I’m sure I probably don’t even need to tell you that being single and approaching forty was never really in my plans for my life. I’m sometimes still in shock when I think about it and realise that from here on it it’s all about preservation in my body and my health. Preservation and concealment. 🙂
Part of being single these days, which you all who married before 2004 probably never had to contemplate unless you were particularly geeky, (you know who you are) is the wonderful world of online dating. Now, please let me be clear, I have only dipped my toes into this pool and usually run away screaming pretty quick each time. But I’m a single gal living in London and what I haven’t experienced myself I have observed in my number of friends who also internet date and it feels really frustrating that this seems to be the only way to meet men who might actually be interested in a relationship. Oh yeah, you meet a lot of men who are interested in a whole lot, erm, less than that too, but I’m going to try not to think about that side of things too much.
So what exactly don’t I like about it? Of course I have a bit of a list that I’ve been compiling in my head for years now which I think I need to unburden onto you:
- It feels way too much like my job. I work in recruitment, I have to filter and sift candidates, set up interviews, ask a whole lot of questions in interviews, do the admin related to it and answer emails. Internet dating feels really, really, similar and it is quite honestly the last thing I want to do when I get home after a long day, or, if I’ m honest in the loos at work in a quiet moment. Not that I do that of course (my work has basically no space for staff to sit and relax in, the toilets are now my spot I’ve realised)
- Things can be really false, you portray yourself as this amazingly energetic person who loves rock climbing (look I have a picture of me doing it – see) and long walks on the beach etc. When the reality is most weekends you’re at home making friends with your favourite box set. You know too? I kinda hold out hope that someone might like me for some of my flaws, the sales pitch just feels a bit exhausting. And I don’t trust that the guys aren’t doing the same. I’ve had friends who’ve been burned by this, getting involved with someone based on their profile and finding out a few months down the track it really wasn’t accurate.
- Meeting people through your natural life and movements somehow feels a lot more real than the internet. You could be in a really bad place, but as long as you can make yourself sound half normal and load a nice enough photo, you’ll get interest. You might be getting over any number of traumas, but hey as long as you don’t come across too crazy in the initial contact you’ll be fine. In real life, you might meet through friends, social connections, work and get a whole lot of time to observe the person, seek other opinions and let things develop. I would much rather that. In real life you might also get warned away from someone as well by a friend who knows things. You have none of this with the internet.
- Which brings me to, it can be too much intimacy, too soon. I’ve found there are two types of guys on the sites. Those that want to meet almost immediately and those that want to chat forever. I’m not sure I like either, but I lean towards the former as my preferred approach. I read a wonderful article in the New York Times that talks about what it takes to fall in love. I think you gotta be careful who you talk to so much so you don’t start getting too intimate before you’ve really checked out if they’re crazy or not.
- You get stood up if you come across as the kind of girl they could get serious about I think. Well that’s what I am guessing it was. I chatted to some lovely guys last year, but they always cancelled at the last minute. I think they were chicken.
- Oh and I saved the best for last about what I hate about dating sites, the Christian ones. Where do I start. Mostly the guys seem to be on there looking for this Madonna-like woman (the Virgin Mother, not the scantily-dressed singer) who’s going to embody the Proverbs 31 (literal transition) wife and then some. I’ve been asked to write essays on how I know I’m truly ‘saved’, read through long lists of their requirements and been offended by questions that I think are sexual but I’m thankfully too naive to really understand. Oh and yeah there was the special gem who explicitly right at the top of his profile said if you were over 35 to please NOT contact him, he was sick of having to deal with women with wrinkles and shrivelling ovaries (so I added the last part, but I know that’s what he meant). I think that actually made me cry when I read that, until I got angry and tried to fight the urge to ask him what he’d been doing all his adult life. Anyway. it’s pretty much been one negative experience after another and that is without really going on dates.
This list is not exhaustive or complete, but I hope you at the last found it amusing. Life as a single girl in London is a jungle.
Needless to say, despite some nagging from well-meaning friends I’m not on internet dating at the moment.