On-line dating – A social experiment.
“Ermagherd! What are you doing?”
I shrieked as my friend grabbed my phone out of my hand and installed a dating app.
“No! No! No! I am dead set against this, we talked about this!”
She looked at me and rolled her eyes.
“What Min, you think a guy is gonna fall into your lap, from the sky?” She looked up and laughed.
She ignored me and continued to fill out my profile information then handed me the phone with an overtly bossy and expectant look on her face. “Write things down.”
I looked at my phone in horror; it was a little traumatizing actually. There was no way I could get out of this.
“Look…” I softened my tone and attempted to plead with her.
“Where? At the sky?” She dripped with sarcasm. “You need this right now, what have you got to lose?”
“How much time do you have?” I glared at her.
“Write.” She ordered.
Lackadaisically, I wrote a few things in my profile and handed it back to her.
“There. Now was that so hard. Photo?”
“Minelle, don’t let me look through your thousand-and-one selfies! Pick one!” She yelled.
I grumbled and added a few.
“Not bad.” She nodded. “I’m glad you didn’t choose the ones where you’re asking to be dessert. Here, you’re all set.” She handed my phone back to me while I stared dismally at the screen.
I should I insert a disclaimer at this point: If you’re a happy online dater or seriously into it, like bordering on mental illness then X out now. Please and thank you. This is my personal opinion and nothing else. What doesn’t work for me, can very much work for you and I’ll try not to question your desperation, ok, and that was an opinion. I can hear the disgruntled emails barreling towards me.
The thing is, I have two conflicting mindsets about online dating, a sort of cognitive dissonance. The first being that I totally empathize with the whole its hard to meet people with my busy life polemic and the second being that I feel on-line dating is a pointless grocery shopping expedition for the opposite sex. Now I know that seeking out a partner is age old, whether it’s through family, perhaps friends offering to set up blind dates or a newspaper advert. Although I almost feel that the latter was singularly for alien encounter threesomes or mail order brides. I wonder though, if it’s so hard to meet people because you have a busy life, how the heck do you factor in dating? I keep so busy that I ration out my time like my dwindling supplies of mini Dairy Milk chocolates. Seriously. Hands off, people.
I admit I had certain prejudices about online dating. Then I thought, ok my friend obviously cares enough to do this for me, so why not have an open mind? Maybe as a writer I’d eat my words and say I love it, belly full.
Not. A. Chance.
Why is it different from being set up or putting out an ad in a paper? Simple. Numbers. It’s not like your friends are going to set you up with forty different men. If so, they’re idiots. Or they think you’re a slut. The problem I have with numbers is when you have over three hundred and fifty messages flowing in your inbox within a day of being online people tend to become disposable. There. I said it. You won’t give someone a chance if they maybe spelled something wrong or tried to make a lame joke. Although, I think when someone asks you to pet his parrot, it’s a cause for distress. Something human gets replaced when there are all those alternatives. For men, the penis takes the wheel, for women the smallest things will irk us and cause us to hit the delete or block button. If a date doesn’t work out, no problem, get online and scroll for more options. See the conundrum?
I wouldn’t behave that way in my everyday life when I’m out and about, so I certainly don’t endorse it online because no one is disposable and to think that I have the ability to swipe and discard is largely insulting to the human condition. People are not expendable, even the creeps that are looking for hook-ups eventually want to find someone. One can hope. On the other hand, I completely understand the commonly voiced male perspective of how very hard it is to approach a woman. From the conversations I’ve had with men online they’ve told me that they would never approach me in person, they would have been fearful. This was a mild turn off. If you can’t grow a set in person, don’t try to text with an online set because guess what? You’re going to have to show up to an actual three-dimensional date needing those balls. Spare me the soliloquy of the hardest part is asking out a girl. It’s not. It’s retaining her attention with what you will do and who you are, not what you text. Confidence is very sexy and a good woman appreciates when a man approaches her. What we don’t appreciate is textual confidence. You can never fake that.
I should get something out of the way, I have a few friends that have met their significant others through online dating. Can it work? Yes. I mean the stats are all there and who am I to argue with statistics, but I’ve never been a fan of going out there and looking for a man the way I look for my sugar free, unsweetened almond milk at the organic grocers. For the most part people are looking for love and commitment, this I know, but there are far too many people selling the idea of it and not following through. The speed of online dating is almost transactional. A few dates, dinner, the expectation of sex. I want to hit the pause button and wonder if the apps came with nightmare pills? I told one date that it takes me time to get to know someone. (Normal statement right? At least I thought so.) His response: Oh easy, let me tell you all about me in five minutes and went on to list his admirable qualities like he was reading the back of a cereal box. (The back of a cereal box also has the occasional pedo alert. Just sayin’) We would never have as many options to date if on-line cupid wasn’t lurking about. Being inundated with options interrupts organic interaction and keeps you from actually meeting someone you are meant to be with. Sorry not sorry, that’s just how I feel. You’re so busy looking and looking that you’re not looking. Esoteric enough?
My one friend refers to a particular website as her fix. I rolled my eyes at her. That eye roll Emoji was so made for me.
“When I’m single and bored, I’ll just go on it and meet five guys and see how it pans out. It’s a nice ego boost.” She stated very matter-of-factly.
“Is it addictive?” I asked
She nodded. “Very.”
“Why, what do you think?” She inquired.
“I feel that if you have to go out and shop for a partner with a predetermined checklist of credentials you’re stopping yourself from discovering a person.”
She shrugged and scrolled on her dating app. Sigh…
“See this one?” She pointed at some professional dork in a suit. “We went out a few times. He’s totally smitten. Says he’s never felt this way, loves me and refers to me as his girlfriend.”
“How long have you known this guy?” I raised my brow, or at least tried to because according to my family one is perpetually raised in photos.
“A month but he’s so weird, sometimes he disappears.”
“Uh-huh”. I folded my arms across my chest. “Wanna know why? Because he’s seeing other women you daft cow! Honestly…” I shook my head at her in disbelief. My friend was a smart girl, what was she doing? “A lot of these guys spew out the words girlfriend, relationship and I love you just so they can get into your underwear because a woman with standards is going to require that before putting her poulet on display.
She grinned. “I know that, you know that but they don’t know that.”
There are times when I don’t zone out on my mothers lectures. She was actually right when she told me if you have to go out to look for it then you’re going to be disappointed and whenever I have, I’ve been stuck with a lemon.
The one good thing that has come from the daunting task of meeting potential suitors is that I had an epiphany. Not all people feel that a relationship is the end goal of life. At least I think so. The whole fallacy of ‘the one’ is too over idealized. Maybe we’re just not designed to be with one person; maybe we’re all socially conditioned to believe it’s the correct philosophy. The thing is, I like being single. Maybe that makes me an anomaly but I don’t think my sole purpose in this universe is to be here to find love, get married and sit and home and ask, what do you want to do this weekend? Or what’s for dinner? I’ve already been there, done that and it’s not something I want to repeat. I got out of that for a reason and maybe that reason is I’m too free. That’s just me though, by no means is this applicable to others although if it is, we can start a new club called: There are so many reasons to be on this planet. Let’s explore them.
My sister rolls her eyes and tells me I only feel this way because I haven’t met anyone that would stimulate the correct romantic responses in me. If you’re tall and look like Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Lucifer- I forget what his name is irl, I may get stimulated. Lots. Jokes aside, perhaps everyone has a different purpose than that of societal conditioning. Why do we have to grow old with someone? Isn’t there more to life? If your answer is because you don’t want to be alone or need someone to take care of you then you’re asking for disappointment. That’s called settling and to me, that’s the kiss of death. Hell on earth. Giving up on life. What if some of us are born to help others? Or to write great stories, create art, save the planet and so forth and if someone accompanies us on the experience that’s great and if not, that’s fantastic too. That to me is happiness. I’ve embodied it with or without someone and I really wish more people would realize it’s as uncomplicated as that.
Would I go back online? No. Do I recommend it? No. I am sure that there are a plethora of fantastic well-calculated sites out there. Stressing on the well-calculated bit. It’s all so robotic, contrived and contractual when you have to arrange for your ideal mate through some electronic process. I feel that the whole charisma of organic attraction and experience is swept away when, truthfully, no computer can ever predict the feeling that good chemistry will give you. Sorry.
What was lacking for me was the time to get to know someone normally and slowly. You’re not going to be able to focus on one person if you have a backup of ten people. When you date in multiples the quality of your time spent with one another decreases drastically. You won’t be able to see if someone treats you the way that you deserve, you won’t notice the red flags. I couldn’t at all; I kept getting names mixed up and it was like having a full time job.
I’m going to be a bit odious here and say that if we spent more time cultivating the friendships that we already have, presuming that you have a handful of good people around you and amalgamating them with new acquaintances, you’ll have a lovely scenario that would best be described as the French dinner party- look it up if you don’t know what I mean. This encourages meeting people organically. It’s a wake up call to get back to biotic socializing and surrounding yourself with quality. Trust me, your abundance of Facebook friends won’t guarantee caliber in the least. One of the most fantastic relationships I’ve ever had was when I met someone with a group of my friends. He was a friend of my girlfriend and everyone we knew could vouch for him. Sadly, the intimacy of socializing is traded off to public houses that offer weird food on wood platters and awful cocktails with vile names.
Don’t hate me; this is just my two bits. Nothing human gets lost when you make time to wholly give another person yours. I would like to think that how we spend our time, especially on ourselves, should be of paramount priority. Yet, do we think so little of ourselves that we’re ready to dive headfirst into a giant, overcrowded public pool and gamble on luck and opportunity? Just remember how many people pee in public pools. Let that be the metaphor for what you’re getting yourself into. Literally.
Your time is valuable. You are valuable. The online experience is simply not.