Shhh... I'm doing a little dating experiment: I'm exploring these top 10 dating sites or so-called 'hookup sites' with real profiles (and, yes, my real and recent pictures), paid memberships, honest profile information, in-person dates -- the whole shebang. My success of each site is still TBD, but so far, and in true 27/F/Single, Sex and the City fashion, I've found 'I can't help but wonder,' why modern-day online dating sites still lack some very basic features.
Personally, I wish all dating sites would add...
1. The ability to block my profile from from my ex (by their email address).
No, but thanks, I don't really want my ex of five years/lost love of my life finding me swimming around Plenty of Fish with a bold, scarlet lettering -- subtext of 'SINGLE' seemingly tattooed only three centimeters right of my head shot.
2. The ability to block users by university attended.
You went to my rival school and on more than one occasion I've drunken shouted a parody version of your college theme song that tears apart your school mascot; no we can't be friends.
3. Elimination of 'The first things people usually notice about me..." question.
I'm sure there's some hefty scientific research behind this, but numbers don't trump common sense and, honestly, neither as the writer or reader do I find this section to be anything more than a complete waste.
4. A filter to block all half-naked selfie pictures of men.
Seeing multiple pictures of muscles glistening against your iPhone flash, all greased up, and flexing offends me -- not to mention scars my eyes -- far more than having the word 'shit' squeezed between two other words in your profile.
5. Some type of cleverness profile search.
Maybe it's just a writer way-with-words mindset, but sense of humor is a girl's best friend and I'm sick of looking through days -- literally -- of profiles to try to find one with an ounce of wit or charm.
6. Digital verification of male height.
Cough, cough... augmented reality ... everyone is wearing 'wearable' tech now...
7. A 'Viewed Profile' check-box.
Or, even better, please automatically alert me that I've already viewed, resisted, and dismissed User #K72635's profile. A new main picture doesn't change my opinion of him and the fact I had to scroll to his 15th picture to remember why only irritates me
8. A character minimum that requires initial messages contain more than four characters.
'Hey.' intrigues me just about as much as week-old deli meat at breakfast. I'd appreciate if you took the time to complete a full sentence -- which I realize, yes, might require a full thought -- before contacting me.
9. Free anonymous browsing.
Once you get a stream of messages from the same guy who isn't taking your silence as a sign of non-interest, you'll understand why.
10. An automatic block of the words 'I don't really' from the Interest sections of profiles.
The question above the text box is not asking you to fill in if you watch TV, it's asking you to fill in which shows you do watch. (And apparently some phenomenon has happened in which everyone and their mother 'doesn't really watch much TV...' these days.)
11. Smarter location filtering.
If I mark my location as New York, there ought to be a check box to filter out certain boroughs... And Long Island as a whole.
12. They're needs to be a grammer filter.
'Do you know the difference between their, there, and they're?' is a sad but much needed question that anyone who has completed grade school should be able to answer correctly. Or at least Google to find the answer to...
13. A search category for musicians.
The reasoning here is elementary my dear... (Catch that rhyme?)
14. A profile to message copy & paste.
What do you do? Where you live? Where do you go out?... Since nine times out of ten I'm initially contacted based on my picture, these three questions are the online equivalent of the first five minutes spent in person making small talk. And my answers are just so much fun to re-type, word for word, over, and over, and over...
15. A 30-second time-enforced minimum of viewing my profile you must fulfill before contacting me.
Yes, hear me loud and clear: I'm suggesting a forced anti-spam feature. Shocking, I know.
16. A un-track-me option that has the ability to make certain message threads private, from the parent dating site that is.
No, I do not need Chemistry.com technical and research teams reading and analyzing every message I send, thank you very much.
17. A post-date comments section
An area assigned to each profile that is visible only to those of your desired sexual preference. It's more important to me a potential date has high reviews than quality of the tuna fish sandwich at the diner down the street. Pleasantries like bad breath, horrible manners, and unsightly cold sores I'd prefer to know about before wasting my time.
18. A drop down section under interests with suggested questions I can send as messages without the profile page.
Under favorite cuisines, let me choose from 'Have you ever tried ___?" "What's your favorite dish to make?" "Have you been to ____ restaurant yet?" Because realizing that just about every line in my profile is a conversation starter is so, so difficult.
19. Custom avatars.
Or please make at least one profile picture a requirement. Yes, I know users can lie with avatars, but they 'lie' with decade old pictures too. And yes, I am sensitive to the privacy issues at hand. Regardless of your must-hide-my-face-behind-the-digital-curtain excuse may be, I'm not going to meet up with you if I have no idea how to spot you in a crowded bar. Standing and eye-googling around a packed meet up spot awkwardly with a deer in headlights look, isn't exactly my idea of the perfect first date.
And as for which site works the best? Stay tuned...