The downside of online dating

You can only remove so much of the chase from the process, they explained. There was the “artist” I met in a desolate part of Bushwick (this was pre-), who looked more like a meth-addict “after” photo than the handsome guy in the pictures he had posted. One night, I was checking my Nerve e-mail and came across a short message from a chef named Rob. One of my best friends dated a famous chef who cheated on her and broke her heart.

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After a few dates, Rob and I mutually agreed to shut down our profiles.

Five years later, I shudder to think I came this Kerry Diamond co-owns Seersucker and Nightingale 9 restaurants in Brooklyn with her boyfriend Robert Newton.

(I was hoping the “la” made me sound continental.) Coworkers said no one would look at my profile. My final go-round I decided to kick the gimmicks and identify myself as girl_5. I like Martha’s: “I’ve been curious about online dating for a long time, but, like lots of people, have been reluctant to take the leap.” It shows vulnerability. “[I’m looking for] someone who’s intelligent, established, and curious; and who relishes adventure and new experiences as much as I do.” There are millions of smart men who will claim to be all those things, but that won’t help if you’re looking for The One.3. There’s a lot of muck to dredge through when it comes to solicitous e-mails. But I’m on a comeback — believe it.” Or, “I find girls that do not shave their armpits attractive. If I had, I could have spent those two hours I wasted with a much-too-old crime reporter from New Jersey who had just asked for a divorce from his Irish lesbian wife who needed a green card, I don’t know, baking banana bread.4. Monty, as I’ve come to call him, looked in his Match photos like an all-American golden boy.

It was all I could muster after nearly a decade doing this. A few I received: “I am socially awkward, overweight and a bit of a contrarian . Is that something you do or would be willing to do from time to time if we hit it off? Well, not armpit guy, but definitely some of the others. His e-mails were flirtatious without being creepy and his Facebook profile—he friended me early on—revealed picturesque vistas from a recent trip to Patagonia with his dad (who looked like Paul Newman). He didn’t text, he didn’t e-mail, he called—an utter rarity in the modern dating world.

What were my non-negotiables and what truly mattered in a mate?

For me, relationships always began with mutual attraction.

The slightly shameful stigma attached to meeting a man on the Internet may be gone, but does online dating work?

In an age when even Martha Stewart has admitted to creating a profile, Kerry Diamond and Emily Holt share their own real-life and online experiences—and sound off on the digital dating divide.

She also is the editorial director of Cherry Bombe, a new magazine about women and food that launched this month.

476 Comments

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  3. As in: "You are a very pretty lady." "I think you are very attractive." "You look very pretty."I've been approached by more than six hundred men, and that's one of the big themes I've discovered in their method: Cut to the chase. No one can believe quite how beautiful my nanny is. I'd be her online bouncer, bodyguard, censor, and Cyrano. (And mind you, I did type in the essay and clean up her grammar.) Esquire Editor-at-Large A. Jacobs is the author of A Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. Michelle has given me permission to reject the guys who are clearly wrong. I zap him back, "Sorry guvnor, no plans to come over there." I liked my response. The cute scientist with the Prince Charles ears, the guy from Long Island with eight siblings. I spend an hour crafting personal rejection notes to yesterday's discard pile. ("Chemestry is important.") I don't want to be a spelling snob, but the first word? Then he concludes: "..you'd like to continue the fantasy by telling me how you'd react..."Okay. Though a little bit like a douchebag in my own right. J." and begs her to "come out an play." I don't respond. In a last-minute panic attack out of Three's Company, I call Michelle to tell her she went to a Super Bowl party. He's very sweet." I feel giddy enough to do an actual fist pump.

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