-like in that it show’s you whose around your area. However, the location aspect is far more revealing than Tinder, in that it tells you where and when the person shown was last near you. So it almost seems like a stalkers paradise. I’ve had it on my phone for a couple of weeks now and there’s a couple of single women who seem to live only a couple of streets away. Sadly they’re not my type, so I won’t be stalking … I mean contacting … them. If I go for a day out in London, the app fills up with lots of new women, often around the route I travelled in and out of the city. I can see its appeal, but it seems like it hasn’t quite yet got the user base to give a enough diversity of potential singles for my liking.

Match.com and OKCupid are a couple of other big hitters, both of which require quite detailed profiles, and as far as I know need payment if you ever want to contact anyone you like of there. I’ve never really bothered with these as I’m vary wary of paying a subscription for something like this only to find it’s impossible to cancel and you end up with a debt that would make Robert Maxwell blush. Plus, I’m don’t like paying for things when there’s no guarantee of success, and the world of on-line dating is a series of constant failures with the occasional success when the planets all align.

So I’ve decided to try both Tinder and POF, with a odd sprinkling of happn, as they are all effectively free and seem to have plenty of people on them. Let’s get swiping!