There are plenty of fish, but do I want one?

I don’t know what it is about autumn, but this is the time of year I start thinking about dating.

I tend to be single for the summer months, but September usually feels like time to get back in the game. Having been happy to avoid the hassle of making time for anyone extra lately, I want to go out! I want to go new places and get to know someone new. I do like those initial stages of seeing someone, where it’s mostly good stuff and they don’t irritate you yet; however, I would quite like to try a relationship now. Whatever the end goal, it still means dating for the moment.

As I work in an office full of women and have a close group of friends, I don’t really make the effort to meet new people anymore, so online dating seemed like the simple solution. Long-time readers will know I already tried Match, back in Scotland, which failed miserably because I was basically in love with a colleague. When I moved to London, I got Tinder, because almost all of the single people are on it. I met a couple of interesting people, but it’s not really for me, and, more often than not, not for relationships. So now it’s time to try Plenty of Fish.

The good thing about it is that you can tell right away who ‘wants a relationship’ or ‘wants to date but nothing serious’. (Well, you can tell right away what they’re pretending to look for, at least.) All these extra filters are helpful in narrowing down the numbers. Of course, it makes it feel a bit like shopping, which makes people disposable and is one of the sadder aspects of online dating, but let’s ignore that for a minute…

There is a feature on Plenty of Fish called Meet Me, which is essentially Tinder, only better: every time someone swipes right, it lets you know. This is actually quite annoying until you can turn off your notifications, which isn’t me being arrogant, it’s just that London is pretty big pool of fish. Not going to lie, though, it’s a good ego boost to have 900 people want to ‘meet’ you in three days… (I’m sure my friend had double those stats, but still!)

It also provokes far more chat, perhaps because users can contact you without you having to swipe right first. I was always a bit fussy for Tinder. It wasn’t just being superficial: if someone wrote nothing about themselves, then it was always a ‘no’. So I’m getting more messages, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. This is now my fourth day on POF (makes me laugh) and I’ve had exactly four messages that I enjoyed: one going for ‘Scottish people are amazing’ flattery, one being adorable instead of dull or full-on, one for all the wrong reasons, and one that was actually interesting.

I don’t mean to be mean, as it’s not like I’m having the guts to approach someone (albeit virtually). However, I’ve never had so many enquiries into my well-being. If you’re stuck for what to say, sure, go for a standard ‘Hi, how are you?’ (Of course, if you read my profile and can’t find anything to ask me about, I’m not sure we’re going to be a good match.) On POF, though, there is a lot of ‘Hey, you okay?’ In this case, I’m not being judgemental – not even about the grammar – it just baffles me. It’s something I’d say if I came across someone crying or looking lost or… who had fallen down or something. Every time I see it, I just feel like saying, ‘Er… yes. Do I not look OK?’

In the end, increased numbers of people don’t necessarily increase your chances of finding someone you might like. Even a couple of the nicer messages I never ended up replying to, because the renewed enthusiasm for dating that encouraged me to join POF has not sustained itself through the week. I see these messages full of small talk, and feel so rude for not replying, but I just have no desire to.

Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but do I really want one? Well, if a sweet, interesting (Swedish?) man were to show up on the doorstep tomorrow, I’d hardly complain. I’m just not sure I can be bothered going fishing. Perhaps in October…?

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6 thoughts on “There are plenty of fish, but do I want one?

  1. I can totally relate to this – I have a habit of signing up to online dating sites in a fit of enthusiasm and then just as quickly losing interest. And I rarely reply to any messages that just say ‘Hi, how are you?’ because I’d rather know they’ve at least read my profile.

    You also reminded me of the time my friend and I both joined POF a couple of years ago, and got exactly the same message from the same guy (I seem to recall it was something like ‘Luuuuussssssshhhhhhh’…). Funnily enough, neither of us replied to him!

    • ‘Hi, how are you?’ always implies to me, ‘I’m sending this to every single person online right now in the hope that someone will reply.’

      My friend and I have had a few of those moments already. I was laughing so much at a username and she was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen him!’ And when you realise there are people who send the same introductory message to everyone – even if it’s a bit more interesting than ‘Hi, how are you?’ it shows they’re only talking about themselves instead of trying to start a conversation.

  2. There is something about the end of summer that makes people start thinking about relationships. I’m the same way. I blame the cooler weather and the holidays. I don’t want to scare you but I’ve tried Plenty of Fish before and I hated it. Maybe it’ll be different where you’re from but for me, the men were all creeps and not looking for anything serious. Have you tried OK Cupid? I found that to be the best of all the free online dating sites.

    • I have now been on it a week and there’s been no one very weird, but I’m not sure I’m in the right frame of mind for it after all. After a few days I just found it a bit boring! Maybe I’ll keep my fingers crossed there’s a nice guy in the Italian class I’m starting next week!

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