Years ago, the idea of using a dating website deemed you a pathetic loser, geeky or unable to get a date – in my case the geek label probably holds true. However, attitudes have changed somewhat and the majority of people on internet sites (paid subscriptions not chat rooms) are in most respects normal, professional people who are either; looking for the right person, serial daters or simply curious. In fact, I read an article that stated approximately 5 million Britons are using internet dating sites. So does it work? As a self- confessed veteran of internet dating, I will attempt to relive past & recent experiences, then it’s up to you to form an opinion…
This is the point where I bare my soul. I started dating at the age of 20 – yes, I know pretty old considering these days children half that age are getting pregnant! In all honesty when I was in my teens I wasn’t remotely interested in boys my own age, instead I felt an attraction for men almost twice my own. Having gone to an all girls secondary school up until the age of 18, where my only focus was studying hard, romance was never given a second thought until I came to London to study at university. The difference being that I was now studying in a predominantly male field (Physics), although you’d think that being a girl with a wide selection of intelligent men, the odds of me dating a guy at uni were far greater than of meeting one on an internet dating site; the truth was that I found internet dating far easier.
There are a plethora of reasons why people find it easier to meet potential mates online than in everyday life. For me it was and still is genuine shyness. Although there were and still are times when I know men are attracted to me, they more often than not are waiting for my signal that I’m interested, and I just can’t do it! Besides, I’m more comfortable expressing emotion via words in a blog than by speech or body language. Apart from overcoming shyness, another benefit of internet dating is that you don’t have the awkwardness that if it doesn’t work out then you won’t bump into them at work or at social gatherings. Most people that haven’t experienced online dating assume that the best way to find someone is to hang out at a bar or pub. Granted, as a non-drinker, I could prey on drunken men and take advantage of them, but that’s not really my style 😉
Meeting in a bar versus via the net:
At a bar: It’s only human nature (ahem shallowness) that men approach women purely on a physical basis, at this stage the man has nothing else to go on. You start chatting without knowing a lot about them…
Online: Depending on how perceptive you are, analysing what’s written in someone’s dating profile, the emails they send, phone conversations, you build a picture of what they’re like as a person. Taking time to get to know someone and then meeting appeals to me more than the bar type scenario. The only disadvantage is if you don’t find them attractive, can just personality/intelligence ever be enough?
Years ago, I was browsing the internet and I came across an advert for datingdirect.com. Curious, I decided to search men in my area and complete a profile. Then I suddenly started getting messages off other members, replying only to those that could manage to string together more than just a one-liner ‘hey babe’ response. Initially, I wasn’t purposely looking for the ‘perfect’ man as I was only in my early twenties and had no real experience of relationships; one thing that I was sure of was that I wanted to meet someone that was reasonably well-educated. I recall one date with a public school/LSE educated economist in his early thirties. We met a couple of times; he seemed like a nice guy but noticed he was a little timid. Anyway, he invited me one evening to his place for dinner, we had good conversation, and then he gives me a tour of his flat finally ending up in his bedroom – at which point he says that he has something to show me (I know what you’re thinking!). He bizarrely opens one of his cupboards to reveal dominatrix style magazines, not knowing what to say, he then proceeded to tell me that although he’s successful and earns lots of money in his professional life, he conversely prefers to be submissive when in a relationship with a woman. Out comes his whip and dog collar, he then kneels on the floor asking me to whip him whilst wanting me to tell him that he’s worthless, stupid… I try my best not to laugh at this point, but before I make my polite excuses and a sharp exit, I just had to whip him once; I mean how often does an Asian girl get to torture a White posh man 😉
Unperturbed by that experience, I meet a film director called Alex, who completely blew me away with his over 6ft frame, blonde hair, blue eyes and German accent. He picks me up in his black sports car and takes me to a fancy restaurant. All I could think was why someone this good-looking would need to use a dating site, although he was very beautiful to look at, our conversation revolved around him working with celebrities, which became a little boring after a while, but he was a genuinely nice gentleman. This proved to me that although attraction is an important element, for me that alone isn’t enough.
Most recently, I haven’t really been actively looking. Just before Christmas, I met an older man (40’s) who was a barrister. He was very articulate, generous but he had an interest in naked parties. Yes, again I end up meeting someone who on the surface you’d never expect would have a peculiar fetish. I ended up going to one such party (as you do), which was very exclusive, full of people who just liked walking around naked. I stayed in my clothes for the duration. It was interesting to see what these parties consist of, but I just wasn’t interested, so I didn’t see him again…
After that I went on a couple of dates with a normal guy, who I did actually like. He’d just come out of a long-term relationship and over dinner we started talking about our experiences, and he admitted that he had cheated on his partner with a girl a couple of times. Although he regrets his actions, for me, faithfulness is an absolute requirement, what’s to say that if we ended up together, he wouldn’t do that to me. Starting off not trusting someone is never a good idea!
My close friend, Jessica, recently put me on a site called mysinglefriend.com. I actually think it’s a pretty simple site and the chances of me meeting another fetish obsessed man are pretty low here 😉
I have met some really lovely people via the internet, and I do think there is potential to find love online, but it can often appear as a numbers game. For anyone that hasn’t tried it, you’d be surprised at the many educated, successful men & women that use dating sites, mainly because in these modern times where we work longer hours, are career-obsessed and spend most of our time online, what’s simpler than arranging a date in the comfort of your own home than spending hours chatting up people in bars & clubs?
The only pitfall is that some can become addicted to the ease at which you can meet new people, so if you’re looking for something long-term, it may prove difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff!
If I had more confidence, I’d flirt more with my neighbour, Paul, who I fancy like mad, rather than do internet dating.
Out in the Builders Arms last night, a group of people randomly asked if I could have three wishes what would they be, whilst everyone wanted world peace, riches, beauty and fame, mine were pretty simple:
1. Nobel Prize
3. Lots of babies
I always get asked the same question, ‘why are you single’? What I want is very simple, and that’s just someone with a good heart. As I get older, I appreciate what’s most important in someone; looks fade with time and money can come and go, but to meet someone who’s amazingly kind is a rarity, one that I’m still searching for, but does he exist online, one has to hope…