There are 54 million singles in the U.S. and 5.5 million of them are using dating services.
According to the 2010, large-scale survey, How Couples Meet and Stay Together, the Internet has become one of the most popular places to meet, beating out bars, work, church, school and parties.

I am one of those online daters.

I have joined Match.com. For under $40 a month, anonymity, and the comfort of my own home, I can evaluate potential future dates without ever getting dressed up or going out.

From their pictures and written profiles, I can scrutinize their hairlines, smiles, height, eye color, weight and physique. I can find out how much they earn, what god they pray to, and what they’re looking for in a woman.

I joined Match.com about a year ago. It’s the number one, online dating site. So far, I have not found love, but I have had good and amusing experiences, great dinners, and smart conversations.

Do people lie in their online profiles?

As in the face-to-face world, some online-daters will fudge the truth about themselves in their profiles. In another study, two communications, University of Wisconsin-Madison professors found that 80 percent of 78 profiles they sampled from matchmaking sites, strayed from the truth.

According to their research, women online-daters, lied about their weight by trimming off an average of 8.5 pounds from their true weight. Half fudged their height and one in five lied about their age.

I’ve been misled too

I was attracted to a picture of a youngish 40-something man with blondish, brown hair, who claimed to be 5 foot 10 inches tall. We swapped emails a few time, talked on the phone and decided to meet.

When I tried spotting him at the restaurant agreed on, I couldn’t find him. Until I saw a grey-haired stranger waving me over. His hair was not the blondish brown I had seen in the picture. This guy was also slightly shorter than stated on his profile. We shared polite conversation, a drink and an appetizer before parting ways. Needless to say, I had no interest in seeing him again.

Why it’s in your best interest to depict yourself truthfully

My plea to these truth-benders; please show pictures of your current selves. Don’t post pictures of your best day ever in swim trunks from 10 years ago. You’re only setting yourself up for failure. Don’t waste my time, and your money in hopes that when we meet, I won’t mind you’re not who you said you were.

For those of you considering joining an online dating service, know this as well. Women spend 50 percent more time than men reading online dating profiles while men spend 65 percent more time reviewing the photos associated with the profiles. That’s according to a partnership study conducted by Tobbi, which specializes in eye tracking and eye control technology and the user experience research firm, AnswerLab. Their research showed that women spent an average of 84 seconds evaluating a profile, while men spent an average of 58 seconds.

I set my own standards

I can attest to that. In my profile, I tell the reader that I will not respond to a “wink” message, simply, because I’m not sure how to interpret this type of cyber-gesture. True to the Tobbi research, the boys must only be looking at my pictures and not doing much reading, because I still get lots of “winks”.

I’m enjoying the modern-day, dating scene of Match.com but I am also aware that this cyber-form of meeting people is just that, a way to connect. To really get to know the person, you have to use the old-fashion way of meeting, face-to-face, and developing a relationship.

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