The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Piña coladas and carry-on baggage limits: what they won’t tell you about internet dating

with 6 comments

Internet dating. The virtual park bench for loitering 21st century singles looking for love. A quagmire of lies, sexual tension, three-year-old profile pictures and ticking biological clocks.

I’ve dangled my toes into the cold, often choppy waters of online courting on several occasions through websites like RSVP, but have stagnated while using Oasis Active. To be fair, most of the torpidity I’m currently experiencing can be blamed on my sporadic use of the website, and the fact that I’m not really taking it all that seriously. That said, I am convinced that part of the issue is that it’s a free website, which means that anyone can join on a whim, either out of boredom (guilty) or because they see it as an easy – and cost-effective – way to line up as much casual sex as they can. The result is that there’s no filter for high maintenance psychopaths, sex-crazed philanderers or plain old idiots. Buyer beware: with free internet dating, you get what you pay for.

While carrying out a lackadaisical appraisal of my apparent matches and reading Miss Maribel Maeve’s candid recollections of her internet dating experiences, I began to ponder whether or not I’d learnt anything during my time searching for love via a prepaid broadband connection. What I came up with was a realisation that regardless of which website you use, or whether you look at male or female profiles, some things are never as they seem.

I’m sorry ma’am, you can’t bring that into the cabin

“Honestly, it was all carry-on last time.” Source: marthastewardess.com

I know we all have some emotional paraphernalia – it’s something that’s impossible to move forward through life without accumulating, but some people seem to have difficulty estimating how heavy their bags are. While a tote or cabin bag is generally the accepted standard, some individuals can’t travel without a full set of luggage, even on an overnight jaunt. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining: not only is your bag well over 23kg, the zipper is fucked and one of the wheels has fallen off.

Personally, I prefer something that fits comfortably in the in the overhead locker, but each to their own.

There’s occasional, and then there’s internet dating occasional

If someone says in their profile that they are an occasional smoker, don’t be surprised when they make a beeline for the door every fifteen minutes, desperately fumbling for the lighter that they only had their hands two mouthfuls of their drink ago. Things are different in the online dating universe, and words don’t always keep their true meaning. People need to upsell. Think about it in this context: if you were selling a used car, would you want potential buyers knowing about the appalling noises coming from the engine before they fell in love with the leather interior and kick-ass sound system? No, you’d want them smitten with the two dozen speakers and sound quality as it dawned on them that the engine noise was a little more constant than the ad indicated.

Should your date define themselves as a regular smoker, prepare a Skype link-up to the smoking area if you are expecting a decent conversation. If they get through less than half a packet in the first few hours, they aren’t really trying.

Occasional is as occasional does. Source: oasisactive.com

Pictures may not lie, but they may be a little forgetful, especially after three years

Unless they specify that the photo of them at what looks like a millennium party was taken in mid-2011 at a Noughties theme night, you need to assume that the snap is as old as everyone’s Y2K fears.

I don’t know why, but some people refuse to upload recent photos, and then seem genuinely bemused by you wanting to walk out on the date. My best personal example of this phenomenon? I had a date with a woman whose profile picture turned out to be not only about three years old, but taken prior to her putting on over thirty kilograms. She looked nothing at all like her photograph, so much so that I didn’t recognise her when she walked into the bar. While I may not be all that and a bag of chips, at least people will know what sort – and quantity – of chips they’re getting when they look at my profile.

While on the subject on profile pictures, if someone only wants to display photos of their dog, feline friends or the random garden gnomes that they’ve amassed, run away. Fast. Can you say crazy cat lady?

Profile picture similar to this? Don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Source: inthemix.com.au

Cliché overload

Seriously, if as many people actually liked piña coladas and strolls during periods of precipitation as they professed to online, Australian retailers would sell tens of billions of dollars worth of white rum and umbrellas annually. If everyone was as laid back and relaxed as their profiles suggested, the country would slow to the point of being comatose and pharmaceutical companies would go bankrupt due to the drop in Prozac, Xanax and Valium sales.

The cliché situation is really that bad on dating websites. Don’t believe me? Spend a few minutes perusing any of them, and then send me your letter of apology, clearly stating that you will never doubt me again.

Online dating: more cocktail umbrellas than you can poke a stick at. Source: cocktailequipment.com

So there you go. Let’s hear your online dating stories.

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Written by disseminatedthought

December 5, 2011 at 21:28

6 Responses

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  1. Hehehe 🙂 LOVE the baggage reference and imagery…so true. OK so I met LOTS of really, genuine nice men online (paid site). However, I think that online dating is like being in a giant candy shop and being asked to pick just one yummy. Everyone on there is looking for a companion at the least….and looking….and looking…and looking. So, even if you connect, there’s always another sweet treat in their inbox. Brilliant! Love your post. 🙂

    missmaribelmaeve

    December 5, 2011 at 21:54

    • I’ve met some fantastic women too, but the proportion is minuscule compared to the number of people that I’ve spoken to. Had I known that I’d be writing a blog piece about internet dating, I would have kept statistics about the chat:date conversion rate – at least that would have made the post sound a little bit objective.

      Confectionery shops are awesome.

      disseminatedthought

      December 5, 2011 at 22:08

  2. Strange enough my husband and I meant through an internet dating site. He was using because his job includes loads of travel. I used it so I could have the self esteem boost of, “I still got it,” while being responsible with my baggage and avoiding dating. He paid for it and I used an advertised free weekend thing. Needless to say after getting my number and talking for 2 months, he asked me on a real date. Best date ever and now we are married.
    Things happen if they are suppose to, I suppose. But, internet dating definitely redefines what you want, what you’ll put up with, and what you think are deal breakers. And I never got the people who don’t own up to baggage, old pics, or other secrets always seem to think they are better than you…

    thefutureofhope

    December 7, 2011 at 00:20

    • That’s the thing: as perverse as internet dating may be, it works for so many people.

      If nothing else, my online romance adventure has provided a great chance for introspection. As you said, it certainly makes you reassess what it is that you actually want, and how far you’re prepared to deviate from your “ideal” match. Also, I should probably be grateful that it’s provided me with so much amusement and ammunition for blog pieces.

      disseminatedthought

      December 7, 2011 at 05:45

  3. Alternatively, you could just troll a blog and strike up a conversation.

    leeschmidt

    February 6, 2012 at 21:40


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