Single Black Woman: Navigating the World of Online Dating

Dating in the virtual age has become a more acceptable means of meeting new people. In a world of c...

African American Woman Dating Online
Dating in the virtual age has become a more acceptable means of meeting new people. In a world of constant electronic use, especially in public spaces, approaching strangers to strike up conversation has become increasingly more difficult and off-putting, to say the least. As a result, strategies used to date and meet new people have also aligned with current technologic trends.

Actress Essene Atkins, who starred on notable sitcoms such as “Smart Guy”, “Half and Half”, and “Are We There Yet?” met her husband, Jaime Mendez, using the online dating service Match.com in 2008. The couple married after two years and has one son together.

In speaking to ESSENCE.COM about the perks of online dating, Atkins said, “What online dating did was offer me the opportunity to go out with a bunch of different people from different industries. I felt like going through the online system, it gave me permission to go out with someone once or twice and say, "You know it was really nice meeting you but I don’t feel any romantic chemistry," and everyone just kind of accepts that as ‘OK, thank you’.”

Outside of traditional dating websites, you can meet people on various social media platforms, most notably Facebook and Twitter. From my observations, meeting potential significant others on the multi-purposeful Twitter has not reaped many positive, long-lasting benefits. From Evelyn Lozada and Chad Ochocinco’s now defunct marriage to K. Michelle’s brief and semi-public relationship with New York Knicks Guard JR Smith, Twitter appears to simply be an effective tool for celebrities, and regular folk alike, to instantly connect with one another.

A free dating site that I was directed to use, OkCupid is a user-friendly website that matches, based on a series of pseudo-random questions. You receive percentages for the categories of Match, Friend and Enemy for each profile that you view; the more questions you answer, the more accurate of a “match” the site can provide for you.

After returning home from college this past fall, I found myself lacking the huge social network that I had acquired at school. I went from living in a people-friendly college town, abounding with young, professionals and academics ready to socialize with strangers to relocating back to a big city, full of people from different walks of life; I felt like a small fish in big pond. Lucky for me, I had several childhood friends return home with me, but we all found our newfound social networks to be lacking. Simply put, it wasn’t nearly as easy to meet new people as we thought.

This reality prompted me to agree to my first online date. Once I got over the nervousness that accompanies first date jitters, and fears that I would be cat-fished, I went on my first online date. The match, generated from a decent match rating courtesy on OkCupid, did not materialize into anything more than one date, there were no hard feelings and it did more for my self-esteem that I imagined.

Dating online can be a scary thing. The person you are communicating with could use a fake persona to grab your attention. A tip: use all of your resources and do what feels comfortable to you. I am an ambassador to using Skype, FaceTime, and the open profiles that exist within social media sites that allow for us to dig a little deeper to fill in the blanks. But remember that opening yourself up to someone new can be a worthwhile experience. I definitely felt a boost of confidence going on that one date. Whether you prefer dating in person or online, being open to these dating experiences is really all that matters.


Related:

What's So Wrong About Checking the "Single" Box?
On Being Black, Beautiful, Successful….and Single
Black, Woman and Single: In Defense of My Sexuality


Precious J. is a 20-something, aspiring culture writer and music enthusiast located in DC. For more on her contemplations about blackness, culture and music, email her at: Precious@ForHarriet.com

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