Military love connection: A woman’s view
November 26, 2003
How can I go wrong — a pool of eligible guys, living a similar lifestyle to me, in similar locations? And I can meet them in my pajamas.
Under a guise of journalistic inquiry, I signed up with USMilitarySingles.com, a Web site seemingly geared to servicemembers and DoD employees like me. It was free and easy — an image I hoped to avoid on the site.
From a chick’s perspective, the whole thing seems simple. There’s the usual concern about honestly filling out the form. Do I have the “killer bod” or the “average build?” Do I admit to the weekend Roppongi alcohol binges? What if someone I know sees me?
I fudged through the profile and hit the magic send button. The deal was done. I now succumbed to embarrassment, fear, excitement and healthy cynicism.
It went well at first. The next morning, there in my inbox was a first response. A man in the vicinity, who had nothing to do with the military, was 15 years older than me and living with his parents. Strike one.
The next several days proved equally prolific — the little “someone found you interesting” messages piled up. From a guy across the world, another not quite divorced, and a whole slew of others not in the military, not nearly tall enough or who didn’t quite master English, all of which were prerequisites in this endeavor.
A few caught my eye. Overall, out of 20 responses in a little over two weeks, there were two or three responders who were definitely interesting.
Because I’m too cheap to pay for a date much less a membership, I couldn’t reach out and touch anyone. I had to wait to hear from others who had paid. The site promised I could respond to them for free.
But alas, there wasn’t a way to do that and no numbers to call or address to write the company for help.
Out of luck and still too stubborn to pay $50 to e-mail strangers, I sat examining the smiling faces in my inbox who could be good pen pals if not future dates if ever I move within a day’s flight from them.
So much for pajamas, I guess I’m back to the real-life dating scene.
At least there I can tell if someone is lying about his height.
>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