Dear Luv Doc,
I don’t know if I am cut out for online dating. I have been trying to meet guys for nearly two years on different dating sites, and they are never what they present themselves to be in their profiles. They always claim to be good-looking, but once I actually meet them, they are average. Or if they really are good-looking, they end up being jerks. Being in healthcare, I work odd hours and don’t get to socialize much in the real world. I thought that online dating would be just the ticket for me, but I can’t stand the disappointment. What should I do? Start hanging out in the produce section at the supermarket?
—Ms. Bixby

Having to spend time with men who fall below your standards of attractiveness must be extremely frustrating. I think we can both agree that anyone can look good in an online profile headshot—some soft lighting, a fresh haircut, and maybe some spray tan—but maybe only about 3% of the men in the world can pull off a pair of shin-length khaki cargo shorts, some sockless docksiders, and a peach-colored polo shirt, and that’s really hard to test for on the Internet. Same thing with floral Hawaiian shirts. I mean, unless you’re actually Hawaiian.

It’s true—you could probably get some guy to retake his profile photo in a pair of Docker slacks with a huge cell phone clipped to his belt, but even then you’re not going to be able to hear that high-pitched swishing sound they make when he’s walking you to your doorstep. Truthfully, I would take a wicked case of rosacea over a dirty pair of Vibram Five Fingers any day of the week, but as I am sure you’re well aware, taste is highly subjective, and yours is apparently exceptionally good.

There’s only one problem with having exceptionally good taste: you have to pay a much higher price. The cost isn’t necessarily monetary either. Statistically you aren’t going to land the big tuna the first time you cast your net. You have sort through a lot of bycatch: turtles, dolphins, flounder and fluke. That is just a fact of fishing. You might get lucky once or twice, but for the most part you are going to have to sort through a bunch of fish and throw a lot back.

So, I know it sounds like your are going to spend your prime dating years sorting through piles of smelly fish—and you might—but I am going to let you in on a little secret. OK, lean in and listen: it’s not them, it’s you. Yes, that’s right, it’s you.

If you are constantly being disappointed by the men you meet, the best possible thing you can do is adjust your expectations. Those men aren’t going to change, and to be perfectly honest, I think knee-length men’s shorts are probably here to stay as well. To eradicate them, we would have to burn down every shopping mall in America.

As much as that idea intrigues me, I think the better tack for you to take is to accept the fact that online dating isn’t necessarily a means of meeting your soulmate, but rather, just another way of meeting people. It’s always interesting to meet interesting people, even and especially if you’re not planning on spending eternity with them. If you’re not feeling the pressure to spend your life with these guys you’re meeting, maybe you won’t be so hung up on their looks.

Trust me: In the dating world the more people you know, the better off you are. Make friends with everyone because friends have friends and the larger your net grows, the better your chances will be of landing the big tuna.