Online Dating: I believe the best way to approach a topic is through personal experience and I think online dating and friendships are controversial and present an issue people cannot seem to find agreement on. From total rejection to “I met my spouse on the Internet”; from “but there are only sociopaths” to “I met the love of my life there”. The fragmentation here is as massive as on almost any other issue.
Let me open with a question: How come we have all this time-saving technology, quick transportation, deliveries of almost anything to our homes, ready dinner at the supermarket and takeaway, programmed kitchen robots and vacuum cleaners and yet, we have no time to go out and meet people? There are
several possible answers: we’ve become too lazy, we’ve become busier becoming slaves to technology, we’ve become pickier or we’ve run out of self-confidence (if we ever had it) to put ourselves out there, approach a real-life person.
Most men say it’s because of the women – most of them will act deeply offended if you just go and talk to them. Without offering anything, just talking or buying her a drink, a man might actually get slapped for being rude and sexist. Men got confused, women got frustrated because they are no longer approached. In other words: “What do we want? We don’t know. When do we want it? Now!”
This is when online platforms came in, serving as pimps, matching profiles, finding you the best partner.
My ever-evolving interest in human psychopathy had driven me to the tender “Tinder”, with which I had the most controversial relationship. Someone installed it for me, I uninstalled it several times and I don’t have it anymore. I met total sociopaths, alcoholics, drug addicts, married men who were looking for a “distraction”, men who in real life looked nothing like their profile pictures (but that is hardly the point anymore), and several lesbians (no judgment, it’s just that I’m straight).
I think the best example to illustrate the controversy of online dating is the following:
I am never shy and the app matched me with a guy who looked kind of sad and quite genuine in his photo. I asked him how he met people and he replied: “Only face-to-face.” So, we met. He was totally charming, eloquent, had a great sense of humor and we even had similar views on almost every topic. He mentioned something about the importance of fire in his life, but I paid no attention at the time. A few dates later, we were having coffee and he told me that it was time for him to talk to the fire. And then I listened with equal amounts of awe and disbelief about how he had a special place where he talked to the fire, which he made by rubbing stones together, and how he swam to that place and performed a ritual. He explained how in a few days he always got an answer from the fire through some kind of signs. He wasn’t a “Game of Thrones” fan, so I went on calling him Melisandre. I got it – he had his beliefs, he had his religion or cult or whatever it was, he had his quirks, but I found it a bit disturbing for someone to let the voice of fire determine their future. So, after smoking all my cigarettes and drinking twelve cups of coffee, which I paid for because he was “in a bad place”, I walked off… and “walk” is not the verb here. Here is the controversy I was talking about: He was totally great in every way and at the same time, you could smell the crazy on him.
That’s exactly what my attitude to online dating is: You don’t know whether to be charmed or to run like hell.
According to ninety-five percent of the men I interviewed, most women on dating platforms don’t have much to offer because an attractive and clever woman wouldn’t be there, to begin with, and yet, they are willing to go along with what’s available. Eighty-five percent of the men are put off by the many hearts and generally the extensive use of emojis, silly mind games, by the usage of pet names like “baby” and “sweetheart” and by women who act hard-to-get, which is confusing because… why are they even there? Then there come the photos – at the beach, in the bathroom, photoshopped, filtered, each showing girls striking a pose like real divas. “Then you meet the reality and you try to hold onto the personality, but a woman who pretends to be someone else online… what personality are we talking about?” said one of the men I interviewed. Then there are the lies about age, children, marital status, and working place – all these details remain an enigma for most men. What she looks for in a relationship is also a question with no answer, unless the woman is pretty straightforward, opens up, and states what she wants. What happens in five percent of the cases. “I’m not that kind of girl,” is most quoted. So, what kind of girl are you? It’s a simple question. Just answer it and don’t waste everyone’s time.
Another issue for men is the arrogant women, those who go straight for sex and want nothing more. “If that is the case, why wouldn’t she put it in her profile info? What’s wrong with saying you want a sex partner for an ONS? Why would I waste my time pressing buttons in the attempt to get to know a little bit more about the person before I meet them?” says another.
Over seventy percent of the men are not put off by the actual looks of the woman if she happens to be something not resembling her profile picture, but by the fact that she lied. No relationship can be built on a lie. Even if a man is after quick sexual satisfaction, the trust is gone, the dream is gone, the appeal is gone.
For both men and women, there is the problem of who you are really talking to. You exchange “good morning” and “how was your day”, you share secrets and desires, troubles and joys, but these are just words with no voice, no intonation, they are not linked to an actual face. Some online relationships last for so long, that in the end, they stay what they have been from the beginning – an imaginary place where both sides are afraid of coming out of their shells and, for whatever reasons, meeting up in real life. These people choose to believe in an illusion instead of being hurt too soon and rejected too quickly.
Things from a woman’s perspective are pretty much the same. Why is he there? If everything with him was okay, he would be out in real life, meeting actual people. And yet, a woman goes for the attention. The pictures: muscles glistening under the sun at an exotic beach, men standing on the tops of rocks. They are always athletic, they all love music, dancing, reading books, they would do anything for the awaited love of their life. They are romantics, they can cook and they have prestigious jobs and university degrees. They all drink wine (never beer, never hard liquor), they all love evenings by the fire (don’t get me started on the fire thing), they always love what you love, they prefer the food you prefer and to them, looks don’t matter (but as we already know, they do). They can’t be bothered to remember your name, but insist on calling you “sweetie”, “babe” and so on. And then, usually, in eighty percent of the cases, they want nudes. Or worse – they send you some.
Then, there are the pictures of dogs. Dog 38, not married, looking for the woman to claim his heart. All the time you’re talking to a dog. What is this? Then, it turns out his wife is cheating on him and he can’t get a divorce because she has more money and he’s looking for revenge sex. Right, no problem and no judgment, but what’s with the lie, doggy?
If it comes to a real date, the outcome is always a surprise. Most of the time an unpleasant one, but men with severe confidence issues do not agree to meet up. They want to CHAT and exchange bodily fluids through the buttons of the keyboard.
However, when all is said and done, thousands of people meet online and start actual relationships, which really work. People get married, have kids, live happily. For online dating was the best thing ever. I have met my best friends online in different forums and later in real life and I have sustained great friendships with the most precious people for over a decade. The Internet gives you the opportunity to meet people from everywhere in the world, to communicate, to exchange views, and to share. Yet, when it comes to intimacy, to love, and we are in the month of love, nothing is possible without real-life contact. The world outside is full of people. When did we become so lonely? Why? Why is it so hard to utter real words, to look a person in the eyes, say the truth, open up, be the person you really are? Why is it so impossible for women to stop digging for the gold, for men to stop looking for their Cleopatra? Who made us so uncertain of what we are and so certain we’ll not be liked and loved for the whole that we are – flawed, twisted, imperfect, but real?
Online dating can be fun, can lead to something exciting, can bring people into your life, but that happens after you learn to sort out the scum and that, unfortunately, is a lot. Finding love on the Internet is a lottery win, in my opinion. Finding a fling is almost like a walk in the park. It depends on what you’re looking for. I know we live in times where meeting people is harder, but still, you go out, don’t you? Make an effort to look nice and stop convincing yourself that you are perfectly fine on your own because you are not. We all need connection and no one will connect with you if you hide behind the screen.
I remember laughing at something a young man had written under his profile picture: “Is there anybody normal here?”
Well, we are all “normal”. We just have a different understanding of “normal”. For me, the normal way to get to know a person is in person. The Internet made me distrustful, but that’s just me. For many, this kind of relationship works – it saves time. Time for what exactly?
More on Online Dating… in Diamonds Production Magazine MARCH 2021