Photo: Whitebox Weddings
In 2000, Brenda Allison graduated from law school and moved to Chicago. There, she found a supportive group of friends, an apartment within walking distance of the city's hottest spots...and absolutely no time to date.
"I'm a lawyer, and it's a job that takes up a lot of time," she says. "I didn't know how I was going to meet someone, especially when with what little free time I had I wanted to spend it with my friends."
Heeding advice from friends living in New York City, Allison turned to the Internet. "There weren't a lot of people using the Internet to date back then," she says. "I had to go to Kinko's and scan in a picture of myself for my profile." Soon after that, she was on a date.
"I met this guy for drinks, and everything was going fine. I have a tendency to mess with my hair when I get nervous, so I start running my hands through it. An hour or so into the date, he looks me straight in the eyes and says: 'You have got to stop touching your hair because it's driving me crazy. I don't know if I'm going to be able to control myself!' I didn't know what to say to that, so I told him my friends were at the back of the bar, which they were. I never went out with him again."
For Allison, that night was the beginning of series of dating travails. Despite a few duds and near misses, her perseverance—plus an online connection seven years later that resulted in a marriage proposal—would eventually reaffirm her belief that online dating is an ideal way to make a real connection with another person. "Meeting someone in a bar never quite worked out," she says. "The bar scene was always about 'Hey baby, you're hot' after a few drinks."
Though once considered the sole province of the nerdy and socially challenged, online dating has come a long way. According to online dating site Match.com, more than 20,000 people register to use the site every day. eHarmony says it has 20 million registered users on its roster and according to a recent study it commissioned, the dating site is responsible for 2 percent of all marriages in the United States.
How are all of these people finding success in love online? According to experts, honesty, patience and a well-thought-out profile are all anyone needs to find true love.
How to build an online dating profile