Opinion: No shame in online dating!

NEED TO KNOW
  • Mike Sheppard is a single 30-something with an OkCupid profile
  • He says he once scoffed at the idea of online dating, but he says things have changed
  • Here's why he says you shouldn't let the fear of social shaming stop you from using online dating
Opinion: No shame in online dating!
Mike Sheppard

Editor’s note: Mike Sheppard is the head of video production for AskMen and contributes to the magazine’s dating perspective. He is a single 30-something guy. He is on Twitter

A recent Pew study finds that almost 60% of Internet users say “online dating is a good way to meet people,” but only 10% actually admit to having used it. Sheppard aims to dispel the social stigma behind online dating. 

I used to scoff at the idea of making a profile and trying to meet women online. The first time I filled out a profile on one of the online dating sites was about five years ago. I dropped it because it started to feel desperate and, quite honestly, the more I had to fill out, the more I had time to think about what I was doing. Never let a man overthink his dating strategy.

But recently, it started to look like the line between regular social networking and online dating had been blurring. Different apps and trends started to come up more often over drinks with the guys. Tinder and OkCupid were less shameful topics and more the basis for anecdotes. It felt like it was time to get off my high horse and give it a real shot. 

AskMen: Online dating dos and don'ts 

The simple fact is, there are women who have given up on meeting men in bars and have begun to populate the dating sites in hopes of finding Mr. Right.

Online dating is a kind of forum that gives women some security. They can say hello and then disappear if you go all creepy on them. And, thankfully, the same goes for men. I have already had to adjust things to avoid one woman in particular. No offense to her, but don’t ask me to dinner in the first message. Or at least don’t ask again if I dodged it.

There is still an ebb and flow to all of this that is much like the real-life dating world. (The same dating games can be played online, but from the comfort of your own home.)

READ: 'I'm a prince! And 6 other online dating red flags

When people visit your profile, some sites (like OkCupid) notify you. It’s kind of like being told which girls at the bar have looked at you. No, you can’t tell if they liked you so much, but at least they noticed you.

Yes, there is still an endless stream of questions to fill out that cover every aspect of your life. But I realized that what these questions were doing was saving me time. Is there nothing worse than meeting someone, hitting it off and finding out weeks later that she has a problem with the fact that you're Jewish? Or that you never want kids? The advantage of getting this stuff out of the way without awkward conversation started to really appeal to me. The subjects you normally avoid on the first few dates can be weeded out before you even meet.

AskMen: Online dating for guys: The ultimate guide

Between texting, social networking and all this online dating stuff, it's obvious that the game has changed. And like with anything else, you need to adapt. If you're choosing to bow out of that game just because you may get made fun of by your friends, you're making the wrong choice.  

That game is being played whether you show up or not. It's the new normal for many. Don’t get stuck on the sidelines.

MORE from AskMen: The worst cities for online dating 

truTV: This is precisely how you're ruining your love life

The Gloss: Proof that online dating is for winners 

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