Today’s tricky question

20 01 2006

My good friend GigPig and I were bemoaning our single status the other day when the subject of internet dating came up. I know a couple of people that have met partners on the internet and they haven’t even been axe-murdering stalkers or anything. So as I sit here waiting for my fabulous blue nail polish to dry before I head into the city, I have to wonder, Carrie Bradshaw style, is internet dating inherently icky?

Following our conversation, GigPig and I both agreed to have a look at a dating website and reconvene at a later date to discuss. After my initial reaction, involving a lot of giggling and cynical snorts (very ladylike), I settled down and read through some of the profiles. And, as it turns out, there were some guys on there that didn’t seem too bad. Of course there were a lot that seemed like complete tossers, and a lot more that can’t use a spell-checker (nerdy pet hate. Blame my mum. And what’s with the inappropriate capitalisation?). But there were some that, if met under different circumstances…

That’s the killer, isn’t it? If met under different circumstances. The entire time I was looking at these profiles and thinking ‘hey that guy’s really funny’ or ‘wow, nice arms’, at no point was I entertaining the idea of signing up for a membership and getting chatting. But GigPig, while having a very similar reaction in the early stages, moved fairly calmly to “maybe this is worth a try.”

I think that means that either I am relentlessly unimaginative, a hidebound traditionalist or a big fat wuss. But, but…it just seems so orchestrated and contrived. I can’t see how you get over the awkwardness of meeting someone, or even just talking to them, and knowing the whole time they are holding you up to a “potential soulmate” template (or solemate as I saw it spelt)(that’s more about sharing shoes I think)(ha. ha ha. I should have my own show). Or, not even that specifically (really I was just angling for the solemate line), it seems so clinical, like shopping for a partner. The profiles have a lot of drop-down categories you can choose for yourself – age, height, build, occupation, smoker/non-smoker, children have/don’t have/want/don’t want, education level, interests hobbies sports movies music and more….and then you can select all the same things for your “ideal partner”.

It feels like it lacks romance. And not even the dozen roses type of romance. Just your basic, everyday, element of mystery type. I fit your profile, you fit mine, how about it? Which is not to say that people can’t meet their soulmates online. It’s not a better or worse way to meet someone than going out to a club, and it’s certainly cheaper and easier.

Is it any worse than when your friend says “Hey I know this really nice guy, you should meet him”? My opinion is that when your friend says that, it’s because they think you are nice, the guy is nice, and so maybe you would get along. Does it work? Sometime yes, often not so well. But – and this is the hidebound traditionalist part of me – at least you didn’t choose to meet the guy based on whether he wanted children and/or had a degree. Because that’s the fun of meeting someone new, whether they end up as a friend, acquaintance, mortal enemy or in matching pyjamas. Finding out all that good stuff, what they do on the weekend, what music they like, whether they’re a right-wing psycho or not. It’s not just a means to an end, it’s an end in itself.

Coming back to the question of ickiness. It’s not icky in a Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes way. But there is some level of ick around the lack of spontaneity, the calculation (especially when it is pay-per-introduction), the categorisation that it entails. The final blow is this: someone has designed that site not to bring happiness and joy to the many single people in the world, but to make themselves money.

Given that I’ve talked myself out of that option, and I hate going to clubs, it seems that my singledom may persist for a little while longer. Or not. There are more than two ways of meeting boys. And with that, I’m off to the city for some random drinks, then to a party tomorrow night, and then to the Big Day Out on Sunday. Watch this space.

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4 responses

21 01 2006
Miff

Perhaps Tom and Katie met on a celebrity dating service? The ickiness they display can only have evolved from somewhere?”Short male celeb looking for thin quasi-celeb female of height who doesn’t mind not wearing heels, who wants scary old man whose teeth don’t line up and the front. Wants a woman, no wait, girl who has no kids but will willing give up overly skinny body to have mine. I mean overly skinny in the sense of seeing your ribs between your breasts kind of thing.Really in need of someone to vaguely kick start career a la John Travolta come back.Willing to go overly public with relationship in weird, creepy old man kind of way.Girl should also enjoy talking with head hanging on the side and talking out the corner of her mouth.”Ooh I hate Katie Holmes.

24 01 2006
GigPig

‘From toilet to drain’Another rant from GigPigSo after deciding that being able to weed out morons that enjoy Moron 5 and vote for the Liberal Party was a good thing, I thought that I would initiate contact with a random hottie on the internet. It is way way too involved.. And I don’t have a photo to stick on my profiley-thing. Its all too hard. I think the ‘drunk snog at the pub’ approach is a better way to go than hoping dudes with an internet connection will spend $8.50 to email me.

30 01 2006
Anonymous

Gigpig…You’ve got serious self worth issues…not every guy expects to get something for the price of a GT or vodka and orange. Besides the issue is more about the whole ickyness of possible loosers that you could end up chatting too…Hmmm this is where I loook intraspective and say hey I think I’d rather be a stranger in a pub than a friend from a chat room.:P

3 02 2006
GigPig

Anonymouse:Some self worth issues? It takes a special kinda paranoid someone to assume that anyone who buys you a drink expects something in return. And it disturbs me greatly that you have assumed that I am one of those someones! Hint of the week: grab dictionary, look up ‘irony’, cease posting crap on the net!

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