The old personal ad in the newspaper actually required some effort, either to place it or respond. If people on Craigslist go so far as contacting people, they might actually go on dates.
If they go on dates, they might actually find someone whose company they enjoy.
Sarah Hepola is a contributing writer at and the Life editor for
At least on dating sites you get to know a little about people before dismissing them. How about specialized romance sites—JDate.com, Widows Match.com, Love Me Love My Pets.com—helpful or hurtful? It’s the real-life equivalent of forgoing the bar or the coffee shop to troll for dates at a Welsh Corgi lovers convention or a Renaissance faire.
In person, a glance can be all it takes to make a judgment. Fine, but as far as judgments go, I think the online handicap and the real-life handicap are about the same. I’m just saying if the book looks like it plays soccer on the weekends and can fill out a pair of vintage Levi’s with a slight 1970s cut, it’s probably the kind of book I’m looking for. On the flip side, if you have a particular interest or aspect of your identity—one that’s so important that you can’t imagine any potential partner not sharing it—then by all means. I can’t guarantee that you’re not missing out on the love of your life because he or she is on a more mainstream site, but I can’t guarantee a mainstream site user that the love of their life isn’t on Manic Depressive And Inthe Mood.com, either.
But then it’s a slippery slope, and I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read about someone who waded into all those profiles thinking they’d just browse, and then find themselves contacting people.
Same with posting profiles; people might do it as some sort of abstract ego boost and then get intrigued when there are actual responses.