First Person: Okay, Cupid—Or Misadventures In Online Dating

internet datingMy decision to create an online dating profile came shortly after I noticed my hairline was receding.

Oh my god. I’m going to be bald and alone forever. I better meet someone soon before it’s too late!

To be gay, single and bald seemed like a death sentence. I’d never joined a dating site before—partly because I’ve never cared much for dating, and partly because my ego wouldn’t allow me to. Dating websites were for lonely people who didn’t have any friends and couldn’t get laid.

“No they’re not!” my friend Maude argued. “They’re for busy people who don’t have time to wait around and meet someone.”

Maude has only ever dated men she’s met online.

“And anyway,” she continued, “you are a lonely person who doesn’t have any friends and can’t get laid.”

After thinking about what Maude said, and with baldness looming in my future, I swallowed my pride and created a profile. What did I have to lose, aside from a few more follicles?

Now, there are some pretty ridiculous dating websites out there. The names are what crack me up the most: There’s Plenty of Fish, which likens single people to marine life. And there’s, which allows users to browse singles by their sexually transmitted diseases.  My favorite is Discreet Adventures, which sounds like a Lifetime movie but is actually a site for setting up extramarital affairs.

I opted for the less nOkCupid-Logoefarious-sounding OK Cupid which, you have to admit, is a pretty self-defeating name. It’s like you can’t do it on your own, so you’re shrugging and turning to the god of love for assistance. Hopefully he can help, but there’s no guarantee. And if he can’t, you’re SOL.

The thing about OK Cupid is that it tells you how many people have looked at your profile each day. The very first day I joined, I had more than 100 views.

Wow! I thought. Isn’t that something? Over 100 people looked at my profile today! At this rate, I’ll find love in no time!

I was less encouraged the following day when my view count dropped almost by half. And the day after that, when it plunged another 25%. In a matter of 48 hours I’d gone from hot to lukewarm to cold. I would later learn that this is typical on OK Cupid: A new member joins and everyone goes to check them out, sort of like how dogs in the dog park rush over to sniff a new pooch’s ass before quickly dispersing.

The veneer of civilized behavior is very thin.

Even though my daily views leveled out in the low teens (on a good day, I might break 20), I still managed to score a few dates: I met some decent people, like Richard, who did graphic-design work for a digital publishing house, and Dave the Dermatologist.

I also met some not so decent people, like this trust fund baby whose name escapes me now (probably because I blocked it out). On our first—and only—date, he bragged about having made out with Paris Hilton once at a bar (and woke up with strep throat the next day), how he never re-wears clothes, and how his life is just like Elizabeth Gilbert’s, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.  “Only,” he said, “I can’t seem to find the love part. I have everything I could ever dream of—a great apartment, a great car, a great wardrobe. All that’s missing is a great guy.”

Then there were the three Scotts. That’s right, I dated three men in a row named Scott.

The first Scott was a beefy software technician with a goatee: Things started out well, until about our third or fourth date, when he invited me to hang out with his friends.

He must really like me if he’s introducing me to his friends! I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The five of us (Scott, me and his three friends) met for dinner. Over the course of our meal, I slowly came to realize that the other guys weren’t Scott’s “friends” at all—they were his other dates. Apparently he thought he could take all four of the men he was dating out at the same time and none of us would catch on. I put two and two together when he proposed we all go back to his junior one-bedroom apartment and “watch Kylie Minogue music videos on DVD.”

For the record, I didn’t participate—my hairline may be receding, but I wasn’t that desperate yet.

The second Scott had red hair and was a writer, like me. He wrote for a magazine and thought he was pretty hot shit because of it—he never missed an opportunity to talk about how successful he was, and how there were writers twice his age who hadn’t accomplished as much as he had at 25.

I’ll admit, I was a little jealous at first. Until I Googled him and realized that the “magazine” he wrote for was his personal blog, in which he wrote about the woes of being a struggling 20-something working at a coffee shop. It had a whopping 18 followers.

unfriendWhen I confronted him about this, the conversation went as follows:

“I think it’s better if we were just friends.”

“I think it’s better if we weren’t anything,” I replied.

“Fine by me,” Scott quipped. “I was just being polite. And don’t think I’m not going to write about this.”

Likewise, Scott.

The third and final Scott proved to be the weirdest of the bunch. He was ten years older than me, though when we first met, he fudged his age—by a whopping two years. I mean, why bother?

But the real problem with Scott #3 is that he was without a home: He lived out of a suitcase and hopped from one friend’s couch to another every few days. In the two-and-a-half weeks we dated, he had six different addresses. But I was willing to overlook this at first because, by now, I had been on OK Cupid for almost six months and my hair was falling fast.

Scott #3 also drank—a lot. He didn’t drive because his license was taken away after his second DUI a few months prior. When we first met, he told me he was an assistant manager at a restaurant, but he wouldn’t say which. I would later find out it was McDonald’s.

Now, I have nothing against people who work at McDonald’s: I, myself, dabbled in a career in fast food when I was 19, and the experience taught me that what a person does for a living doesn’t define them. I do take issue, however, with 36 year-olds with multiple DUIs who couch-surf, lie about their age and are embarrassed about their jobs.

That, to me, is the definition of a loser.

When I broke it off with Scott #3 he called me a prick and said if I ever stepped foot inside his restaurant he would refuse to serve me.  Lovely.

After the three Scotts, I was exhausted witgay coupleh dating and decided to leave OK Cupid altogether. If all of my hair fell out and I was alone forever, so be it. I would rather go bald than suffer through another bad date. And even if I did go bald, I could just get a gym membership: I would just get really buff to make up for my lack of hair.

The next part of the story almost seems made up, but I swear it’s the truth: After taking a few days off, I logged back in to OK Cupid— just to delete my profile. When I did, though, I had a message. I opened it and found myself pleasantly surprised by the sender’s note:

“Hi. I think your profile is really funny. I love the new Avril Lavigne song, too. My name is Jacques.”

Going against my better judgment, I responded. And I’m glad I did—because now, two years later, Jacques and I are happily living in a house in suburbia, with a dog, a Subaru, and a membership to Costco.

My hairline continues to recede about a quarter-of-an-inch a year, but that’s okay. Jacques’ does, too.

Someday, God willing, we’ll both be bald together.