Online Dating: There’s Nothing Serendipitous About This.

26 Oct

“On the Internet, I had an actual catalog of available women, listed with their quirks, characteristics, and measurements. Finding someone better was no longer innocent curiosity; it was easy — and it became an obsession.”

I recently read an article, “Confessions: Addicted to Internet Dating” written by a gentleman who I believe represents a great portion of the male online-dating species.  A tale that hits close to home for many of us ladies, spending our nights scrolling through endless profiles, scrunching our noses at the horrific messages we receive, checking out who checked us out and then waiting to see if they check us out after they notice we checked them out, agonizing over how to casually drop a line to that nice guy whose profile finally caught our eye, smiling when they send us a message back, spending days planning what we should wear when we meet up with mr. possibly right, smiling for days after when things go well, telling our friends how we just didn’t believe we could meet someone sweet like this online, realizing months in that he’s still hunting for other girls online … wait… what?

When did dating evolve into this impersonal, interview process?  When did it become the norm to date 5 people at once, comparing and deciding who might be the lucky winner?

I miss the days where, by chance, we met someone, we got excited about them and then we stopped looking around because we just didn’t really need to anymore. Where you would catch eyes with someone and get that flutter in your chest.  Exchange a sheepish smile or two. I miss having a guy walk up to me and (yes, in person!) ask me for my number.  And I miss going home and waiting anxiously for that phone call. My heart pounding when the phone finally rings and then clearing my throat and giving the cutest most casual “hello” that I can muster up.  I miss hearing that persons voice for the first time over the phone, and then getting to know that voice so well that it becomes a familiar, comforting sound.  I miss getting to know that person through the things that they share with me and the times that we share together .. instead of Google, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

I miss a world where we didn’t have to check 6 different portals of online communication to get in touch with our new found love interests.  Where we didn’t have access to everything that everyone is doing at every moment of every day. To every photo of every other girl they had ever dated before us or the meal that they ate at that new restaurant last weekend.

We can’t help but jump to our own conclusions.  Sure, we have access to so much more information on each other than ever before, and to an endless online catalog of prospective mates, but is that really a good thing?  Are we really even these people that we play on the internet?  How can we give someone the benefit of the doubt when we have all these cold hard facts and photos at our fingertips?

People always say, “You’ll meet the right one when you least expect it”.  Serendipity: Finding something good without looking for it.

But isn’t that the opposite of what we’re doing here?  Logging on and putting in long hard hours, scrolling and reading and comparing?  Then googling, investigating, wondering and assuming?

Somehow we’ve turned searching for a mate into a part-time desk job. (Or perhaps on the road, for you savvy mobile internet daters)  We fill out our dating profile resumes and hope to make it to the second interview. Or perhaps we’re the ones doing the interviewing.  Asking the same questions, comparing the answers. Doing our online research on our candidates.

How romantic.

We live in a digital world, and I have an appreciation for social media and technology, but I can’t help but miss the personal aspect of the “meet cute”. Of meeting people generically.  And I can’t help but wonder  – when it comes to the world of dating; Was ignorance, in fact, bliss?



One Response to “Online Dating: There’s Nothing Serendipitous About This.”

  1. Brett November 4, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Hi Sarah

    It’s really interesting reading your point of view about online dating. As someone who never thought I would ever “have to resort to online dating”, I surprised myself when I was convinced to give it a try. Nothing to lose, right??

    Here is the funny thing about the online dating platform. The same thing that happens for girls, happens for guys. Perhaps the messages aren’t as frequent or crude as the ones you may be receiving, for example, but I have managed to get some that really caught me off guard. Just last week I was invited to “help” a married woman with her “frustrations” and she even brought up similarities in interests between myself and her son, almost as if that would be some sort of connecting point for us….. Ummm …. Hello??

    I am in 100% agreeance that the online dating platform lacks the personability, as well as that butterfly feeling when you actually meet them and feel that excitement in real life. You definitely can’t replace the feeling of locking eyes with a complete stranger and feeling a connection with scrolling through thought out profile answers and strategically answered lifestyle questions. However……..

    From my own personal experience, just when I had had enough of the impersonal online dating platform myself, I received a message from a girl that caught me completely off guard. As it turned out, we had actually met previously, knew exactly who eachother were and had simply been too shy/nervous to act upon our feelings. The online platform turned out to be our way of connecting, go figure.

    So from my experience, I would have to say that I do believe in the online dating scene, especially for us shy-at-first people. Yes, you have to sift through the sand to find the gold, but if you are willing to sift, you may just find the absolutely beautiful piece of gold you hoped was there 😉


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