It wasn’t all that long ago that I thought matchmaking in any form was not the best of ideas. Then several years back I did what millions of people did. I joined an online dating service. It took a lot of courage to go through the process of writing up a good profile, choosing some choice photos, and then actually making the profile active. Going on one of these types of sites takes some getting use to, learning the ropes and navigating your way around. Like a vacation or a new job, you really need some time to settle in, get the hang of it, and feel comfortable enough to breathe again. You dip your big toe in the pool, then the entire foot, grimacing at the cold water, and finally you just say “to hell with it” and take the plunge.
And then all of a sudden the “winks” start coming in, the emails from strangers, telling you they liked your photo, or highlighting some part of your profile that attracted them or things you might have in common. It’s such a strange feeling. It isn’t like a natural meeting, a chance run-in, a little flirting across the room, and the wonder of could they be the one? No, you have put yourself out there, and everyone knows exactly what everyone else is looking for. I felt like nothing more than an advertised Russian bride looking for an American husband to save me. Shudder.
But I do understand why people have flocked to these sites. With so many older people now single, it is hard to meet someone. It beats going out to bars, joining some club or activity that you’re not really into, or depending on your co-workers or friends to set you up with their newly single friend.
People have become so busy that finding someone to date is just one more thing to add to the to do list, right between grocery shopping and making a dental appointment. So it’s much easier to join the world of online dating, coming home after a long day of work to an inbox full of eligible dates. Actually, more like an inbox full of several people that you reject (kindly, of course) and maybe one that could possibly squeak by into the “worth writing back” category.
Dating in today’s online world is kind of like starting your own small business. It involves a lot of set-up, networking, interviewing, hiring and firing. It’s so hard to get a decent staff! And no sooner than one of your employees (dates) seems to be doing a good job, you’ll have to let him go as you find him dipping in the till or using the company computer for all kinds of things he shouldn’t be using the computer for! Metaphor here people.
But this is the way of the future. Strike that, the present, the now, it is here, it is what it is. Just as text messages have replaced phone calls, skyping has replaced a visit, and Facebook messages have become a main way of communicating, dating sites don’t seem that foreign or bizarre to me anymore. They have their place, their purpose.
But eventually your little business starts to grow and you now have a staff you can count on. So, these dates that didn’t pan out now fit into different categories; the “friends” category, or the “helpful people” category, helping with employment leads or other opportunities. But most just seem to fill in the part-time and temporary positions, your relationship with them lasts about as long as a latte, very short lived. But if you’re lucky, and stick with it long enough, there might just be one that shows up, and you offer him a full-time position.