Got a question on my MySpace page from a reader. Figured I’d address it here – with her permission, of course:

Hey Evan.

I love your blog. I read it all the time and have sent some of my girlfriends to it as well. Very informative. I’ve been doing the online dating thing since the first of the year and it’s going ok. Here is my question for you. What do you think about men who have a profile on just about every online dating site out there? Are they serious or just players? Thanks again for keeping us single gals hopeful.

Lori

Thanks for the kind words, Lori. Glad to hear you’ve got hope. I’m inclined to think it might be the most important of human emotions. But that’s another column for another day.

As for your question, I really had to rack my brain back to a time when I had a profile on every dating site out there. A time before I had a girlfriend. A time when others might consider me “a player”.

That time was four months ago. And also the seven years before that.

I had profiles on Match, JDate, Nerve, eHarmony, Chemistry… probably some sites that don’t even exist anymore. I never dated for research, I dated to fall in love. And I’ll be the first to tell you – it doesn’t happen very often. Once a year, if you’re lucky. And I’ve been pretty lucky. I found my first love on Nerve in 2004. I fell in love with a woman who wrote to me on JDate in 2005. And I found another eight month relationship off of JDate in 2006. (The current girlfriend is a “real life” person, alas).

Moral of the story is that I’ve gone out with hundreds of women since I started dating online in 1997. And I have no doubt that a number of them were convinced that I was a player. But as I’ve said before and as I’ll say again, a player is what a woman calls a guy who doesn’t want to go out with her. It may have absolutely no connection to his intentions. It’s like the part in “When Harry Met Sally” when Sally is lamenting her ex-boyfriend, Joe, who just got engaged. “It’s not that he didn’t want to get married,” she says, “It’s that he didn’t want to marry ME.”

This is not to suggest that there aren’t all sorts of players online. Online dating has leveled the playing field for guys to an unhealthy point. In the past, we’d get a phone number at a bar and it would be the highlight of our week. Now, guys can collect phone numbers and discard them with no second thoughts. However, this doesn’t mean these guys are players or slimeballs or just out for sex. It just means they have too many options and are always trying to trade up. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but it’s not a crime. Plenty of nice men are dazzled with the array of beauty on dating sites and feel that they should just keep shopping.

But this doesn’t answer your original question. Your original question is whether a man with profiles on multiple sites is necessarily a player. To which I’ll ask you:

How do you know he’s on multiple sites unless you are, too?

See? It doesn’t take a player to desire more options.