Saturday, August 29, 2009

On dating online

Speaking of dating...
I just realized I have music from every one of my past significant others—except the one who was a music major. Interesting.
So, have you ever used an online dating service? Are you too embarrassed to admit it? These virtual lonely hearts clubs are treated with skepticism by the socially higher-functioning among us, but I figure they have their merits. How else are shy people like me going to find each other? I have met a few of my favorite people through dating sites (not that we're actually dating now or anything). But meeting people online definitely has its drawbacks.

Outside of dating sites, how do people meet each other? Maybe they are coworkers. They get to know each other through work, and then they start meeting each other outside of work. If they're in school, they obviously meet each other in class, then they arrange study groups after class, and then study sessions in dark janitorial closets after the school has closed. Or perhaps they start chatting on the subway and go home with each other's numbers. Later on, they meet for coffee. Sometimes one of them hollers at the other out the window of the car. People seem to think that's a good idea, but frankly I have my doubts as to its success rate. But the point is, there's an established sequence for things, and it involves a timeframe that spans several days, weeks, or maybe even months.

There is something about online interaction that makes people lose all sense of the proper romancing procedure. Let's say you're acting out scenario a: You're chatting with a new coworker you think is the bee's knees. After two minutes of getting to know each other, do you then strip off all your clothes and say, "Hey, whaddaya think? How would you like a piece of that?" So what makes people on dating sites think it's acceptable to send you nude pictures of themselves as soon as you're finished with the introductions?

How about scenario c: meeting on the subway. Let's say you're chatting with a stranger you think is the cat's pajamas. You tell them your name; they tell you theirs. Do you then say, "Hey, now that we know each other, let's have a hug!"? So why do people that meet you for the first time on a blind date want to start things out with an introductory embrace?

And why do they assume that they are going to want to spend hours and hours with you the first time you meet? I have recently talked to several people that I met online, with whom I've either planned and carried out, or merely discussed, an actual date. An overwhelming number of them (ahem, that is 2 out of 2. I'm easily overwhelmed) expressed disappointment with my plan to meet for dinner and then call it a night. They responded with things like, "I'd rather see you all three days," and, "Just dinner? Why not something afterward?" Why not spend all night together? Why not meet and then just never part?

Did it ever occur to these guys that I'm not such great company? Did they ever imagine that after having dinner, they might want to call it a night? I don't care if you think someone is the monkey's cufflinks based on a few emails and online chats; what's wrong with making sure you really like being around them before committing hours of your life into their hands?

Am I just cold and heartless, or are these guys just overenthusiastic? Either way, I think it's time to add another clause to Valerie's Guide to Dating Valerie:

5. You can't hurry love.
If you think you want to be with me, you have to be willing to take it slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo - wait - what was I talking about?


Anonymous said...

From Julie: My guess is that online dating runs the same risks as other kinds of dating: a high rate of finding losers who only want someone for sex, or who have really selfish attitudes and think that talking all night to you is your dream come true. Anyway, if at first you don't succeed... don't be surprised, just try, try, try again... and cut things short with weirdos early.