Military love connection: A man’s view
Stars and Stripes November 26, 2003
“You have no mail messages in your inbox,” my computer screen jeers.
My personal life is empty.
It’s been three weeks since I’ve signed myself in to USMilitarySingles.com, and no one has yet found me fitting.
The worst part: I’m doing this in the company of my entire office. My failure is public. My unsuitability fully disclosed.
If you’re considering pimping yourself online, consider what you’re doing:
Throw yourself into a pool of other like-minded dudes and hope your one-paragraph life synopsis is witty and clever enough to attract someone who’s also pimping themselves. Throw in a not-so-disturbing photo of yourself (if you’ve got one; I don’t) and maybe, just maybe, you’ll hit jackpot.
Or, as in my case, you just wait…
However, cruising through the site, it’s become apparent few military chicks actually sign up for the service. Well, in the Tokyo area anyway. It’s more stocked with other Asians — from the Philippines and Australia — claiming to want to meet guys. Now, I’m not complaining about this, but rarely is there any phrase similar to: “I’m looking for a military dude.”
Which leads one to wonder: how did these girls wind up on this site? Then, I noticed a very key phrase under their profile picture: “This member joined the network via a site not necessarily within this site’s interest group.”
What this means, one can only be left to wonder. Coasting though the site, there is no “contact” information for the folks who run it, so you can’t inquire, either. So maybe the site belongs to a family of singles services that either swap or sell profiles to each other?
So I wait, questioning, wondering how this works, when it works — and who it’s working with …
However, I always think of it this way: what do you tell your friends when they ask how you met? Do you fib? Tell the truth? I don’t know, but “we met online” just doesn’t have the same ring as Robin Williams’ “I had to see about a girl” speech in “Good Will Hunting.”
But, then again, I could be opinionated; my mailbox is empty.
Looking for love
For thousands of servicemembers overseas looking for love in all the wrong places, the Internet offers hope.
Internet dating has caught on like a California wildfire — affecting even the military these days.
There are a few sites geared directly for servicemembers, and there are others that show singles by location — like Yokosuka, Japan or Pusan, South Korea.
Sites such as USMilitary.com, militarydate.com, militarysinglesconnection.com, and armysingles.com, navysingles.com, airforcesingles.com and marinecorpssingles.com are targeted specifically for servicemembers, but you don’t have to be a servicemember to enroll.
Several sites are owned by one parent company, so enrolling in one might open you up to others, which is cool for a wider audience but bad if you’re trying to be at all selective. Many of the sister sites have no connection to the military or the region.
Other sites are not military-specific but have a lot to offer: At match.com, you can look in Japan and South Korea by city, or in some cases by military installation. At lavalife.com you can search a region called Armed Forces Pacific.
Most sites let you create a profile for free and some allow limited correspondence. But others charge a fee, usually $20 a month or a little less for multimonth subscriptions. If you do enroll, think carefully about automatic payments from a credit card and make sure you cancel the plan when you’re ready to quit.
Use a disposable e-mail account to help avoid spam. The Federal Trade Commission found half the e-mail addresses posted on dating sites in one study were later spammed.
— Juliana Gittler