Online dating.  The phrase makes it sound simple, as if you merely go online and find a date with the ease of finding an Easter egg in your parents’ two-bedroom apartment, or flaws in Republican party ideology.  What it really means is that you go online and, with a ton of sheer luck, hope to eventually work your way into a date that doesn’t end with you coming home alone, sobbing, broken, and watching softcore porn on Cinemax until 3 a.m.  It should be called “online maybe you’ll meet someone relatively compatible who doesn’t find you completely repulsive and you may agree to see each other again-ing.”

Sure, there are success stories.  The pay sites love to tout those everywhere.  Couples who meet and it’s immediately like John and Yoko.  I know of a few of these couples who seem truly, genuinely happy.  Kudos to them and their online prowess for pitching woo.

But let me tell those couples something:  you got really fucking lucky.

I got divorced in 1999 and soon thereafter signed up for Yahoo Personals.  Since then I’ve been on Matchmaker, Match, and OKCupid.  So I’ve got a few years in this.

In all my personals profiles, I’ve tried to be as amusing as possible while still being as informative as possible. I generally state my fondness for movies, music, books, art, and sports.  I also mention I play guitar (studies show 78.3% of chicks dig that).

Over the years, I’d estimate that I’ve written to 200 – 300 women.  I’m really pretty selective – I only write to women whose profiles seem interesting and/or humorous.  Maybe 10% of them have written back. Some correspondences have gone on for several e-mails, some died right away.

Total dates gotten from initiating interest: 1.

In those same years, maybe 40 – 50 women have written me first.  That’s excluding the porn/Russian bride spam.  I admit I haven’t written back to several – but come on.  I know I’m no prize, but at least be slightly better-looking than Bella Abzug (youngsters, GIS her).

But a few had enticing opening e-mails, and the correspondence continued.  I admit playful written banter is intriguing and, on certain levels, sexy.

NOTE: If a woman writes you first and immediately wants to meet, she’s probably really desperate.  Maybe even crazy.  Proceed with caution.  If she drags things out forever, and refutes your suggestions to meet or even talk on the phone, she’s probably married or otherwise taken and is feeling guilty.  Dump that shit.  Who needs it?

Total dates nabbed from women’s interest: 2.

So we have a total of 3 dates.

#1 – wrote me first — Ended up being my girlfriend for roughly 15 months, my longest relationship since my divorce.  I admit, she was cool and fun.  We really adored each other.  True love?  Probably not.  She ultimately met another guy who was more appealing, and split.

#2 – I wrote her – Had our first date, at a local bar, to see a Led Zeppelin tribute band.  Fun time, but when I e-mailed her about a future date, she said sorry, it was fun, but she was pursuing someone else.

#3 – wrote me first – First date was playing pool at a local bar.  She kicked my ass.  Same story as with #2 — sorry, it was fun, but she was pursuing someone else.

But still, I persevere.  I’m a glass-half-full kinda guy. I still write to a few interesting women on OKCupid, and occasionally, they write back.  I hold out for that one that just might knock my socks off.

So to all those lovelorn online romantics, I say: chin up.  Remember what Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Translated: There are 10,000 dickheads/bitches who won’t respond to you, or will drop off correspondence for a variety of reasons.  Keep at it.  You haven’t failed.  You deserve that one who will truly make you happy.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to go outside and talk to actual people once in a while.  I hear people still meet that way, too.