Try this at home

Joey Garcia

Dear Readers:

Over the years, many of you have asked for advice to determine which Internet dating service is the best. The weeks prior to Valentine’s Day are among the busiest for these companies as unattached singles search for love. If you’re in the mood to try online dating, take advantage of the following reviews of a smattering of popular Web sites.

Plenty of Fish

Post a photo on this free dating site, and you will haul in more e-mails than you imagined possible. Twenty- and 30-somethings will meet people who embrace cool counterculture philosophies and off-the-grid lifestyles. But the older set tends toward people who haven’t seen a dentist in a while, who bet the ponies at Cal Expo often enough to need a 12-step intervention, who work irregularly and who haven’t met a word they couldn’t misspell at least three different ways in the same e-mail. Did I mention it’s a free site? Go fish!

The powerhouse of online dating, invites you to specify details of an ideal partner using a list that appears to be the love child of the U.S. Census and those psychologists who design questionnaires for Cosmopolitan magazine. The result is heavy on superficial similarities, making the site a breeding ground for infatuation-based connections. After a couple of first dates, it’s clear that is the online version of Harlow’s nightclub: a shelter for the newly separated, recently divorced and other walking wounded. On dates, most divorced men still pepper every conversation with references to their ex-wife (“Trisha and I … ”) and manage to drop their alma mater into every conversation (“When I swam at Cal … ”), even if graduation was 30 years ago. Women malign their ex-husbands (“Bobby’s a cheating bastard!”) and complain about child support. Most of them need counseling, not a date. The good news is there are a lot of people on, so you are certain to meet someone special.

This is in a lab coat. After taking a psychological test, you are linked to personality types that sync with yours. When you chat for the first time, the connection will be obvious. But attracts men and women who pay to have waste-of-time connections screened out. These online daters are very busy, accomplished people who don’t actually have much time for dating (think George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air) but like the idea of it. If you can squeeze yourself into their schedule and parameters, you might find a wonderful partner.


A popular site for born-again Christians, eHarmony’s claims of a scientific method have been revealed as false, especially for their gay and lesbian clients. You can expect to have little in common with the majority of the profiles forwarded to you, making the one or two diamonds (sometimes, in the rough) seem like rare gems indeed.


You know those TV shows where a hooker asks a guy if he wants a date? The people on Craigslist speak the same language. A “date” on Craigslist means “let’s get it on,” and though money or gifts are sometimes exchanged for sexual favors, mostly it’s free.

Yahoo Personals

Does everyone look strangely familiar? Those aren’t doppelgangers on the Yahoo site. Actually, most of the people with accounts on are also on the subscription-based Yahoo site. Yahoo is actually one of most popular dating Web sites, consistently scoring more hits than eHarmony or

Meditation of the week
“You come to love not by finding the perfect person but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly,” says Sam Keen, philosopher and author. Are you ready to love that widely?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.