Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Plan B of Dating
A friend of mine who recently discovered this online diary of mine shared some gems he'd learned about online dating through a slightly more scientifically themed study he'd done for school a few years ago (like an actual study, not this daily electronic attempt to make sense of this confusion that I do!). Besides his discovery that more women smile in their profile pictures than men do and more men use negative statements like "I don't want" while women tend to use the flip of that stating what they are looking for in a mate, he shared with me that many people who are online dating view it as a last resort. Using this year (and this blog) as a period of self-discovery, I pondered this for a while. Here's what I came up with:
I don't think you'll ever meet anyone who will openly tell you that their dream is to meet the love of their life online, unless they're a part of some strange reality show (or To Catch a Predator) and that surely isn't the case with me either. Although I wouldn't be ashamed to say that my husband/boyfriend and I met via an online dating site because I think that the stigma has worn off (just a bit) and thanks to clever marketing by Match.com and other sites, it's becoming more and more obvious that online dating is a primary player in the social networking market. I do think that some still view it as an opportunity to make connections for people who have no social skills (hence the reason for all of the smiley, out-going, trendy people on the eHarmony success commercials) and I can honestly say that there are a lot of people on these sites who have probably never felt comfortable in a single social situation in their lives. I've met a few. I've gone out with a few. They are out there. Five minutes spent on any dating website and you'll instantly see that, at least as far as the male options are concerned (no bias here, just not cruising for chicks!), there is a prevalence of people in the IT and Computer Technology industries. Nothing against those people at all (they make a ton more money than I do and thank God for them when I get repeated "System performed an illegal operation and must shut down" messages. How the heck does the system perform a function that it itself doesn't allow?!), but they do tend, generally speaking, to be a bit more introverted and more comfortable in front of a computer monitor than face-to-face. So, is online dating their last resort or simply a benefit of modern technology, finally allowing them a social outlet in which they can thrive?
I know this sounds overly optimistic coming from someone who has had absolutely zero success with online dating over a history of many years and many more attempts. But, the way I look at it is, I'll always have online dating. If all else fails, I can always count on at least being able to have the opportunity to meet someone via an online dating site, all depending on how much effort I put into it. And that effort can run simulataneously to real world endeavors.
Don't get me wrong for one second, my heart's desire is to meet someone in the real world. You can't tell me that no one I have ever or will ever come across in my life isn't "the one" or have a connection to "the one." I don't buy that. I have a sneaking suspicion that even if I were to meet "him" through some online communication, there will be some personal connection beyond electronic, either a mutual friend, the same previous workplace or some other random commonality in the history of our lives. I kind of feel like online dating is making me a better dater in general, all in preparation for the final "first date." And if I do meet "him" online somehow, imagine the years of conversations we'll be able to maintain with stories about how hard it was for me to finally find him!
What do you think, Singletons and Marrieds? Is or was online dating your last resort? Did/do you feel like you've tried everything else to meet your soul mate and online dating is the only thing left? Or does it complement your other strides towards Coupledom?