Netdate update #3

5 03 2006

If there’s been a bit less content to my blog of late, I apologise and offer up a whirlwind week of internet dating as an excuse.

Yes, you read right. Inspired by That Guy and GigPig’s adventures, or at the very least their willingness to try something different, I posted a profile late Monday night. And apparently my profile is clever, interesting, funny, entertaining and intelligent. And I am gorgeous, beautiful, stunning and have a great smile. And a lot of guys would like to get to know me.

Unfortunately for them, me, and the website owners, tomorrow night I will follow in GigPig’s footsteps and pull the plug. Now’s the time to go and make a cup of tea and get comfy, because I can feel a rambling discussion coming on.

OK, so the initial premise for me was internet dating was inherently icky and rather calculated, like shopping for people. After thinking about it for a while, I decided (rationalised) we do that when we meet people anyway. We assess, we judge, we screen, based on appearance, speech, politics, music, whatever. At the same time I thought it’s not that I am having trouble meeting people, it’s meeting people with similar ideas/tastes/whatever it is that makes people decide to be friends with other people.

I came to the conclusion it was a wee bit precious to rule out meeting people online purely because it is a not a socially acceptable and/or unknown medium. It’s still a connection of minds and personalities, even if it happens in writing rather than in speech. And just because the primary purpose of the website was “dating”, I decided that it could be possible to meet friends, and not even just male ones, on the site. The clincher was realising that choosing to go to one pub instead of another (or, if you will, to see Gyroscope at the Zoo rather than Kelly Clarkson at the Entertainment Centre) is, in effect, choosing to associate with a particular type of people with particular tastes, the same as filtering out people, on, say, a website.

With the justification over it was time to think of a non-loser-but-not-trying-too-hard name (tricky) and write an interesting-but-not-too-cool profile (very tricky). And find a photo in my computer where I didn’t look terrible or wasn’t making rude hand gestures at the camera (trickiest). Somehow I managed all these things, posted my profile and then wandered around in a curious state of nervous anticipation and giggly horror. What if no-one responded? What if someone did? Looking at it objectively it was all quite embarrassing and tragic, and part of me was a little surprised and amused at my reaction. I had approached it as a bit of joke, in true slightly-superior-wanker style, and suddenly found myself caring what random people out there in internetland thought about me – or at least, the version of me was reflected in the profile.

Tuesday afternoon the giggliness intensified as I checked my account and looked at the first few “kisses” that had rolled in. In fact, there were quite a few chuckles as my brother helped me to assess the profiles. Then I had a moment where I realised there were actual people behind these profiles. Actual people had actually read my profile and decided for whatever reason to contact me. Looking back, that’s when the ickiness began to resurface.

But it didn’t come to the fore straight away. And I learnt something else about myself, which is neither shocking nor unusual – I like being told that I’m cool. The speed and the volume of responses was as satisfying as a bacon-double-cheeseburger on a hangover. That first night, in the time it took us to look at someone’s profile, another kiss would arrive in my inbox. It was an enormous ego-boost, and not much dampened by occasional wonderings about what sort of response a non-clever profile would get.

But just like with a bacon-double-cheeseburger, soon things began to go bad. By Wednesday afternoon, the amount of attention had moved from flattering to freaky. There were messages from men from random parts of Australia, and even random parts of Europe. I’ve spent 27 years getting comfortable with who I am, and the idea that I am quite an ok person is not a new one to me. But as Mrs F often says, it was out of control! I mean, I’m cool, but I’m not that cool!

I learnt another new thing about myself – for all that I like to think I am openminded and less superficial than your average punter, turns out I’m not. Not only that, I’m actually quite harsh, particularly where potential suitors are involved. Too old, too young, too fat, too short, can’t spell, bad taste in music, movies, books…It was vaguely horrible how quickly I judged, deleted, moved on. It was also vaguely horrible how in less than 48 hours my attitude had changed from “maybe I’ll meet some cool people” to “as if I’d go out with him!”

(As a short aside, there are some interesting, intelligent cute boys out there. And some of them emailed me. And some of them I have emailed back. More news on that as it comes to hand.)

Back to the general ickiness of it all, luckily life intervened and between Thursday and today I didn’t have too much time to think about it. The situation as it stands: in general, the whole thing is a bit freaky. Even the emails I’ve responded to I’m a bit unsure about, but I’ll keep an open mind. I’m pulling the plug on the profile tomorrow – that will be one full week. I still think there might be cool people out there in internetland, but a dating website doesn’t always show the best side of people – including me.

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2 responses

6 03 2006
That Guy

Your observations sound uncannily like my own, even the whole process that you went through! I got a couple of winks and send some away, but the writing thing didn’t actually happen with me…different from a guy’s perspective I guess. With the ones that did, best of luck! keep us posted….

6 03 2006
Gigpig

For some completely unknown reason having someone that is old enough to be my dad send me an electronic kiss is almost in league with that person pinching my bum at the pub..

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