A beginner’s guide to internet dating

dating banner

Hello, my name’s Sia, I’m 21 years old…. and I use internet dating websites.

… are you judging me already?  Are you presuming I’m absolutely hideous or disgusting that I can’t find any one in real life?  Do you think they simply don’t work? Or… Have you considered it before but you’re not quite sure?

Although I’ve haunted some dating websites for years as a window-shopping type tool, I only decided to seriously use them in January.  While I had joined OkCupid, I also joined many for a friend‘s research.  Now, six months down the line, I’ve almost stopped using them after the initial thrill.  I’ve put this guide together based on my biased and unprofessional experiences.

Beautifulpeople.com – 1/5


This is a site of incredible controversy which I have joined twice.  You have a ‘waiting period’ where people judge your photos before you’re allowed on the website, and if you’re not deemed beautiful enough you simply don’t access the website.   Some incredibly blind people have voted me in twice, and I’ve deleted my account both times.   The first time was a few years ago when the interface was shockingly bad.  I joined again this year and deleted my account after a month.  Once you’ve got through the stress of “AM I BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH TO GET IN?! DID I CHOOSE AN OK PHOTO?” you reach a badly arranged website (ironic, really), where you can’t message people unless you pay… and also there really aren’t many people on it to begin with.   When I searched for my area I found four men, and only could see their photos.  It’s much more emphasis on looks and I didn’t really find out anything about their personality.

I actually think Beautiful People IS a clever idea in theory, but they need to work on their website layout and payment options before I would ever consider it again.

Match.com 2/5


I don’t really think I can rate this very well because you almost can’t do anything without paying… £30 a month.  If you’re 18-24 I would probably guess you’re not on the website for this reason.   You can pay less if you get, say, a 6 month membership, but it is still very costly.  I do think this is ideally suited for a specific age range, and if you’re like Florence from the adverts.  What annoys me the most is that I have messages I can’t even read – if you had the option to read messages and then decide whether to pay to reply, that would probably work better.


I have no idea really who is on there except the ‘daily 6’ who I can rate and decide if I’m interested.  I personally need to see more than a picture and a line of biography to decide whether I like someone.

Nonetheless Match is the most famous and reputable.  It definitely could work, and the interface is fine, but I think it targets people who are 25+.  I wouldn’t join this website as a paying member at only 21 years old.

Uniform Dating 3/5


With the worst advert on the planet “For those who wear uniform… or those who don’t” (SO ANYONE THEN!?).  I found a completely different mix of people on here.   I really enjoyed this website but again it had many drawbacks.

As I come from an army town there were many soldiers (automatically buff, which they have over Beautiful People – surprising amount, including myself, of people who aren’t actually beautiful on there).   It is a clever idea and although I saw a few potentials, again, you could only send “winks” and “kisses” and not messages unless you paid.  I liked that unlike Match you could actually see more of people but only seeing the beginning of messages (see above picture) made it very frustrating.

I don’t think that I would use this site again, simply because the idea of dating a soldier would be too emotionally investing for me.  However I do think this is a brilliant website at getting people who work in less sociable hours the chance to meet others.   On the website I saw not only soldiers, but pilots, doctors and firemen.  If you’re looking for this sort of man/woman, I would recommend this site over anywhere else – especially as many of the questions focus on profession.

OkCupid – 4/5

okcupid example

OkCupid is my favourite dating website and the only website where I have met up with a person in real life.  The interface is easy, and you can put a lot more of your personality into it than any other.  You can answer many “questions” and then they suggest matches who answered similarly to you.  This is the extremes which came out of my questions:

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 14.42.06 Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 14.41.56

The ‘less thrifty’ is definitely applicable

I much prefer this as there is a lot more to talk about and it’s much more personality orientated.   You can also personalise your section a lot more and give a real sense of who you are.  It comes up on the homepage with your ‘matches’ (today, randomly, all from America, but this isn’t usually the case.)   As it is non-paying a lot of people of my age range, 18-30 are on here.  I know quite a few people who have had relationships from OkCupid.  While it has its flaws – for example, the fact that ANY ONE can message you, I found this also one of the least shallow websites.   I didn’t like on Match.com that I would say an ideal weight for my partner, and Beautiful People was (obviously) too intense on looks.


If you want to use a dating website:

  • Go for Match.com if you are over about 25, and are willing to pay the high fees
  • Use UniformDating if you… (state the obvious time) want to date somebody in uniform
  • Only use Beautiful People as a confidence boost.  I’d be really interested to see if any couples HAVE arisen from BP.
  • If you don’t want to pay and want to give internet dating a go – try OkCupid.

If you’re still not sure, consider these aspects…

  • ‘Free to join’ generally means you can’t do anything except have a profile.  A bit pointless really.
  • It’s a great way of meeting new people, especially if you live in a remote area or have a time consuming job
  • You can make friends – I have met a few people to meet up with as friends in Strasbourg and Vienna.  This will help me (hopefully) to utilise my language skills and meet people outside a university environment
  • However beware of becoming OVER picky there’s simply so much choice that you are going to find fault in everyone
  • On the free websites especially you will probably receive some overly sexual, disgusting or odd emails.  I’ve been messaged by transvestites and 50 year olds, despite saying I was ‘looking for’ a straight person 21-28

However my biggest piece of advice is…

If you want to be on these sites you have to be prepared to MEET UP with the person.    (obviously in a busy place, after you’ve got to know them a bit, telling a few friends exactly where you are and updating them the whole time.  You’re not STUPID are you?).  Internet dating should be the FIRST step.   After consulting many other people on these websites there is a general frustration that men and women only really want an online correspondence or to feed their ego.  A few years ago when I was feeling bad about myself I joined OkCupid just for some quick compliments.  This is definitely not the attitude you should have and is a waste of everybody’s time.   I have personally been on a few dates with people I have met online, and know a few people who are now in relationships with people they have met online.  If you don’t have any intention of meeting the person, DON’T JOIN.

One thought on “A beginner’s guide to internet dating

  1. Pingback: We’re going down, I’m yelling Tinder | LANGUAGE TALKS

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