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Match.com worked a treat for me. First of all I didn't know if I wanted to join a dating agency, because, let's face it - it's not exactly ideal, there's stories about people going on dates and not returning, what do you tell people when they ask how you met? To see what there was I looked at the people on match - you can search and look without having to subscribe. I liked what I saw! I was a little put off when I recognised a bloke that I used to work with who was, bless him, a complete geek, yet his profile looked quite good - I wondered what all the others were hiding.
I began to do my profile as you don't need to join to do that either. It took a while - you're unsure what to put at the beginning but after looking at other's I realised that I essentially had to be myself but also it is a marketplace - in reality, nobody's going to email me if I put a photo of me with chickenpox or I put I like Spain and nothing else - you've got to sell yourself. Once I got over myself and the fact that nobody would even know I was doing it as most of them are married anyway, I decided to bite the bullet.
There's 3 prices to chose from when you sign up - about £11 a month for 6 months, £16 a month for 3 months and £23 for 1 month. Now, it's not exactly cheap but if you go for 6 months and nothing happens, then you get 6 months free. More about that later. My brother signed up for a month, was very choosy about who he even looked at and didn't find anything - I think it worked for me because I signed up for the long haul and not for a quick fix.
The profile: It goes on and on - have patience - it's necessary and I think that the more information the better, after all when you're looking for someone, you're checking their every detail and missing information is off-putting like they're hiding something. Your profile involves appearance, lifestyle, likes, dislikes, family, everything about yourself and about the person you're looking for, for example, my profile says I don't smoke but it also says I'm looking for someone that does or doesn't. It also wants to know what kind of relationship you're looking for so if you want long term just stay away from those who want a friend.
So, I've paid, filled in my profile and now I'm all set. At first the winks pour in thick and fast, but after a while I realised that this is what happens as soon as a newbie appears - still I wasn't disheartened. You can either wink which is just what it sounds like or you can email the person you like - a lot more difficult than it sounds - but there's help at hand from the match people who give hints and tips. I have to say that the matches 'match' found for me were rubbish - never seemed to match the profile I desired but that's their only downfall in my opinion.
Right, the emails arrive and you send them back asking general questions that haven't been previously answered and then, if you think, they might be alright you decide what to do. I personally, chatted on messenger, then phone, then drink. I wasn't prepared to meet up with a nutter straight away!
I met up with two blokes (separately!) for soft drinks in indiscriminate pubs and though one was a disaster - long silences and painfully boring, the other I still talk to as a mate on messenger. Finally, I met someone I really liked and here came a strange sort of dilemma - we'd been speaking to each other for about a month when we decided to meet up - now, the 6 months free is conditional - you have to email a certian number of people a week and not withdraw your profile at any point. We met up and both agreed to withdraw our profiles - bit of a risk cos he could have been a twit and then I'd have lost my 6 months but luckily it turned out he's lovely and we're buying a house together!
One of the hardest things about match is not whilst you're on it but if you're successful, telling people lies at the beginning (I didn't want everyone saying that they 'knew it wouldn't work' if it didn't) and then later we told everyone where we'd really met - after which my friend who's now engaged, admitted she'd found hers on match!
Think that's it really. I've heard bad things about match renewing subscription without telling you and that you've to tell the bank if you don't want them to but I've had no problem as I just withdrew profile and then cancelled. I personally think match is great but I might feel differently if I'd not found such a good bloke. All I can give you is my experience and opinion!