I have a bone to pick with online dating, but before I go into that, let me tell you a story.
More than 6 decades ago, my grandfather (now deceased, God rest his soul), met my grandmother the old-school way. He found her seated on a bench enjoying the serenity of the Park and like the gentleman he was, he perched his blissful bossom right next to her. I remember my grandmother telling me how ‘pleasantly rude’ she thought that gesture was.
Here was a young, handsome man (by his own standards) and here was a young, beautiful woman (by everyone’s standards) and they were ready to tango.
What attracted her to him?
Definitely not the looks. The sheer raw boldness, the macho-istic aura and the fact that he flashed a smile and extended a hand and said ‘Hi, I’m Jonathan. You can call me Jonny’
She remembered taking his hand and smiling back, concealing her approval for his invasion of her privacy, “I will call you Jonathan”. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward many years into the future
There I was, a few years ago before I met my lovely wife, trying to waddle through the musky world of dating as a millennial whilst trying to balance career expectations on one hand, influence by technology on the other and an overbearing ego in my pocket.
It was not an easy feat. I used to think that I was a handsome fella, and always loved my own reflection in the mirror every morning.
Which girl wouldn’t want to be with me?
I had good education, held an ‘Okay’ job, paid bills on time, was on my way to clearing student loans, had managed to steer out of debts, managed to keep ‘somewhat’ fit and I had a great smile. And Oh, I lived with my mom.
What more do girls want?
Apparently, much, much more, as I came to find out.
33 years old and going strong, my mother began getting worried that maybe I was gay or something. She kept pushing me to get a good girl and give her a bunch of grandchildren. As the years progressed, her expectations of the kind of girl she wanted me to have also started to diminish.
“Get any girl out there, dammit! Make me a grand mom.”
So I left my mother’s house and set myself in a nice studio apartment. I didn’t move so that I could get married, I moved so that I could avoid the constant nagging.
My mother, not one to give up easily, followed me on face time, calls in the middle of the day when I was in meetings and even tried to befriend me on Facebook. Her friend request is still pending, 3 years later.
To keep up with expectations of the society and to prove to myself that nothing was wrong with me, I decided to do what every self-respecting millennial was doing: Online dating.
Online dating Sites
I tried them all, the Naughty ones , the straight up ‘no beating around the bush’ ones such as IWantU.com and even got enrolled to free classes on EDx.org just so that I could get into Academic Singles to woo college girls.
I dumped Craiglist after I realized that a woman I had almost fallen in love with after exchanging emails and pictures for a while was actually a man.
That got me thinking.
There’s no direct interaction with who you are dating
According to Pew Research, 33.3% of people who date online have never gone on an actual date with the person they were interacting with online. Despite the trend gaining much popularity over the years, people are still very skeptical about meeting strangers in person but have no reservations doing so behind the computer.
This has enabled many of us create masks about who we are because we do not feel the pressure of having the bullshit called on us.
We can be anything we want to be behind the keyboard.
We propel the best, and mostly fabricated version of ourselves in a bid to lure some unsuspecting stranger to like us.
Does everyone lie when dating online?
I’m inclined to say Yes, but I will say that MOST people lie when dating online. I used to lie about practically everything; my age, income, height, hobbies and interests and when the conversation got intimate, I lied about some private stuff and how I’m good at doing some things.
Why do people lie when dating online?
Well, it is hard to trust a stranger. In some weird way, dating online is compared to old-school form of dating where people played ‘Catch’ with the truth about themselves before they trusted the other party enough.
There is so much bullshit going on in most online dating platforms that even when the owners of these platforms try their best to filter them, they cannot guarantee that you are not chatting with a serial Killer or psychopath.
Dating for money
The new breed of people to fear are those who do online dating as a business. Both men and women are becoming quite good at this.
The acceptance of online dating as an alternative platform to meet new people, even among people aged 50+ has created a new lake for the sharks to swim in.
These good ol’ folks are yet to catch up with the idea that these young, energetic, exotic young women promising them all sorts of pleasure they have never seen or experienced in their lifetime are after their wallets.
Many do not care, though. After all, they have some retirement schemes set somewhere and all of us will die someday, right?
Money versus six pack abs
These old folks are the ones giving the millennials a run for their money. What they lack in youthful exuberance is easily replaced with their generosity and agility to ‘give back to the society’.
In a competition between money and six pack abs, money has always taken the cup home.
How can the millennial hope to compete with that? How can one know that they are dating someone who really likes them as individuals and not the fatness of their wallets? Murky questions indeed.
Quit Online dating and try the old school method
You might get lonely at first. I know I did. And I missed my phone. Everyone I know within my age bracket and stretching 10 years back cannot survive without their mobile phones or computers for ONE day.
I tried that as a contest with my friend. By the end of the day, I was almost sick. Not knowing what’s happening at a moment’s notice was a bigger punishment than when my bike got stolen when I was a kid and mum refused to replace it (and that hurt).
If you need genuine love, you have to quit online dating for a while.
Take off the mask, meet all the frogs you can physically, kiss and evaluate them. Someday you will meet your prince. Maybe.
Some have found the elusive real love in online dating
I do not want to imply that you cannot meet genuine people online. Oh no! There ARE a tonne of them. Getting to know who they are and trusting them is the trick.
There are many beautiful stories of people who met online and have gone on to become couples and even build families.
All you need is to be careful you do not become the next piggy bank for someone looking for easy prey.
Have you ever had a conversation with a person online, a total stranger and then at some point, out of the blues, the stranger asks you for money?
The old school way of dating may seem scary and it requires some balls. But until you take the courage to do that, you will never get the girl.
However, Once you get her, it surely beats breaking nails behind a computer thinking of a thousand ways to impress her.
Explore these online dating sites with caution but remember, you might be just a part of a business transaction!