I’ve been trying to branch out a bit as far as dating sites are concerned. OkCupid is fine, but it’s getting less fun as they’ve been successful in killing off the journals, and there aren’t a lot of folks in Providence on it. My searches all end up sending me to Somerville and Cambridge, which are fine places and which don’t seem all that far until you start traveling there once or twice a week for dates. I feel like that would be fine for someone I’m seeing, but for just the getting-to-know-you stage it’s a bit much. Makes first and second dates logistically difficult, because I have to:
- Work out that I have an evening free.
- Contact one person to see if they’re available, because the last thing that one wants is to double book an evening (again).
- Wait for that person’s response, and:
- If they’re available, nail down scheduling
- If they’re not available, repeat steps 1-3 with someone else
It has proven easier not to deal with it, and just to contact friends if I’m going to be Bostonish of an evening. Although “easier than dating” is, in general, a low bar.
So. Dating sites. I have decided to try some, and while it’s probably too early to tell, I can at least give you my preliminary assessment. I try these things so that you don’t have to.
OkCupid is, of course, the premiere dating site for the geek/nerd continuum, and also for poly folks. Thus, it is the premiere squared site for geeky poly folks. Except that premiere is 1 and 1 squared is 1 and blah. Anyway. This is the place to start, and to put the most effort. You probably already know all about this place.
PlentyOfFish is both the world’s largest free dating site and the world’s most hideous, with site design that rivals old Angelfire pages. I’m convinced that it’s the “largest” primarily because they refuse to let you leave the site. You can’t delete your profile, nor can you prevent them from emailing you afterward. You can check out any time you blah blah eaglescakes. Don’t sign up for this site. It is terrible and it will stay with you forever. It is the internet equivalent of having your friends force you to watch John Waters’s Pink Flamingoes and then never being able to wash the terrible out of your brain.
xdating is PlentyOfFish but worse and with more fake profiles.
Fetlife isn’t a dating site per se, but is often used that way. It’s probably second only to OkCupid among the poly set, and could be worth signing up for. It’s worth noting that your profile on Fetlife is probably going to be way worse for your career prospects if an employer finds it than your profile anywhere else short of Adult FriendFinder. It’s also way NSFW in general. It’s also no use if you’re completely vanilla, but I honestly don’t believe such people exist.
Match.com, eHarmony, and basically all traditional, paid dating sites don’t allow for nonmonogamy at all.
Date Hookup is pretty bare-bones. It’s got an okay philosophy, but not much functionality. There’s little to sort users by except superficial characteristics. If you really care whether your potential date is a 25-year-old atheist latina, it may be a good choice, if any such people are on it.
PolyMatchMaker has such potential, but it’s lightly populated and locks much of its functionality behind a paywall. It’s okay. There was one other interesting person in all of Rhode Island on it, and we went out a few times. Worth trying for free.
CasualKiss does so many things right. It has a lot of features that I want OkCupid to incorporate. You can have both a sexuality and a “looking for”, solving OkC’s eternal problem of bisexuals who are nevertheless only looking for one sex right now getting swamped with inappropriate messages. It expands the possibilities into couples, as well. It allows you to search distances more granular than 25 miles. You can search by what type of relationship someone is looking for, like a fling, or just friendship. And it is completely empty. No one within 50 miles of me has been “online recently”.
So, I would say that if you’re poly/open, looking to date online, and don’t have any profiles yet, you should sign up for, in this order:
- OkCupid, and as a distant second:
- Fetlife, unless you’re one of the handful of truly vanilla people and then:
- PolyMatchMaker, and when you inevitably find no one there, go back to OkCupid for a while, then maybe
- CasualKiss for the novelty of it.