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Online Dating- Gift or Curse?

Image courtesy of Jeff McNeill

Technology is designed to make life simpler. At least, that’s the idea. With emails, texts and instant messages, we are tethered 24/7 with no escape.  GPS, iTunes, DVR, and millions of websites on every subject from inch worm migration to crocodile mating habits have placed the world at our fingertips. So why do we express a big sigh of relief whenever we shut off our PDA’s?

The same can be said of online dating, and I think the answer is how you view and interface with the technology to make it work for you. If you are a woman, online dating is empowering. Instead of investing your time sitting with your girlfriends in singles bars, eighties-style─hoping that the cute guy who bought you those cosmos is not a closet axe murderer, you can send him a wink online and review his dating credentials. Too many typos and fragmented sentences- delete. Too many photos of him without his shirt-delete.  Too many references to his devotion to televised sports or speed metal music, beers and chicken wings with the boys, or mentions of the ex-wife- delete. Then, it’s on to the next guy. It’s as if the man is sending you his resume. And you know ladies, it’s a test.  If his written responses are courteous and humorous, and of course focused on you, there’s that phone call to make sure he doesn’t sound like Joe Pesci’s character in “My Cousin Vinny”.  After that, a coffee date, drinks, or possibly dinner.  And if it works out, you’ve got yourself a real live man. And if his breath stinks and he’s ten years older and twenty-five pounds heavier than described in person, you get that call from your girlfriend. “Oops, I have to get up early tomorrow. It was nice meeting you.”

Guys have it made also. Sit at home in your tighty-whities and scroll through the girls who you would not have the cojones to approach in person and lay your best material on them. If you PAY ATTENTION and figure out how to navigate the paradigm laid out in the preceding paragraph, you’ll get as many shots at the title as your wallet can handle. Then it’s up to you to come through in person. If you are well-dressed, polite, articulate, and have a job or something that sounds like one, you’re on your way.

So how is this not a gift? A-ha! That’s because it’s so easy and there is always another fresh face on those dating websites. In fact, it’s actually too easy to serial-date or delete your latest partner whenever the smallest tremor hits your heart.  Sounds cold.  It is. But that’s because our dating lives can be so active that it’s easy to get pulled out by the tide and get lost in a sea of potential mates swimming in the online waters.  

So, always keep a life preserver around your heart, play safely, and have fun out there. And every so often remember to ask yourself: do I want to be dating online or do I want a relationship?