I don’t remember his name, I only vaguely remember what he looked like: he had eyes and I think he was wearing trousers. But I’ll never forget my first date with someone I met online. I remember my roommate asking me how it went the next day. I looked up from my mug of tea and grinned. “It’s like I picked it out of a catalog,” I said.
I met this man about ten years ago. Over the years, I have resorted to online dating at various times, just like many other people. Millions of other people. The number of these people is so large that Match Group, the American company that owns the largest online dating platforms-Tinder, OkCupid, Match-remain afloat with a valuation of 2.1 billion pounds on the stock market.
You can make a huge business out of our little lonely hearts. However, for people who are trying to find their love with clicks and swipes, this case is quite difficult. Over the years of online dating, I’ve learned ten important things.
People are still biased against online dating
Online dating might open up a shortcut to finding love, or something like that. But until you win the grand Prix, dating on websites seems like a last resort, a sign that you have some ineradicable flaw that prevents you from finding true love in the traditional ways: finding a stranger in a bar, meeting someone at a friend’s party, starting an intrigue with your boss. “I’m so glad I didn’t have to use dating sites,”your married friends say,” it’s just awful.” And when you ask them if any of their acquaintances are nice and free young people, they say that they are all terrible.
….but today everyone does it
If people tell you that they went on a date, there is every reason to believe that they met that person online. In the last two years, which I’ve mostly spent alone, I’ve only been asked out once by a man from Real Madrid, and he was married. Today, if you still go on a date with a person you met on the street, everyone is very surprised and shows great interest: “How-how did you meet? In real life? Tell me again how he spoke to you on the subway!”
It’s hard to choose when the choice is so large
The proliferation of dating sites and apps doesn’t mean anything good. I know a few people who found love through OkCupid and Tinder — some of them even got married — but even more people who went on two or three dates with nice people, and they subsequently gave up and disappeared after a promising start. Getting to know people is one thing, but getting to know them is a lot of effort, given that there are many other potential partners lurking in your phone. The popularity of Tinder in particular has increased the speed and volume with which we select or reject applicants. We used to read long questionnaires on websites. Today, we are furiously obsessive about scanning candidates in fractions of milliseconds. Most applications record the time when the user appears, so you can see when the person last logged in to the Network. For example, you can find out if the guy you went on a date with was looking for other candidates while you went to the bathroom in the middle of dinner (yes, he was).
This is a great way to meet interesting people
If you go on a date with a stranger who you see as a potential partner, you automatically get the right to ask very personal questions. It taught me amazing things about a guy who grew up in an extreme religious cult, a BBC celebrity, a former naval officer, and a saxophonist in an aging rock star’s touring band. I didn’t fall in love with any of them, but oh my God, what an abundance of bright personalities I met. I wouldn’t have met any of them in my immediate surroundings.
Talking to strangers isn’t so scary
I am very good at interviewing people, and I am sure that online dating has made a difference: when you become a master of one-hour conversations with strangers over a glass of beer, then it’s not at all scary to do it with recruiters.
Falling in love implies vulnerability
There’s nothing easier than getting drunk with a stranger who can’t hurt your feelings, especially when you know you have hundreds of other people in your pocket who might be better than the current applicant (everyone you don’t know yet is usually better). Perhaps online dating has solved the problem of lack of romance, but it hasn’t solved the main issue: emotional intimacy requires a lot of effort. This type of vulnerability is often seen as a sign of weakness and a source of fear. It is still considered that there is nothing more socially unacceptable than admitting that you are alone and want to be loved.
It’s not about you
Remember the guy I picked out from the catalog? After two dates, he canceled the third by email. In the letter, he described a fabulous scene: when he returned home after the weekend, he found his ex-girlfriend there, sobbing and swearing eternal love to him. “Why don’t we just stay friends?” he suggested. I was upset. Ten years later, I realized that if I wasn’t hitting on a guy on the Internet, it wasn’t me, but rather the fact that he had years of relationship experience before meeting me.
People who are” not very ” on the Internet are not better off in real life
In the early days of my online dating career, I believed that I should give men a chance if they had an interesting profile, but they were no conversationalists. Maybe he just doesn’t write as well as I do, I thought. Usually, everyone who gave me my initial doubts was never willing to get to know them better. If they don’t manage to intrigue me in the conversation before the meeting, then I delete them without hesitation.
Time is just as important as compatibility
In theory, it should be easy to find relationships on the Internet, because it is assumed that people who meet there also want it. That’s why you’re sitting there. In practice, mutual sympathy is not enough: you need to match up in the search for a certain type of relationship. The most successful relationship I’ve ever had with a dating site was a six-month affair with a French garbage truck driver who, like me, was in a transitional phase of his life, very nice, but not interested in a serious relationship.
Sometimes it’s worth taking your eyes off your smartphone
I signed up for a gym class last winter. And lo and behold, there was an attractive bachelor of the right age in my group. The intensity of the flirting increased with each passing week. At first, he praised my Gap leggings, which I bought at a discount. The following week, he volunteered to be my exercise partner. In the penultimate week, he lightly hit me in the face with the exercise machine (hopefully by mistake) and used the incident to gently stroke my forehead. “Here it is! It’s done, I thought, but when class ended and it was time to leave, he just pulled out his phone and stared at it, thoughtful and silent, as if hoping that my picture would appear on the screen. I’ve never seen him since. Except maybe on Tinder.