The Unfortunate Rise of Digital Dating

November 4, 2013 11:32 am

I have been off the single market for some time. However, with many friends and acquaintances unhappily single and seeking, I fear I have developed a rather warped image of the modern dating scene. In the movies, a girl meets a guy, there’s a few shy smiles, then phone numbers are traded, a date planned and the relationship blooms from there. But it appears, or so I hear, that things have changed. Long gone is the organic dating style of a girl and a boy having a real life, face-to-face conversation. Nowadays we are faced with navigating our way through the complicated and highly frustrating world of texts, emails and instant messaging. I use this latter phrase loosely, as on more than one occasion I have been subjected to a female friend’s tormented anguish at being able to see on their mobile phone that their current male love interest has read their message on various forms of ‘instant messaging’ but has, for some unknown reason, not bothered to reply. In my opinion this somewhat dilutes the sensibility of naming such a technology with this title. I personally would have opted for ‘occasionally instant, most often very long-winded messaging’…but I suppose that might not have cottoned on so quickly. Of course, as the friend, I come up with all the unlikely reasons for why he may not have replied, my personal favourite being the wonderfully vague ‘maybe he’s busy!’

And even if a girl is blessed with being in contact with a guy who is interested and therefore does reply on all these different forms of messaging, the female (and possibly the male, although I am still to conduct research in this area) is then plunged into a world of confusion, attempting to decipher the ‘hidden meaning’ that could be present in a basic ‘yeah I’m good how are you?’ kind of message. And believe me this is not a short-winded process. This continues even after she might have lost interest in this poor fellow, or in a more optimistic outcome, once they begin a relationship.

So let’s take a more positive look at this digital dating. Let’s assume that a man and a woman have been technologically chatting via various mediums for a couple of weeks and have covered a majority of topics in which both parties successfully avoided giving any answers that would make the other dismiss them as a no-go. At this point, a date is discussed, accepted and planned. They arrive at said rendezvous, both full of hope at what the evening may develop into, and find that actually they have nothing to talk about. They’ve already spent two weeks messaging about all the things that would normally be talked about on the first and maybe even second date. But as they have never (or only briefly) met, and they don’t know each other well enough to delve into the more serious or personal topics that a third or fourth date might bring. All the fizz and sparkle that was present in the messages somehow dwindles into nothingness when not being typed with a Qwerty Keyboard.

Something to consider methinks when beginning a typed relationship with a potential mate – do not discuss first-date material! Stick to name, date of birth, occupation. Leave hobbies, work anecdotes and where you last went on holiday for real life, face to face interaction. And no, talking via a webcam does not count.

I feel we should revert back to the original form of dating. In my opinion it appeared to spawn a great many successful relationships, so as my mother would say, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Why did we even attempt it? I worry that this may have been a clever ruse by mobile telephone companies to increase their user’s text and email usage. Stay tuned for my investigation.

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