Online Dating

If you’re single and sick of the bar scene, can’t take another fix-up, or just haven’t met anyone interesting, maybe it’s time to give online dating a shot.

Many North Shore singles swear it’s the fast track to romance.

“It’s the best way to meet people,” says 44-year-old Frannie, a divorced mom from Northbrook. “In your 20s, attraction is all about looks. As you get older, a person’s interests, values and morals become more important.”

With dating sites like match.com, eHarmony.com, and jdate.com, the traditional courtship process gets turned upside down. Much of the basic getting-to-know-you stuff happens before you meet in-person. But that initial meeting is still crucial. Most people can tell right away if they’re attracted to one another or not.

Frannie met Pete on Match. They bantered via email and had long, playful talks on the phone. By the time they met for dinner, they already had a great connection that blossomed in person.

“Pete was very self assured and sexy,” Frannie says. “That dinner lasted three and a half hours. I knew right away, this is the guy for me.”

Grace grew up in Evanston and was still single at 44. She signed up for Jdate and Match to find someone like her—a liberal intellectual who likes foreign films and listens to NPR.

Instead she found Joe, a motorcycle-racing, blue-collar bred man who wrote clever emails. By the time they finished their first dinner together, Grace was smitten and Joe’s mind was made up. They’ve been inseparable for six months.

One of the most attractive qualities online is humor. “Make your profile funny! It gives people something to relate to,” says Faith, 40, who posted a picture of herself in a Batgirl costume and was inundated with responses from guys. Luckily, Jim—a nerdy but adorable physics professor—was one of them. Three years later, they’re married and have just had their second child.

“Jim and I thank God we did Match,” she says. “He is perfect for me!”

All of these women kissed a few toads before finding their prince—like the “Spitter” who sprayed Frannie with saliva when he talked, and Grace’s unfortunate coffee date who had an icky skin condition.

The risk of having to deal with liars or losers can make online dating a turnoff for some. And managing the process takes work.

“It’s a huge time suck,” says Monique, 56, of Evanston. “There’s just too much chance involved and now I’d rather meet someone through a friend.”

Monique was very cautious about meeting men online—she did background checks on anyone she considered meeting in-person. And though she didn’t meet anyone fabulous, she still considers the experience “tons of fun.”