Online dating gets facelift with Datemyschool

I am fully aware that after ending an on-again off-again five and a half year long relationship, it is generally expected that I remain crying in the fetal position for at least half the amount of time we were together because Cosmopolitan magazine says it takes at least that long to get over a person. But this really wasn’t the case. There is a calm when you end something that feels reminiscent of a Jodi Picoult novel.

A lot of friends expected it to take a long time before I started dating. That is if I’d ever start back up at all and not live to be 97 with 12 cats and on an episode of “Hoarders.” Truthfully, I couldn’t wait to start dating again. I’ve always been a flirtatious person and one who loves meeting new people. The problem arose when I realized I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about dating in this microcosm of insanity we call New York City.

This city is a smorgasbord of relationship opportunities but it is also a notoriously brutal dating scene (if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be two films and six seasons of Sex and the City). As one friend put it recently, “It’s just hard because there are way too many options.” Whatever the case may be, I was all of a sudden thrown into the shark tank of dating experiences. Basically, I was a goner – or so I thought.

After a few dating rounds, I finally felt I had gotten my groove back. But one night out on the Upper East Side with my roommate and best friend, we began discussing the kind of guys that frequent the area – not my type by a long shot. I wouldn’t have even known how to converse with a Manhattanite , son of a cereal mogul, Upper East Side kind of guy.

We were talking quietly when she mentioned a dating site specifically for college students that two Columbia students had created. She said she had thought it sounded interesting but was apprehensive. My best friend wanted someone else to try it first to make sure they didn’t end up dead in the East River and then she’d try it herself. This was perfect – because I am just the type of “balls to wall” person who loves mini-social experiments. I was intrigued. The next morning, I did a little research. The site launched when a bunch of Columbia students began to complain about the lack of opportunity to meet the opposite sex, especially in their major. Nursing schools for example are notoriously female, business schools notoriously male etc. They also felt it was super difficult to meet people from other schools in the area. Thus, was born. The site requires a .edu email address (just like Facebook did before it opened up to every creeper on the Internet) and you can narrow down your preferences to undergrads, grads, or alumni. When you enter the age range you are interested in, you cannot see guys (or girls) outside of your age range and they cannot see you. It’s actually kind of brilliant. In many ways its similar to other social sites where you can have a status, a picture and a description of yourself, as well as a list of your favorite movies, TV shows, books, likes and dislikes and you can be as specific or as annoyingly vague as you want. There’s also an option to list yourself as looking for fun, friendship, short-term dating, long-term dating, cuddling or networking or any combination of the six.

I was sold. I don’t know what that says about the world we live in that an well-traveled, well-spoken 20-year-old college-educated female “resulted to a dating site” but truthfully, I don’t care. I thought the concept was so fabulous that I knew I had to see what the hype was about. The site has appeared on NBC, ABC, in the New York Times and reviews for the site by current and past users are overwhelmingly positive.

So I made my profile. I threw up one of the most recent solo pictures of myself from my trip to Rome this past August, and wrote out a quirky profile that I read and reread maybe ten times just to make sure I didn’t sound completely lame “Hi! I’m Sarah, I’m 20 and a Communications Major” Blah Blah Blah. When it was finally perfectly ‘me’ and exactly what I wanted to say and how, I saved it. Let the games begin.

I sat on the site for a little while and sure enough one by one I started getting Instant Messages. “Hey, you have a beautiful smile!” “Hey.. Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies too!” “You’re a Biggie Smalls fan? That’s awesome!” “You want to be a writer? What kind of stuff do you do?” It was really fun to talk to all these guys who went to Fordham, Columbia, NYU Poly, Hunter and they were all surprisingly normal! Sure, you get the occasional “You’re super hot” but I chalked it up to those guys having little to no positive social interaction with females in high school and therefore didn’t know that wasn’t acceptable and so I laughed at it later and made friends with the ‘Block’ button.

The site shows you who looked at your profile so you can kind of gage what kind of people are interested in you. The site also has an algorithm that matches you based on the type of information you put on your profile so really, the more specific you are the more likely you are to find someone with common interests.

The most fabulous thing about this site is you cannot see people who are not the gender you’re interested in! I cannot see any females on the site and therefore don’t compare myself to other girls, their interests, their pictures, or their tone in their “about me” section. This forced me to be 100 percent myself. I don’t concern myself with what other girls are doing, or what kind of person they are and this is awesome because it shouldn’t even matter. At first, it was strange looking at a bunch of pictures of college dudes. It felt a little like a real-life game of “Dream Phone” but you get used to it. And it’s actually super entertaining.

Now, here’s the kicker: Pay attention ladies. These guys are cute! Not all of them, but a really, really solid majority. I’d say the average guy on the site is a seven, but there are plenty of nines. And even the guys who I personally wouldn’t consider handsome are not total schleps. And for the guys, I won’t say how attractive I think I am because obviously I’m biased but of the friends who are considering joining, they’re all beautiful, fun, smart and have great heads on their shoulders, so there you go.

My friends thinks it’s hilariously ridiculous that I have a profile, but one by one I can already see them giving into the temptation of the site. Jokes on them! We refer to the guys I hit it off with mostly by key points of our conversation. So I spoke to “Dunkaroo guy” for a bit until he turned out to be kind of a dud and then there was “Baseball guy.” Now, I’m casually talking to a guy who has a plethora of similar interests, grew up five minutes from me and we share a mutual friend. Small world!

I really encourage all New York City college students to at least give a try. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised. And please email me and let me know how it goes!