Never before have our libidos been so front and center. It seems everyone is looking for love.Ask your teenagers what the term hook up means. They'll say something like, "you know, meeting up" and then quickly leave the room. It appears to mean anything from hanging out to kissing to sex. The point is, people want to do it, and they want to do it online.
Walnut Creek's Dina Castro has been using online dating sites since her divorce 10 years ago. "I'm not sure what else to do. I don't go to church and I don't hang out in bars. All my best friends are married." Not surprisingly, she's come to the conclusion that most prospective beaus don't read her profile, they just look at her pictures. "I've had married people contact me for threesomes.”
Castro, who is in her early 50s, favors Match.com. "Most people my age are on Match. It's easy to navigate. There's not as much spam or fake profiles." But there is misrepresentation. "They lie about their age and weight." Most claim to be looking for serious relationships, but Castro hasn't found that to be the case. "They just want instant hook-ups." However, Castro has been in serious relationships with men she's met online. One was the love of her life, she says. "Ultimately it didn't work out. We weren't in the right place at the right time. But I still consider it a success.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Orinda's Michael Nguyen, 25, admits he's one of those guys who bases his degree of interest on a woman's photo. "So even if she's a Nobel Prize winner who rescues puppies and has a great personality, if she's not attractive to me, I won't message her back." It works both ways, he says. He's careful with the wording on his profile — because women read them. "For a while I thought about straight-up lying. But what's the point? When we meet, it'll unravel. So I try to focus on things I like. I'm a food tourist, I like new bars and happy hours. I say I'm looking for a workout partner, it's an offhand way of saying I go to the gym and am in good shape. So that's two things, I'm cultured and work out."
Nguyen's site of choice is OKCupid.com. He's been dating online since college and has had a few long-term relationships. But he's also been rejected. Women have the power online, Nguyen says, because men outnumber them. As a result, his standards for the perfect woman have diminished. "Every year, I drop another deal-breaker. The first was vegan. Then they can't be taller than me. But now, not so much." Nguyen admits he'd rather meet a woman at the gym or a party hosted by friends. "But living and working in the Bay Area, everyone is so busy. That's what makes online dating so appealing.