Young, Fun, and Online Dating
Online dating – it’s not a new concept. By now, via the virtues of advertising and such, I think most of us are familiar with the dating sites (complete with their own little gimmick or kink) whether we’re using them or not. Recently there was a fairly entertaining account of one man’s foray into twenty-eight dates with twenty-eight different women in the September issue of Elle, bemoaning his lack of success with women at the beginning in spite of his successful career, mostly-intact sanity and 70% of his entire head of hair. But that’s the clincher with these online matchmakers: so many of its clientele appear to be mature professionals – but are they really?
My mate Peter, shall we call him, is registered on about three websites. He has had about two serious girlfriends; he graduated a year ago from university and now is convinced that he’ll never meet anyone again. He is twenty-two. “It’s just too hard to meet people once out of education,” he says. “Apart from work – where do you go?” Peter has a penchant for the melodramatics but in this case his question held a tinge of truth. When office romances are advised against and you’ve exhausted your friends’ greatest resources – their single friends – where do you go?
The younger generation, outside of these institutes of work and education, has turned to the one tool that has never let us down yet: technology.
Yet somehow we still retain a slightly snobbish tone when it comes to that concept. Dating websites? Meeting someone online? How desperate, we might think, wrinkling our noses. I know I was slightly surprised when Peter mumbled his confession about signing onto the sites – and then another one of my friends sheepishly admitted to trying them too. Being in your early twenties and that stereotype of ‘young and fun’ hanging over our heads might in this case hinder more than help; the unsaid whisper of what’s wrong with you keeping even the most outspoken quiet on the subject. But why should we be ashamed when a solution comes through in the form of the internet – the resource we’ve been using all of our life?
Peter’s had some pretty spectacularly unsuccessful dates. One told him she wasn’t ‘ready for a relationship’ after only two meet-ups; another lied about her age and told him she was nineteen when she was actually – cringe – sixteen. But he laughs about them with me afterwards, and tells me it feels good to be actually doing something about it. To be pro-active.
So maybe online dating is just another way of following that age-old adage that your nan used to say: you won’t meet anyone unless you get out there. Perhaps that’s all it is: another way of ‘getting out there’, no matter how old you are.
Image courtesy of huffingtonpost.com