Hair done in the perfect wave, check. Shoes no taller than two inches because he’s six foot, check. Makeup done, but not too overdone, check.
“Alright girlie,” Ashley said to herself as she got into her car. “Time to wow this nice guy from nowhere.”
The night had just begun for Ashley Randazzo, a senior English and communication major. As she pulled into the mall entrance near the movies, she looked around nervously.
This wasn’t her first date, but it wasn’t a typical date either. She was about to meet face to face with Tom, a guy she recently met through an online dating site.
26 percent of American adults, 53 million people, say they know someone who has gone on a date with a person they have met through a dating site, according to a report conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
“I was really nervous as I pulled into the parking lot. Actually, I was terrified,” Randazzo said.
Ashley chose the perfect spot, a nice well-lit parking lot with tons of people to hear her scream if something went terribly wrong on this date.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 43 percent of people who used online dating services thought that the activity involved risk.
“If it comes time to actually meet someone, I always meet them in a place that I know has a lot of people, or is very public,” Randazzo said.
As she got out of her car, she saw him. Nice leather jacket, jeans with no holes in them, good hair and a deep pink rose with yellow edges in hand.
“I was hoping that was him,” Randazzo said.
“Hi, you’re Ashley from Matchlink right?” the man said. Ashley gave a quick smile and knew it was going to be a good night.
Of the 16 million people who have used online dating sites, 52 percent said they had mostly positive experiences, according to the Pew Internet and American Life project.
After seeing a movie and exchanging conversation over coffee, plans were made for the next date.
“We went out on a few more dates, but in the end, we each met other people in the meantime. We are still friends to this day though and have hung out since,” Randazzo said.
Typical places to meet people, such as a bar, aren’t for Randazzo.
“It’s pure pressure,” she said. “I don’t feel as shy or insecure [online] as I would at a bar.”
Although online dating may not seem prevalent, many people use it as a means of finding a potential mate.
Online Dating Magazine estimates that more than 20 million people visit at least one online dating service a month.
Randazzo continues to use online dating as a means of meeting new people in the search for companionship.
“I think it’s awesome meeting someone you wouldn’t normally meet out somewhere. Of course the personalization isn’t there because you can’t hear the voice of the person right away, but in time it does get more personal as you feel more comfortable with the person,” Randazzo said.