This story starts in 2015. I was heavily into woodgas, living and breathing it (not too much!) and making awesome things out of steel and wood. At some point, I realized that as fun as woodgas is, it wasn’t getting me much closer to my goal of being happily married, raising a family on a farm. So I split that problem in half, and tackled each separately. I dropped out of sight on DOW, kept my head down, and pursued both projects in parallel.
You can see the homestead project over here.
For online dating, I started off with some simple rules. I would sign up for all the free sites and one paid site at a time. I had to write to anybody that met the criteria. And I set a maximum distance of 200 miles, because long distance relationships can be very stressful. My criteria were exactly as follows:
Wrote something on their profile (blank = instant skip)
Single, never married
No kids, not pregnant
Not seriously overweight
20-30 years old
Reasonably well educated
Wants to stay home and raise kids
Willing to homeschool (ideally homeschooled herself)
Farm friendly (has experience or wants to farm)
No family drama / craziness (you’d be surprised)
Plus, I had to actually like this person, and get them to like me.
I consider this a “normal” person, as I consider myself. Normal is not the same as common. I think 100 or even 50 years ago, there were a lot of folks that would fit the above list, even aspired to it. Today, a “normal” person is very uncommon, and I promise you the ones that exist don’t usually frequent online dating sites. I think many of them may be Mennonite or Amish… And that is a road I did not care to travel.
I tried eHarmony, OKCupid, and FarmersOnly.
OKCupid is the biggest of the bunch, because it’s free. Unfortunately that’s the biggest problem with it. The whole world is there and none of them are very much like me. Most of the crazies / ultra liberal / gender bender types are on there too, and I raised my eyebrows more times than I can count. There is an extensive questionnaire section, but they ask a lot of foolish questions that aren’t exactly helpful. I racked up around a thousand of them, and it got me exactly nowhere.
eHarmony is full of nursing students and lady lawyers who have money but no time to work on their social lives. No problem finding well educated folk, but as for the family/kids/farming bit, not much interest there. The much touted matching algorithm is complete BS, I did better at OKCupid. This one I actually paid for, unfortunately.
I discovered FarmersOnly by accident, but it was the most successful (and where I eventually found Mary). It does a lot of pre-filtering for you, because it is super clunky, and is more or less seen as a “joke” dating site. But because of the name, actual rural people show up there in droves. They are also predominantly white, conservative and Christian. Prefiltering! The only problem is the nature of modern rurals. Gone are the hardy farm folk who built this country. Now, most of them are overweight trailer dwellers, who claim to love to ride ATVs, and go fishin and drink Bud Lite around bonfires, get tattoos, and go mudding in a big truck, blasting out Hank Jr. That’s the extent of their “country” life. The other unfortunate thing is the huge number of single mothers there, again a common modern rural situation. I started feeling bad for them, there were so many, so young.
Because of the poor '90s style website design, I had to load each profile page just to get an idea of who it was. This is the bulk of the thousands of profiles I mentioned, simply because there are no good filtering mechanisms on this site. I got very fast at it, usually faster than my internet connection. About 1% of them I would save off and later send a message, but only a few of those actually responded. As it turns out, profiles on FarmersOnly are actually mostly ghosts. The site got very popular for a couple years via a very good marketing campaign. It has slowed down a lot now, but since they never delete inactive profiles, or even mark them as such, you have no assurance that a person exists. Eventually I got the premium membership, which lets you see how long it’s been since someone visited, and of course message them. That speeded up the filtering even more.
I paid for a 6 month subscription twice. I let it run out once, took about a three month break, and then got back in the saddle for round two. I wasn’t going to renew a third time. Mary told me hers was expiring about 3 days after we started talking. Mine expired about a week after that. Some timing, eh?
I am glad I never have to use a dating site again. I don’t recommend it, unless you are as ruthless and determined as I was. Even still, finding Mary that way was a miracle.
More to come…