Ok, so preamble suggests this would have come first. Oops, my bad.
After some of the reactions to last weekend’s post, I feel like I need to back up and defend online dating as not being only for suckers (and freaks and douchebags). I truly believe it’s a legitimate vehicle to meet people. I do know people who have met if not their soul mates online, some good, worthwhile, highly datable people that they’ve had significant relationships with. It’s just so much more concentrated than the rest of the world that you encounter a denser pool of freaks. Pun intended with “denser”. 🙂
Dating is a total crapshoot, no matter the method. Most of us spend a lot of time looking for the right partner, online, offline, whatever. Online dating just magnifies it all, good, bad, and crazy. Did I get approached by a lot of nut jobs? Yes. Did I, through the very act of creating profiles, put myself in a position to get approached by a lot of nut jobs? Yes.
In some ways, online dating simplifies everything, and takes away some of that possible sting of rejection, in that we’re all there for the same reason: to meet someone. Theoretically, that should make it easier to strike up a conversation with someone you might be interested in. In a bar, I might be looking to meet someone, but I might be playing wingman for my girlfriend, or I might be there to listen to the band, or I might just be there to have a drink. I might be there for a ton of reasons. Dating website = clear cut. And theoretically you can cut through all the bullshit: I’m looking for a long-term relationship. I’m looking for something casual. I’m creepy and I just want sex. If you have rigid rules, you can eliminate everyone who smokes, or has blue eyes, or doesn’t want kids.
The problem is people think it’s a silver bullet. There is no secret stable filled with mythical creatures such as unicorns and single, age-appropriate men who are charming and funny and intelligent and have good grammar and are also looking for us. It’s just like the rest of the world, with a bajillion people who are all-wrong for you or might make good friends, and maybe, hopefully, one who you dig and who digs you back. Just like the real world, but within the confines of a dating microcosm. EVERYTHING is magnified, hence the feeling that it’s overrun with crazies. It’s like setting yourself up on blind dates: chances are, it’s just going to be a good story for your friends, but you never know.
Online dating does require a lot of time and attention if you’re really in the game. It’s exhausting, which is one reason I took a break. You definitely have to have the right attitude about it: it’s for fun, one vehicle among many in the world, and definitely not magical.
Not to worry, I’m going to keep on sharing the funny stuff. But I wanted to make it clear that I think online dating is totally legitimate, safe (if you use common sense), and possibly something I’ll return to someday. And then will immediately question why. I kid! If you’re participating in the online scene right now, good on ya; you have my empathy.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled crazy.