For the last year or so there have been a slew of articles debating whether online dating is killing monogamy, traditional dating, marriage prospects, sanity etc for reasons ranging for decreased real communication to increased promiscuity. Additionally I keep coming across folks giving dating advice that ends with rallying calls to action like “Finally, get out from behind your computer and go meet people in the real world! Wink at that cute someone at the bar! Say hello to that guy you’ve eyed at the coffee shop! The real world is so much better than the internet!”
I say, “Eff that noise!”
Seriously, just typing those sentences made me feel like there was a hand around my throat.
I love online dating. Love it. I think it is a terrific way to meet people and for some of us, the only way we will do it. I know, I know some of you are like “But Bedhead, the internet didn’t always exist. What would you have done before?” Honestly? I really think that without online dating I would be one of those people whose family talks about them behind their backs saying things like “she used to be married, now she has cats” For reals. The internet has offered me a way into the dating world that I am comfortable with and that, I imagine works for many others too. I will now explain the reasons online dating rocks my freaking face off and might do the same for you.
1. It lets put your personality on paper (or, you know, internet)
Seriously, I’m pretty cool (and so modest!) but I’m also a raging introvert which means I will not compete for attention, I will not try to get your attention and I will not shout over other people. I shine one on one and the whole bar scene thing doesn’t really allow for that. Further, in that type of situation, many people are presenting their best selves, I am however probably at my worst. Online dating allows me a forum to put my personality out there and say “Okay, this is me” giving folks a much better idea of who I am than they would ever get at a party or bar.
2. It can potentially eliminate small talk
I hate small talk. Like really, really hate it. Like I kind of can’t do it. Online dating allows you some ways around this. First off you can establish some rapport before you meet by messaging which I love – it’s great to just continue a conversation you were already having rather than do the awkward “So, it’s nice out today” nonsense. Further to this I’ve incorporated something into my profile to get us talking right away: I have a tattoo in Italian that is tricky to translate so, on my profile I challenge them to try. It usually starts a conversation as I geek out pretty hard explaining the translation. The phrase “second person singular imperative of a reflexive verb”might happen. Once a guy declared that explanation to be “grammar porn” and we spent several messages speculating as to what would happen in grammar porn (entitled Cunnilinguistics, obviously) – I was super-comfortable going into that date because I knew that that dude got me. Which leads us to…
3.It helps you make sure folks get you BEFORE you go out (or even speak)
Seriously. My profile opens with a Super Mario Brothers reference, quotes Will Smith’s Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, mentions the 1980 Olympic hockey team and straight-up tells folks I don’t want to have to be explaining references and humor to them (I’m giving you guys links because I love you- prospective dates get no such help). If someone reads that and still writes to me there’s a good chance they are picking up what I’m putting down and we won’t end up on that date from hell where I realize that no matter how much I quote Ghostbusters he’s never going to laugh or that if I share my sincere hope that Lisa, Angela Pamela and Renee met up with Michelle, Tamika and Tanya for a party he’s just going to ask if they are people I went to college with.
4. It lessens stranger danger
For me new people are very scary. Seriously. So, if they approach in public I am most likely going to try avoid talking to them. This is why I tend to wear headphones and carry a book. I will never be the star of one of those sweet “we met one day at the park” stories. Online dating creates a forum for strangers to approach me, for me to feel it out, take my time and respond if I feel safe. Do I still sometimes end up in “stranger danger” situations? Yes. But I feel much safer
5. It allows for very clear stating of intentions
Something you hear about all the time are couples where one person wants more of a commitment than the other. Now sometimes this is because one person wants a commitment and the other person doesn’t want that commitment with them specifically but other times it’s because one partner is just not looking to settle down. Online dating gives you the forum for making that perfectly clear right from the beginning. In fact, for a while, even though my profile stated I was looking for “short-term dating” (or something like that) I kept getting these men who were looking for commitments. They were convinced that we should date and I would change my mind because everyone loves love and women especially want to have many, many bay-bees!! Well, me not so much. I finally put a disclaimer in my profile, a paragraph devoted to making it clear that I am not looking for a spouse, I was for-real dating casually. This resulted in my meeting guys who were also okay with that. Some of them I dated for a little while, some of them became friends, one of them somehow become a boyfriend but whatever the relationships became, we were on the same page going in and grew our expectations together.
For me online dating has allowed me to date (a lot) on my own terms. I’ve never waited around for someone to notice me. I’ve never given someone my number and then agonized over whether someone would call (PS- I loathe the phone). I’ve never had my friend ask if her husband’s friend is single and might be interested. The thought of all of those things makes my stomach turn and if that was dating I would declare myself done with it right now. Online dating might not be the right answer for everyone but it’s an amazing tool for those of us who may have otherwise opted out of the dating scene. So, yeah, when I’m in the mood for a hot date, you’ll definitely find me behind my computer.