Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Digital Dating: Going out on dat-a(s)?

So, in recent months, I finally broke down and decided to give the old online dating thing a shot. I mean, "everyone's doing it" (and no, if everyone jumped off of a bridge, I would not be flinging my body on top of the rest of them). It's not because I'm even particularly lonely, but I feel as though I'm good and solid and whole, and ready to have someone else in my life, even as a casual, see you every once in a while thing. However, dating, even online, is not as easy as it looks.

I joined up on OkCupid!, you know, that free online dating site that everyone's joining, because 1) It's free, and 2) it's the first non-pay site that actually kind of behaves like the pay sites. What I liked best about this site was that you could rate people's profiles 1-5 stars and, if that person rated you the same, you'd get a message saying that it was a mutual match. That way, no harm done, you could secretly and slyly find out whether someone you dug, dug you as well.

After the past several months of getting mutual like messages, and follow-ups from eager men fresh on the scent of the chase, and having a few interesting phone calls, a date or two here or there, or an endless volley of emails that led to a dead-end, where conversations dropped like lead weights into a boundless ocean, I became increasingly aware that maybe the free and boundless nature of online dating offered too much choice.

Case in point, I was talking to a guy who seemed absolutely enamored with me. Every letter, he'd go on about how attractive he found me. We had many, many things in common. I mean, so many things, it was almost uncanny. We chattered on back and forth for about 5 or 6 rounds of emails when I decided to round up an email casually offering my phone number to invite him to take our conversation to the next *gasp* level. He replied enthusiastically and offered his number as well, and said that he didn't know WHEN he would call, but that he'd stored my number. I replied back casually, but I knew that, after the number exchange, there were only two choices: A phone call or drop the conversation altogether. What did he do? You're right if you guessed that I haven't heard a squeak from him since.

On the one hand, I guess it's better to know right off the bat if a guy is a coward or emotionally immature, or even if he's "just not that into you." However, I mean to say that, with the advent of Internet dating, people are able to peruse online profiles of potential mates at will. For many men, who, biologically have more of an inclination to be visually attracted to a mate, the variety could be mind-blowing, and, therefore, making a decision on one woman could prove nearly impossible. To further elucidate on this idea, say I need a new raincoat. I could go to the store and find a raincoat, and likely will settle on one I find that fits well and is the right style and price. However, if I go online, I may wind up with several choices, making the final purchase incredibly difficult to decide on, with such a vast selection at my fingertips.

Of course, it's not all black-and-white as that, but I think that the detached browsing functionality of sites makes the whole dating process a bit more difficult. I find myself falling victim to that "plenty of fish in the sea" mentality also. Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but you shouldn't look a good guppy in the mouth...er...you know what I mean.

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