Thursday, 12 December 2013

The perks and perils of online dating

These days most people seem to know at least one couple who met via the medium of the internet. As such, something that at one point was perhaps stigmatized has become a relatively standard way to meet ones other half. Since a significant percentage of our days are dedicated to screen time, its hardly surprising. Online dating also opens up the realms of choice; its far quicker to whiz through numerous photos to find someone who ticks your boxes than it is to painstakingly rely on chance and the possibility that you might bump into the ‘right person’ in real life surely? Though the prospect of options has its own issues; there’s so many people to meet you wouldn't want to settle, and god forbid, commit , may as well keep dating en mass because inevitably at some point you'll meet someone perfect, right? (wrong people!)

Despite this (relatively) new normal, a significant number of my single friends remain reluctant - and I don't blame them. the idea of perusing through numerous profiles as if one is shopping for the perfect pair of shoes does seem to quash any prospect of spontaneous romance, and hardly makes for a good 'how we met’ wedding speech. It also seems like a last resort; it hasn't worked out for me in the real world yet, so I'm having to venture into the realms of virtual reality, which is bound to be full of weirdos (which lets be honest, isn't entirely untrue).

Websites that eliminate the seriousness of the whole thing and turn it into more of a game take the edge off, tinder being the classic example. No need to agonize over the cringe factor of your cheesy all-about-me profile, its more like a game of snap, you get so caught up in the game it becomes less about actually meeting someone and more about the fun of 'yes’ or 'no’-ing random strangers, or friends of friends, and the number of matches you end up with.

Anyway, despite the pros and cons, I decided to take a nose dive into the online dating realm the first month I moved to London. Figured given I was about to meet a whole bunch of new people, there was no harm in throwing some free dinners in there as well. My mentality was (and still is) do it for a month then give yourself a brake. The whole process is emotionally draining, (as much as I pretend to be light hearted about it) and you (I) can only sustain that kind of intentionality for short periods of time (particularly if you also have a life, friends, a job etc. If you don't, go crazy, you could probably makes career out of it).
The bottom line is, the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to face rejection than if you do nothing, which, as we all know, is painful. Even if you don't fancy person you meet up with, it still hurts to be told 'no’. And face rejection I did, as you can see in the following overview of my online dating outcomes:

Date one: rejected (nice enough guy, I would have seen him again, but a text received the next day informed me that ‘God said no’. Sure.)
Date two: rejected (made the classic error of messaging for too long before meeting, and thus created and idea in my head of who he was, which, as it turned out, was wrong. This was perhaps more of a mutual rejection scenario),
Date three: tried to bust his way into my house (uninvited) post date, which was highly awkward.
Date 4: rejected me via email an hour after we’d met up - it was like getting results of a job interview, (thank you for your application for the position of Potential Girlfriend, it is with regret that we inform you that on this occasion, you have been unsuccessful…)
Date 5: was on the road to success, as he initiated a second date on the first date, but then failed to follow it up. How rude.
As you can see, since I only met up with each person once, it boasts very little success. Regardless, I'm glad I did it, if only to take the edge off tangible (as oppose to virtual) reality, where no one is asking me out.

Here’s the thing, as long as I don't allow myself to become defined by being turned down, each of these experiences can just amount to mildly amusing stories, though which I can learn something about how the whole dating thing works, whose out there and the kind of person I'm looking for, and maybe at some point, the outcome will be different.