It’s hard to remember a time when popular culture viewed online dating as “new age”. “Catfished” may be becoming a commonly used term (and concern), but in my opinion for my generation, online dating is no longer stigmatized but rather has shifted to a socially acceptable way to meet other people. It’s true that many still desire to establish relationships through in-person encounters and refuse to dabble online. Yet through my perspective and that of my friends, the dating game seems to be ruled by shifting norms.
Yes I have tested the waters of online dating, driven by the mix of both boredom and loneliness, and I for one have mixed reviews. If nothing else, online dating makes me feel as though I’m being proactive. I am single, but I sure as hell am not going to find prince charming at a gay nightclub. Why not go online and sift through guys who are looking to connect? Oh a new message! He looks cute and he seems to have similar interests as me. Why not grab a drink? Isn’t there a statistic that a fifth of couples now meet online? I attended a wedding last year where the couple met on Match.com and one of my friends had a pretty consistent summer fling thanks to OK Cupid. The results seem promising, no?
Yes, that’s all great BUT… my main grievance is that online dating breeds a fickle dating mentality. These sites give users a seemingly limitless possibility of options. Not only can you view interests and personal stats but also the “best” profile pictures of potential candidates. Oh this one could be cute, this one could be a troll, this one lives in Bushwick… that’s inconvenient, I don’t like this one’s profession. All roadblocks before even starting a conversation. With such a vast pool of options, how can we not be unrealistically picky?
Adding to the fickle factor is the issue that online daters are courting multiple prince charmings simultaneously. Can talking to 5 options foster a sustainable relationship? Dating at the onset can be, and often is, awkward. How can you realistically date through that slightly awkward first stage if you’re constantly comparing your man of the night to 5 other options? Oops I made a faux pas via text, he never responded again. It’s just that easy to have seemingly “Mr. Right” fall off the face of the earth.
I’ve come to realize that I’m an established monogamist at heart. If I enjoy talking to someone online I often lose interest with other options and devote my attention to that one person. It’s not that I won’t actively look to meet other people, it’s just I kind of get bored at surfing online sites if I am talking to someone who peaks my interest. Am I an anomaly?
I also think it’s easy to divulge too much too soon online. I mean don’t tell me your life story via IMs. What the hell will I have to say to you when we meet? Ok so you’re asking me to list my interests, my favorite food, my best features, my music taste… blah blah blah. I like to leave some allure to that first encounter.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not condemning online dating. In fact I’m an advocate. Again I can only speak for my age pool and free online sites but after discussing this subject extensively with others I think my pain points apply across age, sexual orientation, and sites. Online dating can be a great way to meet people and you may just be lucky and hit it off. I for one have had some good luck as of late. But I also think it’s easy to get disenchanted. I’m just putting a caveat out there: If you’re DTF, it could be great for you but just note finding “Mr. Right” can be dicier. Monday musings I guess.