I'd like info about on-line dating (paid sites v OKC), your experiences, alla that! Not sure if I'm ready to date, but I'm certainly ready to think about it!
I've done both. I've had more dates off of the paid sites, but better luck in "relationships" from the free site. Be more prepared for the "hey, baby!!!" from the free sites. Just sayin'.
Some argue you may get a different caliber of person on a paid site. I did not find that....money is equal opportunity and doesn't seem to discriminate between nice people and jerks.
Since you are just dipping your toes in, I would start with the freebies and lurk around.
Use your same safety checks regardless if it is a paid site or free. You will find both really nice/normal people on both sites as well as those looking for bootycalls, etc. Just have to weed them out, etc.
Best bet is to go into it with a sense of humor and do not take it personal if someone is a jerk. Better to find out now, than later.
And definitely do meetup.com in the interim. I used to use OkCupid and I liked it--think I'm going to stick with real-life for a while, but I think it's great you're considering this!
Profile advice: Have several recent pictures on your profile. At least one should be a full body type picture. Show your best self, smiling, being happy, doing something that you like to do, a vacation shot--something that can get a conversation going. Men are visual. They will look at a profile picture and make a judgment, so portray yourself in the best way possible. Have a friend take some good photos, or although I never did this, consider getting professional pictures taken--telling the photographer "no glamor shots"!
Put positive statements in your profile, describe your interests, things that make you unique. I looked at other women's profiles before I formulated mine, as I wanted to stand out, not be a part of the crowd. Leave out the "absolutely no players please" type of statements. Leave out cliches like "I love to travel" and "I see the glass as half full"--men I've dated said they saw way too much of those statements, so that it lost its meaning. Saw an interesting TedTalk that mentioned it was good to be specific regarding what you were looking for rather than generic, so that is an idea too...
Men's profiles: If they have spent some time writing their profile, they are probably more interested in dating seriously. Less effort=less invested seems to be a correlation.
The best think I did was to read a book called "Dating Like a Grown Up" by Bobbi Palmer. I read it just 3 months ago and wish I had seen it early on...changed the whole dating experience for me to a much more positive and centered thing. Helped me focus on what I wanted, not on what I thought I wanted. I highly recommend it.
Good luck dipping your toes in the dating pool!
I did have a free match account, to see if I saw profiles that would make me want to pay to join, but most of the guys also had profiles on okcupid!
I had close to 40 first dates off of okc. I was not as good as I should have been about screening, especially in the beginning.
Met current guy off of tinder, which I obviously recommend, as he was only the second date off of that site.
Biggest thing is to have tough skin and not take anything personally. Don't get your hopes up too high before meeting, and just have fun! I really got to enjoy dating and meeting new people. I made one really eclectic friend, went to a movie with a guy from Paris who was in town on business, and had enough fantastic experiences that my friends are begging me to write a book.
Married: 11 years, no kids
Character is destiny