For the past 11 months I’ve been single and, for the most part, cool about it. I have quite a bit going on and when I don’t, relish the idea of chilling out at home. So yes I really don’t mind being on my own. But, when I meet up with coupled friends, the social inadequacy creeps in and I think I should get myself a plus one. Everyone tells me to get back on to the online-dating front. But I just can’t find the courage to hit that “register” button. Memories of my 20s come flooding back where I was a relentless internet dater; Guardian Soul Mates, Time Out Dating, Match.com (3 times), My Single Friend.com, Badoo- at some point I have been a member of these. My bank statements prove it.
Looking back I can’t believe the amount of crap I took from various guys and now at the age of 33, it got me thinking. I could tell myself that it’ll be different this time, but the prospect of going through that clinical process of scrolling through online profiles turns my stomach. Let me explain…
As a bright-eyed 20-something year old with youth and opportunity on my side, I was more open – perhaps naive- about finding a man. I had a wide-eyed curiosity about it all, though I knew I wanted a serious relationship. I went online, a trend that was all the rage in the early 2000s. It was fun and novel at first. But I endured repeated knock-backs from the guys. I made it clear that I wasn’t a casual one-night stander but they would later reveal that no strings attached was all they could offer. It frustrated me each time but with hope, I continued trawling online for prospective matches. I guess as each relationship crashed and burned my indignation increased: I actually paid for these failures and the likes of Match.com were the ones to win out. The injustice of it all!
Tinder Loving Care?
I’ve scoured some of the profiles on there (Tinder) and the weirdness is off the chart. Plus it’s really no different thereafter because the same behaviour applies: awkward openers, elusive replies and the chance of being ghosted going up threefold.
“If money is the problem, join Tinder, it’s free!” That is the logic my friends ply me with when I think about dating. I get the allure of Tinder, it looks so effortless; it’s free, fits neatly on your Smartphone and your match is just a swipe-to-the-right away! But I’ve scoured some of the profiles on there and the weirdness is off the chart. Plus it’s really no different thereafter because the same behaviour applies: awkward openers, elusive replies and the chance of being ghosted going up threefold. Plus is it me or are dating sites upping the ante by making the process more tough? I’ve been on the waiting list for joining Inner Circle (which sounds more like a sinister chapter of the Illuminati) since forever. Even if I get admittance I might just say up yours. No one’s search for romance is more high-brow than another’s!
(Too) Great Expectations
Here’s another bug bear of mine. You’ve struck a chord with one of these internet personas. You like their photo, their interests are, well, interesting and they have a steady job. So you swap emails and message each other back and forth. Like many, I tend to start building a sense of this person even though I’ve never met them, let alone heard them. This is the start of the end. Expectations are a slippery slope because we’re basing them on (more often than not) embellished information. This becomes apparent on the first date. It’s him but in the photo he is much younger and leaner (it was taken 10 yrs ago). That job he had, well he is technically in IT, but he’s a technical handyman and broke…all the time…Those interests, well he’d do more of them if he wasn’t so broke due to aforementioned job. My expectations were starting to come undone. I felt like he had misrepresented himself.
…the problem with internet dating. It’s the most indirect way of knowing someone short of a pen pal in prison! And as you “talk” online your brain is busy thinking of a life with this person. Add the excitement of thinking that you’ve finally found the pot of gold in the game of love, your expectations are soaring somewhere in the stratosphere.
Before you jump down my materialistic throat, I dated this guy for 6 months so I gave it a chance. But in the end we were so different. Once my expectations had been dashed, I wasn’t so in to him and what I thought we had in common wasn’t at all true. That’s the problem with internet dating. It’s the most indirect way of knowing someone short of a pen pal in prison! And as you “talk” online your brain is busy thinking of a life with this person. Add the excitement of thinking that you’ve finally found the pot of gold in the game of love, your expectations are soaring somewhere in the stratosphere. So when you meet the poor bastard for real, it is only natural that they take a nose dive. Stony-faced reality has just whacked you in the face with a wet slippery kipper.
It might just be a “me” thing but I have no energy to go through that again. I prefer real life. You see that person (hopefully sober) as they are. Sure you don’t know everything about them but then again there are no pre-conceived notions about them either. And that first physical sight of each other is crucial. You take them as you see them and build a rapport from there.
Best advice my Journalism tutor gave me. Do not compete. And when you’re in the online dating game, that’s all you are doing. The person you have your eye on is probably chatting to a whole lot of others, so in effect you would need to strike a bigger spark with them than others. The cruel bit is when they disappear for no reason. You can bet someone else grabbed their attention. Similarly you are e-meeting a handful of guys a day (more than I can handle really), all with the same kind of chat ups.
I get that finding the one is a numbers game, but if you are among those numbers, how impossible can it be to be picked? And isn’t it well documented that the more choices you have, the less easy it is to choose? The curse of modern-day living!
I get that finding the one is a numbers game, but if you are among those numbers, how impossible can it be to be picked? And isn’t it well documented that the more choices you have, the less easy it is to choose? The curse of modern-day living! Any way, I spend my professional life competing and justifying my talents. Since when did the same apply to finding a good guy for life? Again my more mature self feels like by competing you have put yourself in that mind F$%k of a game and quite frankly I’m just bored of playing it.
I guess the whole experience has taught me that I’m an old-fashioned person. Unashamedly so I’d like to add. I like the idea of meeting someone on fate’s whim; at the gym, in the supermarket queue, at a cool art exhibition. But I also know times have changed and it’s London. People reserve their charm offensive for the internet, leaving real life flirtation/courting way behind in the 1800s or whenever. Plus we’re all so busy in our bubbles, we don’t often stop and take a look around us. So maybe my outlook has got me stuck between reality and virtual reality. But I’m older now, got an idea of the guy who suits me and I’m a bit more clued up on the tricks of the trade. So perhaps my love-life gets better with age. Like a fine wine or something…