Online dating for beginners

Apr 192012
Authors: Erin Eastburn

Dating. What comes to mind? Now that I’m living in New York, a date is a rare, wait… correction, extinct activity.

Dating is something every girl thinks about. Some girls avoid it, others are good at it and then there are girls like me, awkward and the thought of it alone brings tears to our eyes. Okay, maybe I’m not that pathetic, but I’m pretty horrible at it.

Luckily, throughout college I was able to discover my weaknesses: choosing the wrong type of guy, moving too fast and taking too long to end things. What can I say: I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings.

Living in New York, I have been distracted for the past three months with my full-time internship, a part-time job and discovering the city.

But now my full-time commitment is no longer taking up the 40 hours a week I need to meet new friends and date.

Knowing I would have nothing going on, I convinced my best friend Sarah to visit me this past weekend. Drinking in honor of her arrival, we sat at an outside restaurant in the East Village. Over a pitcher of sangria, we people-watched and discussed how to boost my friend count here in New York. But Sarah knew the solution to my problem –– online dating.

I was skeptical at first, but in New York I can’t trust my old habit of meeting men at bars –– that never worked too well for me in the first place. So my new strategy is meeting potential dates from a distance.

After an hour of perfecting my free profile trial on, my account started to show potential. I was shocked at my excitement and the attention I was getting from my male suitors.

Personally, I never thought I would be caught dead on a dating website. But I need friends to do things with –– might as well kill two birds with one stone: meet desperate guys and explore the city more.

As Sarah and I started browsing the men in my area, we hit a very unavoidable concrete wall –– a wall that needed a payment before proceeding. This was what I was scared of: the online dating toll.

I looked at Sarah in horror as she asked for my debit card. Pure panic hit me. I am paying money to meet men. This is a new low in my life.

She typed in my account information, transferring my hard-earned Victoria’s Secret paycheck toward a new boyfriend.

As the toll was processed, I was officially part of the online dating community; there was no turning back now. Taking the last steps to profile completion, I decided to also post a date idea. I committed myself to a restaurant that served Venezuelan food in the East Village.

My shock and excitement continued as messages continued to flow into my dating inbox. Then I started to realize all the advantages girls have by joining online dating sites.

The key advantage was countless free dinners. I barely have enough money to support my shopping addiction. Now after signing up with, I don’t have to worry about buying food.

The second advantage is the buddy system. Even if I’m not physically attracted to a date, it can still be better than doing something alone –– like going to a movie.

Third, you could be a success story. I don’t know about you, but one of my professional and personal goals is to be on an online dating commercial. The commercial might be wishful thinking, but finding a boyfriend could actually happen.

Lastly, it’s a huge confidence booster. Who doesn’t want to be asked out by countless men?

For my first date, I decided to make it easy on myself and choose someone that used to live in Colorado. Luck being on my side, this same male has tickets to the Rodrigo y Gabriela concert. The free ticket has already paid off the cost of signing up for the online service.

Erin Eastburn is a senior apparel and merchandising major who is currently working at Victoria’s Secret and living in New York City.

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