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Online dating: Same problems, different platform

Online-Dating

I have recently written a feature about couples who met online.

It is on the rise, this online dating thing, I’m told.

I spoke to a pair who met on match.com, one couple who met on Facebook’s ‘Are You Interested’ app and one couple who met on MySpace.

Two of my friends have found their now boyfriends on free dating website Plenty Of Fish, or POF.com.

Time to get my single arse online, I thought, and made a profile.

It didn’t take me long to realise: Those people were lucky bastards.

The sea is full of horrible fish!

I understand you men can’t all be my personal Mr Right – nice smile, beautiful eyes, stunning body, oozing with intelligence, brimming with jokes, etc. But, can’t you at least make a decent profile?

When I say decent, I mean use punctuation, start your sentences with capital letters, check your spelling, use pictures, in which I can see your whole face, not just parts of it, in which your eyes are open, and which show you as a happy individual, not a manic depressive.

Rummaging through 21 pages of nine male profiles each, I concluded the following: 90% of the men on there are strange, weird or creepy, 5% are arrogant twats, 3% arrogant twats seeking casual sex and 2% genuine, interesting and potentially pleasant.

It’s almost like going to Dogma on a Saturday night! Oh wait, it is exactly like going to Dogma on a Saturday night.

(not from Notts? Dogma is a bar in the city centre with a downstairs area that turns into a club at night. While it isn’t different from any other bars most nights of the week, Saturdays tend to attract a disproportionately high amount of creepy old men who hit on anything with pair of breasts and a pulse.)

I am amazed at how shamelessly so many men push their agenda online too! If you put up a profile picture showing nothing but a six pack, a personality description that doesn’t say more than ‘I like to have fun. Message me if you wanna find out more. X’, and tick the box for ‘seeking dating but nothing serious’ or ‘casual’ and ‘no commitment whatsoever’, you might as well just put ‘Wanna have sex?’ in your headline.

I have had a few messages already, which, thankfully, did not say those words. But, they were equally as ridiculous. “Why aren’t you in jail? It’s illegal to look that good.”? Seriously?

“If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together” is another excellent example.

These people must be having a laugh. They can’t actually be expecting a response, can they?

Men using pictures of themselves with what seem to be their ex partners are also hilarious. What goes on in their minds? “If I put a picture of me and an ex-girlfriend, all the women out there will know I’m capable of having one” …?

In some of the photos, they look really happy and in love. I barely ever want to know about the ex-girlfriend(s), let alone have a picture of her be the first thing I see of my date.

One guy obviously thought he was hilarious when uploading a photo of him, together with a girl and writing this headline: ‘That’s my sis by the way….not an ex haha’.

Brilliant.

The whole concept of online dating is still something I have to get used to. I judge men by their picture, their self characterisation, punctuation and grammar. But if I met someone outside of the internet, I might not care about whether he uses full-stops and commas in his texts.

Maybe I would have a laugh over which pictures he’d think he looked good in.

All sorts of new tools now mean you can now see exactly who has looked at what. You can receive and send ‘winks’ or ‘flirts’, show an interest in meeting someon or request the right to “chat”.

But what if you send someone a virtual flirt and he doesn’t respond?

I braved my first such online dating step and sent off one of those tacky functions the other day. I ignored the advice on the website which said: “You’re much more likely to get a response if you send a message”, because I was too scared to compose one.

I had picked one of the three normal guys I could find that day, whose profile actually made me laugh.

I sent it and felt like such a player.

But then I didn’t get a response. Within seconds, I was notified that he had checked out my profile.

Minutes later, sill no message. Not even a cheeky flirt, or wink, or virtual tickle. Nothing.

Was my profile too full-on?, I started wondering. Was I making jokes no one can understand because there is no font for sarcasm? Should I have chosen different pictures? Should I have not said that I was, in fact, looking for a ‘relationship’? Did that scare him off? Why didn’t he like me?

And so the obsessive self-doubting began.

Girls love to do that, don’t we? And it’s very easy to – in any situation. You pick one guy, who isn’t a complete lunatic, put all your hopes on him and feel hugely disappointed if the interest isn’t reciprocated.

It seems as though the problems are the same online as they are in the real world, but everything is sped up.

In life, you might meet someone – maybe even on a night out at Dogma, hit it off, go on a date and only then, you start to obsess over why he hasn’t called or texted back or why he has ignored your last Facebook message, your recent tweet or comment on Instagram.

Well, girls! Let’s try to obsess less. As I am told, tens of thousands of new people join online dating websites every day, so there is still hope.

And boys, don’t worry about us, we’re fine!

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