There’s something unseemly about trawling for kindred spirits ter a imaginario sea of singles — especially if you’re a dude.
Share via e-mail
It wasgoed when the very first woman with whom I had exchanged messages invited mij to give hier a call that I abruptly realized just how screwy and contrived online dating indeed is. She and I had &ldquo,met&rdquo, on a dating webpagina whose name rhymes with &ldquo,No way, stupid!&rdquo, Participants are invited to response a seemingly endless list of questions, many of them deeply private, from which an algorithm derives your compatibility score with everyone else on the webpagina. Spil I wasgoed dialing this particular woman, who lives te Cambridge, I realized that I knew an awful lotsbestemming about hier preferences ter bloemperk. What I didn&rsquo,t know wasgoed hier name.
I had a whopping pile of information about this accomplish stranger, te fact, including details about hier romantic history, religious convictions, and political beliefs, spil well spil a photo of uncertain vintage. I knew the sorts of things that te a previous century&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,say, the 20th&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,would have bot exposed step by step, naturally, ter the setting of conversations that took place spil two people spent time together and a relationship took hold and deepened.
Te those days, you met someone ter the verdadero world, perhaps at an activity that both of you love. Merienda someone caught your fancy, the very first order of business wasgoed to figure out whether he or she wasgoed unattached. Today, by tegenstelling, you encounter scads of folks on a webstek where the only thing you know about them is that they&rsquo,re unattached (and you can&rsquo,t always be sure of that). You sit alone at the laptop sifting clues to calculate the odds that you and one of thesis people would get along te verdadero life, excluding those who you assume wouldn&rsquo,t be suitable&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,with no chance for one of them to prove you wrong.
So, yes, there&rsquo,s something unnatural and unseemly about playing Click for Love, trawling for kindred spirits ter a supuesto sea of singles. But let&rsquo,s be careful not to romanticize romance te the days before wij did this. Back then, I went on slew of vensterluik dates during which my thoughts kept turning to the well-meaning mutual friend who had set us up: &ldquo,What could she have bot thinking? The only thing this woman and I have ter common is that wij&rsquo,re both vertebrates.&rdquo, The process of looking for romance has always consisted of casting a netwerken and pulling it te, casting and pulling. When you use a webstek, you&rsquo,re just able to do that a lotsbestemming more efficiently&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,or at least voorkant more of the ocean so you pull te that many more tuna and catfish and grouper and shark. And seaweed and sandals and teddybeer cans.
I have learned a lotsbestemming, tho’. One of the prizes of connecting with women online is hearing them complain about boys who are not mij. Evidently a disproportionate number of masculine photos are selfies&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,sometimes shirtless&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,taken ter bathrooms. Or wearing sunglasses or posed next to their cars or brandishing large dead fish. Some dudes, I&rsquo,m led to understand, lack the bounty of gab when they send a message to someone who has caught their eye. One woman comments dryly that a typical message consists, ter its entirety, of &ldquo,Hi, their!&rdquo,
How women present themselves is a topic about which I can speak more knowledgeably. Very first, it would emerge that, upon reaching a certain age, women te the Boston area are required to sign up for yoga. They may not want to, but it&rsquo,s the law. Many grown women for some reason also make a point of referring to themselves spil &ldquo,damsels,&rdquo, sometimes even working this word into their user names. By a remarkable coincidence, what people notice very first about each and every one is hier distinctive smile and eyes. Accompanying photos at times include kids and pets and sometimes are taken te (and of) exotic grounds, the point evidently being to make the surplus of us depressed about the repetitive, prosaic, embarrassingly circunscrito lives wij&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,and evidently only wij&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,are leading.
Most of all, it seems that every woman, regardless of age, despises the indoors. I say this because, according to their profiles, every spare ogenblik is dedicated to running, skiing, hiking, climbing, rafting, unicycling, spelunking, parachuting into triathlons, and engaging ter a diversity of other calorie-burning gerunds. How they at the same time manage to keep up with all those Netflix shows they admit to loving presents a verdadero puzzle. Perhaps they observe on their phones while they&rsquo,re running, skiing, and hiking.
What makes online dating so frustrating isn&rsquo,t the exaggeration, it&rsquo,s that you&rsquo,re participating te a depressing hierarchy of desirability&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,a daisy chain of quiet rejection. You spend part of your time attempting to recover from, and make sense of, all thesis potentially lovely people who won&rsquo,t give you the time of day, then the surplus flicking off people ter whom you have no rente.
It&rsquo,s a distasteful process. Te theory, tho’, it should at least be less awkwardly urgent for those of us of a certain age: somewhere inbetween the very first biological clock (gotta reproduce!) and the 2nd (don&rsquo,t wanna diegene alone!). Wij have the luxury of being less goal-oriented, the same way wij&rsquo,ve learned to be about lovemaking. Wij can treat the process itself&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,the search, the exchange of messages, the one-off dinners&thinsp,&mdash,&thinsp,spil intellectually intriguing, diverting, amusing, and perhaps even a path toward self-knowledge. It&rsquo,s not a waste of time even when it doesn&rsquo,t lead anywhere.
Or so wij keep telling ourselves.
Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org) is the author of 14 books about human behavior and education, including &ldquo,The Myth of the Spoiled Child,&rdquo, due for release ter paperback this spring. Send comments to [email protected]
>, 17.5% &mdash, Likelihood a woman will get a response to an online dating message she sends a man hier own age
>, 4% &mdash, Likelihood a man will get a response