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Carolyn Hitt logs on to online dating

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 09:41 UK time, Monday, 8 February 2010

By Carolyn Hitt

Log on to love, said the X-Ray team, and so I agreed to let the computer play cupid.

For some, online dating still has a social stigma. My mother was deeply suspicious. She was worried I might end up being stalked by a psychopath from Texas. I persuaded her match-making has come a long way since she hooked up with my father in a Tonypandy dance hall.


carolyn1.jpgIndeed, the stats show the internet has become the mainstream way to meet Mr or Ms Right - there's now a 50:50 chance that any single person you know is currently romancing in the world wide web.


Despite the fact that my social circle includes at least three online marriages, I still had my reservations as I signed up for the most popular paid for (Match.com) and free (Plentyoffish.com) dating sites.

The registration process was particularly thorough on the paid-for site. To build up a detailed profile for others to peruse, there were questions on everything from eye colour to income.

Some were really cringeworthy - "What colour hair would you like to run your fingers through?" for example. But the plus points include detailed guides on how to sell yourself and express what you're looking for in a potential partner. There were also plenty of safety tips on personal security.

 Registering on the free site, by contrast, took barely 10 minutes. There were basic questions on height, hair colour, build, interests and profession plus a description of yourself, your ideal partner, and ideal first date.

After penning suitably sassy profiles and posting my most flattering photographs, I waited for cyber cupid to strike.

There certainly were plenty of fish on Plentyoffish.com - almost 60 emails arrived within 48 hours. But there was a bit of plankton too, including several pervy: "I'm married but don't let that put you off" messages; some unimaginative cut and paste emails and several single sentences of grammatically challenged text-speak.

I stored the decent responses from nice guys and deleted the rest. And then the site lost my profile altogether, which, judging from the frustrated responses on the Help Forum, was not an uncommon experience. Lack of IT support may be one of the main drawbacks of a free site.

There was a smaller immediate response on Match.com but it had a better proportion of men who seemed genuine in their search for a partner. They ranged from a 26-year-old in Manchester to a 43-year-old in Kansas.

It was interesting - and slightly depressing - to see how many listed "boldness/assertiveness" in a potential girlfriend as a "turn-off".

And there were still a few chaps who could do with a makeover in the personal PR stakes - especially the one who informed me: "any lady that is interested in me may have to repair the respect I used to have for the female population". Not the best chat up line I've heard...

But, just like life in the offline world, online dating spans the spectrum of personality types and thankfully the oddbods were balanced by thoroughly normal people. And the beauty of letting the computer play cupid is the world of choice it opens up.

With millions surfing in search of The One, surely the odds of meeting him are more favourable than on a boozy night out in Cardiff?

Just remember that although online dating is the future of match-making, like more traditional forms of human interaction you may still have to click on a lot of frogs before you download your prince.

Have you tried internet dating before? Let us know by posting your comments below.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wanted to meet someone and decided to try internet dating. I signed up to match.com as you had to pay to email people sothe chances are that they will genuine.
    I emailed quite a few people, but only neet up with one, and were still together 3 years later.
    I would say never give up and give it a go.

  • Comment number 2.

    Internet dating is a great thing. I met my wife through internet dating and we were married within 6 months of meeting one another.

  • Comment number 3.

    Me and my husband met throught a internet site, we was both in marriages that was going down hill, so used the internet to find new friends, nothing sexual just friends to chat with, well we met one afternoon, in a chat room and said hi, we started chatting for a few months, and we all got one well, meaning our partners at the time chatted with us to, well we all got on so well,, we met up during the summer holidays. it was great to finally met these new friends, we both had children around the same ages so they got on great to. over the next couple of months our marriages broke down more, and mine finally ended and in a abusive way as well, my husband left his then wife and he came to stay with my family until it all settled down. over the next couple of months, we grew closer, and finally we fell in love with each other, the love we felt was so amazing... well 5 years on and we are still together and have been married 4 months now and still so much in love. we have had a few problems with our ex's along the way but our relationship is so strong we will never break. we are soulmates as well as best friends. so yes i agree mr right is our there and its so much easier to sit in comfort to find him, instead of going out on cold nights.....so this is our love story...Debbie xxx

  • Comment number 4.

    I signed upto eHarmony, Smooch and Faceparty and never seemed to meet the right kind of person. I found the people on the free dates were usually less than serious in actually finding someone to spend the rest of there life with and the people on eHarmony were extremely over cautious. Most wanted months of online communication before as much as a date which I really don't have the patience for either.

    However whilst experimenting, I did make some new friends, one of those new friends introduced me to her cousin (Joanne) who I really fell for within 30 minutes of conversation, 6 months down the road and we're still growing strong bar the odd lovers tiff!

  • Comment number 5.

    I met my husband at a online dating site, this was several years ago and the online datingw orld was hardly developed. I believe that the dating sties of today are a bit more advanced and that they have better matching algoritms, not that I didnt met the best of the best :) Another interesting dating is friends dating which is more aimed at dating friends.

  • Comment number 6.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] I've just started using an online dating site after years of ridiculing them. It's actually quite fun! There's a personality test so you find out about yourself, and it's interesting to see the suggested people that come back. I've had several messages already but not sure how many of them are copy/pasted and how many are genuine. There were good and bad reviews of all the dating websites so I decided to take a free trial and see what happens.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am surprised that online dating agencies continue to prosper - the rapid explosion of social networking sites would surely be better places to find trust and friendship?

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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