I’m currently in a period of reflection about the internet dating scene. Granted, I am going for the least financial commitment (Plenty of Fish), I’ve had three dates, and I haven’t wound up in a wood somewhere, or on an operating table, so the world and its people have not gone bonkers. Yet my recent experiences on POF have led me to re-evaluate the need for digital romance. I speak of the hammering in the gut that many of us crave and Walt Disney, magazines and some films have told us we’re all eventually going to get. I’m talking about love, the mysterious, difficult, wonderful and challenging chemical reaction when you’re wrenched at speed from reality into slow time. Suddenly life resembles a montage.
The closest I ever got to this waking dream was five years ago. It was the last relationship I had that was on the verge of working out, but I’m glad on reflection that it didn’t. Since then I have dipped in and out of free dating websites, met a few girls along the way, and had many conversations that may or may not be considered flirting, depending how one chooses to interpret it. I even managed to get a one year relationship from a gamble on the POF website. For the most part it was fine, but as I’ve grown up on a diet of Disney and glossy dreams and I wasn’t feeling the butterflies, I ended it.
Now that I have been floating the single life with my head just above water for almost two years, I am starting to question the power of the web concerning matters of the heart. The old notion of catching someone’s eye at a bar might in fact be a better alternative. As long as I vow to keep the alcohol level pretty low I think this could work. I yearn for coherence, and it doesn’t come from five or six bottles of Sierra Nevada.
After yet another year on POF I have noticed that many people are reluctant about internet dating. From what they’ve written, most of them seem like they were pushed into it by a friend. They’re just trying it out. I feel that these are the people who are least likely to take it seriously, and it seems like they’d rather have a date with a Facebook page, or wake up next to a laptop every morning. Maybe it’ll get pushed way too far and they’ll start stirring their tea with a Smartphone charger cable? Personally, I want to be able to talk properly.
I wonder how long it will be until the British mentality shifts? Internet dating in the States has taken off. Then again, dating in general still seems like an American concept. Maybe dating therapy is next? I have to admit, I still hold onto the idea of saying ‘hi’ to a complete stranger in a coffee shop while trying not to break from social exhaustion.
Sometimes the internet dating thing can also be scary in a way I’d never imagined. I’ve read profiles where the girl lists a whole load of stuff she doesn’t want from a man. Then she lists a whole load of stuff she does want. The prospective suitor feels like he’s on a job interview even before he’s met the girl. It’s not a good thing to do, and I mean this message to go out to all those who do it. The fact is, I’m skinny, I burn under moderate lighting, and I’m not going to be the body of Vin Diesel combined with the intellectual capacity of Albert Einstein so we can fly off together as two perfectly perfect perfectionists whose only failure is the fact we deign to hang around normal people who walk on the earth in affordable clothing. I seriously think not. I’m a standard man-child. I eat bagels. On Sundays I swan around in a navy blue bath robe thinking up ways to make my instant coffee taste better. Incidentally, honey’ll work. Seriously though, I won’t be a candidate for someone’s romantic firing range.
Pictures. I’ve seen some pretty awful pictures on Plenty of Fish. A lesson in basic photography should come with the registration process. I’ve seen too many gleaming bodies – forthcoming skin cancer cases – and people who will only be photographed with their friends squeezed in the frame. It gets confusing. Who are you again? I’d be happy to show you how to wield a basic point and shoot. It’s not as hard as you’re making it look.
My late grandmother used to tell me how the old-schoolers would get romantic. It had a lot to do with dancing, big bands, local communities, that kind of stuff. There wasn’t much booze involved the way she told it. I didn’t like that bit of the story. But if there’s one thing I took from it, it was her sense of contentment as the words came out. The modern world was making her mind a desolate place. I can’t but agree with her sometimes as I plod through internet dating.