I never had much success with online dating, but it’s an area I have considered revisiting. I remember a year ago, I was having a dinner with an old buddy of mine from college, and we were discussing our lives and such. I asked her if she was seeing anybody, and she got that look in her eye that my spider-girly sense automatically picked up.

She kind of looked around and came closer, saying in a shy whisper, “We met on OkCupid.” In my head, I was like, “That’s cool.” But not everyone is like me, and the whole concept of online dating is, in my opinion, still a taboo subject.

Just a few weeks ago, I was at an art gallery opening when I asked this couple how they knew each other. “Match.com,” they said in unison. There was no low whisper or looking around, but they did give a slight chuckle.

I think the biggest stigma with online dating is this idea that you never really know exactly whom you’re talking to. Yes, there’s a profile and a picture, but it could also be all lies. Though anonymity can be scary, it can also provide a huge shield against awkwardness. You’re free to be yourself and actually focus on the depth of conversation versus mere appearance. Don’t get me wrong, appearance is important. This may be different for other people but I always take a quick peek at their picture to see whom I’m talking to. Call it shallow or mere human nature, it’s the same thing we do in reality when we first meet a person, right? (If not, more power to you.)

The reason why I’m considering taking this route towards dating is mere convenience. I’m a very involved person, whether it’s working my day job or being busy in the other activities, there’s just no time to meet anyone. In college, this was the key to meeting people: You joined a fraternity or sorority, maybe a community service organization here or there. All these different communities and events allowed you to be with people who were all going to the same college, around the same age range and with the same interest. Think about high school where we were all placed together, roaming the same halls and taking the same tests. It was easier to meet people because we were all stuck together and wanted to get to know each other (ideally).

Outside of college, you’re relegated to meeting people by being introduced to a friend of a friend, or the always weary bar encounter. When you live on your own, it’s a completely different story. Friends and family live miles away, and going to a bar by yourself just seems awkward. Take it one step further, and you find there’s not even someone who is slightly your age range at work – story of my life.

That’s where the wonderful world of social media and online dating come in. We no longer have to rely on serendipity to find our match, we can be pro-active, take control of our own destinies and maybe have to pay $59.99. The convenience of it is so far-reaching that you can even input the different search criteria of the people you want to meet: age range, religious beliefs, height, build, likes, dislikes. Put all these into the computer and out pop all of your potentials. It seems like something right out of a sci-fi movie.

It’s like building your perfect mate, but of course, the system still has a way to go. After this initial “meeting phase” at looking at someone’s profile, the real communication begins in the form of instant messages, emails or phone conversations. The social pressure of meeting face-to-face is immediately diminished, and you are free to disclose whatever you feel like, control what you have to say and already know the band and author this person likes. If you’ve never tried online dating it’s a very interesting social experiment. I know I still have the social stigma of meeting someone online, it makes me feel like a failure that I can’t meet anyone the “normal way.” But maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Judging from my encounters, maybe online dating is the new “normal way.”