Dating is crazy. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. It’s totally not worth it! Ok, so I’m over exaggerating a tad, but there’s a lot of truth in there, too.

Dating is expensive, especially for a guy! A decent restaurant in San Francisco will run you $150 for two people, and that doesn’t include drinks before or after at a different location. Maybe ice cream to close out the night? You’re looking at $200 for one date! And you might not even get laid! And I mean like, you won't get laid. I never put out on a first date. That's grotesque.

Dating is time consuming! After a long day of work I want to relax, and relaxation to me isn’t getting dressed up, Ubering across the city to a restaurant you looked up last second on Yelp using the filters $$ or $$$, accepts credit cards, and sorted by highest rating. And then, you don’t even know if who you’re meeting looks like their profile photo. Wait, profile photo - what’s that?

Yes, this is a post about online dating. The pros. The cons. And tips and tricks that might help you decide if it’s right for you. Hint - it probably is. Because despite the shit I just smeared on dating as a whole, online dating offers an easier, seamless experience that just makes dating better. There are naysayers, like the recent Vanity Fair article that ignited a Twitter rant for the ages with Tinder, but holistically I think online dating has been a positive.

What does one do if they haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, though? There are so many online dating options, how do you know which one is right for you? Have no fear, Eric Taylor is…ah god that was lame. I’ll just get down to it.

A staple of the online dating world, OkCupid has been around for a while. You know how I know? Because it was the first dating site - emphasize site because when I first joined there was no such thing as an app – I joined way back in college. OkCupid is a well-rounded dating site and app. It’s got a ton of people on it so you’re never going to be short on options. It’s also free! And that can’t be said for many dating sites. You can get basically the full experience without ever paying a dime. However, there is a premium version, which offers things like anonymous browsing, tons of message storage, and additional filters.

Pro-tip: You can see whom favorited you without paying if you’re clever. As soon as you get a notice telling you that you’ve been favorited, login and see who last visited you. It’s usually going to have been that person.

OkCupid has a lot of features you’ll recognize. The hot or not experience is there; they call it quickmatch but it’s essentially hot or not. You can filter by age, education, relationship status, and other demos, but you can’t filter by body type without paying. However, that’s a rather shallow thing to do anyway, isn’t it? Ah who am I kidding, I would do it if I ever paid. Which I haven’t. Just getting that out there.

Pro-tip: There are a lot of fake profiles on OkCupid. A good rule of thumb to tell if the person you’re looking at is real is to count how many pictures they have and what they’re doing in them. If they have 3 photos, that’s a red flag. I don’t know why, but 3 seems to be the magic number. And if they’re all selfies and scandalous, it’s probably a fake profile, too.

OkCupid is a great place to start if you’re unsure of what you want. It’s a good all around dating experience where you can find people looking for serious relationships, friendships, or just to hook up.

I have a love hate relationship with Tinder. At times, it’s great. But other times it’s really useless. The reason for this polarizing feeling is how it functions - it’s a yes or no deal. Either you match with someone or you don’t, and if you don’t you can’t message that person. Period.

Pro-tip: Recently Tinder began allowing users to link their Instagram account to their profile. If you see someone you’re attracted to, follow them on Instagram, so if they don’t link up with you either because they didn’t see you on Tinder or they swiped left, don’t fret, because now you can direct message them on Instagram. All you need is a little Photoshop knowledge to send a pic to them with text in it. Trust me. It’s worked.

Besides the frustration caused by not being able to message anyone unless you link up, the rest is great. The user experience is simple and fun. If you have a few seconds while waiting for BART, swipe. Waiting for that coffee, swipe. See a cute girl but don’t have the balls to say something in person, set your radius to 1 mile and hope you get lucky.

Happn is kind of a mix between what Tinder and OkCupid each offer, and for that I really like it. Whereas Tinder only populates your potential match list by current proximity, Happn logs and shows you who you have crossed paths with. I don’t know what range you must be within to log someone, but I think it’s between 250 and 500 meters. And once you cross paths with someone, you can see them in your feed and like them. However, they won’t see you’ve liked them unless they also like you back, at which point you’re linked and can chat with each other.

If you’re feeling love struck, though, you can “charm” someone, which notifies him or her of your interest, placing the ball solely in his or her court. When you first open Happn you get 10 charms, but after you use them up you have to purchase more. But 10 charms for $1.99 when you’re in the mood is a fair price if you ask me.

Well, that’s a brief overview of a few of the many dating options available to soul searching, love longing losers like myself. There are others, too! Like The League, a pretentiously arrogant app that is invite only and grades your likability on things like income and Alma mater. Or Plenty of Fish, an OkCupid clone with enough fake profiles that even Manti Te'o would have escaped embarrassment if only he had chosen to go fishing. Shame.

So, singles everywhere, either grow a pair and meet someone in public, or use technology to your advantage. You have no excuse not to be dating. Except for it being really expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, {insert negative adjective}…