In this day and age, most of us are familiar with the perks and perils of online dating. Those of us who are the delightful combination of socially awkward and somewhat technically savvy have been navigating the tumultuous waters of meeting folks online long before it became socially acceptable, and to this day act as mentors to our single friends who thought online dating was for losers…until they realized how many of their friends were coupling up courtesy of their internet connection. At this point, there are so many excellent options to pick from; the number of popular dating and hookup apps continues to rise, which can make it tough for those who have remained largely uninitiated to the rituals of online
Back in February I signed up for HowAboutWe’s couples site, and while I have a lot to say about that (in a post that will be coming very soon, so be sure to check back), I also got a chance to poke around their singles site. If you haven’t already read Alex’s spectacular review of HowAboutWe (FOR SHAME) and know what it’s all about, lemme give you the run-down: HowAboutWe’s goal is to get you connected and offline on a date as quickly as possible.
Rather than relying on lengthy exchanges that build up expectations without really giving an accurate portrayal of compatibility, HowAboutWe allows single users to propose dates to one another (“How about we…get udon at Marugame Monzo,” or an actual suggestion I received while on the site, “How about we…we take one of Shakespeare's plays and have a picnic on the beach, while we recite the play to each other…accompanied by champagne”) and start out the gate with setting up a first meeting. There are profiles, of course, and HowAboutWe makes sure to include some vital questions that offer insight into the personality of your potential date:
Although Okcupid was always my go-to (and is currently to thank for my current relationship), much of my success on the site had to do with learning how to game the system, in a manner of speaking. I had been on and off Okcupid since 2004 (technically, before it was LEGAL for me to be on the site even…whoops!), and by the time I met the Boyf, I had been taking on bad dates (with some interludes for dating and relationships) for long enough that I had figured out the social cues and what they meant. I knew how to write a profile that both represented me accurately and attractively (or at least, attractive to those I was seeking), and I learned how to gauge whether someone was going to be a huge pain in the ass. By the point I became coupled up, I had set a hard and fast rule about meeting up for a drink nearly immediately, and not exchanging more than four or five messages before a first date. That knowledge, combined with lucking out and meeting the right person, made for a success.
I can say, though, that sites like Okcupid require a lot of…sifting. Sifting through prospects, dealing with annoying bullshitty messages, and the demographic certainly encourages a very casual approach to dating. While I was on there, I was open to a relationship, but certainly not outright seeking one, and I’m not sure that I would recommend it for the sole purpose of finding a significant other (that’s not really my dating MO in the first place, but hypothetically speaking).
In contrast, HowAboutWe seems to take a more grown up approach to dating and relationships. By asking for a small monthly fee for full access to the site, it suggests that the folks on there are already willing to make a small level investment to have a better dating experience, and cuts through pretenses to do exactly what online dating is supposed to do: introduce you to people that you may not have met otherwise, and bring that connection offline. In this approach, though, HowAboutWe holds on to that same whimsy that made Okcupid so popular in the first place; the profile questions cover the basics (smoking/nonsmoking, drinking/non-drinking, kids/want kids/never kids) and keeps the silly open-ended questions that allow for creative responses.
My only real complaint about the site: Some of the language doesn't fit quite right (I definitely don't identify as bi–the term “queer” is far more representative), and it doesn't seem like it has any options for gender neutrality, thus leaving genderqueer and trans* folk (and the people who are interested them) cast aside. It's not that hard to be inclusive, and it would be rad if that was an option.
The site has no shortage of users who are potentially interested; I immediately was bombarded with interest in my proposed date (which was just a stock proposal, rather than one I actually picked out myself), and messages. While a couple of them were iffy (one gentleman proposed in his message, which is um, flattering, I guess), none of them were as sexually explicit, aggressive, and unpleasant as some of the Okcupid messages I’ve received in the past. As I said, the pay scale, even though it is seriously inexpensive, weeds out the trolls and wankers–or at least most of them. That alone seems worth the cost. Another nice touch: If you are feeling nervous about putting a potential date out into the public sphere, you can always look for users that pique your interest and send them private date requests too.
If you’re looking to change up your approach to dating, HowAboutWe can help you do it. What’s the harm in signing up for free and taking a look around? If you want full access, you’ll have to pay up, but consider it a small fee to hook you up with genuine romantic prospects rather than catfishers and dudes who are typing all their messages with just one hand.
Disclaimer: We’re HowAboutWe affiliates, so if you click those links and sign up you’re going to help us keep running this gorgeous site. That said, we have not been compensated for this post and this is my true and honest opinion. Listen, Urban Daters, you gotta know that we wouldn’t steer you wrong. Pinky swear. For more information, check out our disclosure statement here.