online datingListen, if you're nervous about signing up for an online dating site, that's understandable. There's always fear of the unknown, but I'm sure once you get going, or talk to friends about their experiences, you won't be as timid. The worst thing you could do, though, is let that fear make you do crazy things; crazy expensive things that will leave you hundreds of dollars in the hole with virtually nothing to show for it.

Unfortunately, there's a service out there that preys on people who are new to online dating. It's called PersonalDatingAgent.com and it seems like it's just waiting to suck the life, and the money, out of you.

Here's how it "works": You pay for a package (either $300 for the basic, $500 for the premium, or $1,200 for the executive) and a dedicated dating agent will help you find love online. Depending on what package you purchase (did I mention those prices are the monthly cost?), you're guaranteed either two, four, or four-plus dates.

Excuse me while I writhe on the floor and convulse with laughter for a moment. This is the biggest rip-off I've seen since that time I was tricked into paying $8.50 for a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch at a French bodega. First of all, anyone who's smart enough to have an extra $1,200 lying around every month is smart enough and datable enough to set up their own online profile. For god's sake, what does PDA.com (get it? sigh) think they're doing?

Their services include photo advice and selection, profile creation and account setup, and general dating advice, which, come on, is just hilarious. The executive package gets even more comical when it offers pre-date coaching, post-date feedback, and gift ideas. People. Unless you're the Czar of some unknown territory looking to seduce an exotic princess and marry her after one meeting, I really don't think any sort of coaching, gift, or extravagant date setup is necessary.

And the fact that PDA.com tries to lure in customers by guaranteeing dates is just crazy. It's not hard to get a date online. The hard part is finding someone you really like, but all the coaching and glamour shots in the world won't solve that problem.

They say that PDA.com is for people who don't have time to date, for those who think that online dating is too time consuming. But is paying someone to represent YOU doing anyone any favors? Sort of takes all the personalization, intimacy, and heart out of dating and turns it into some outsource-able problem that can be fixed by other people. If you believe in that, then stick with arranged marriages. At least your parents know you better than some PDA.com stranger.

Would you consider paying up to $1,200 a month for someone to help you find a date online?

 

Photo via sunshinecity/Flickr