It all began innocently enough, I suppose…
I was going to write a story about the dangers of online dating in today’s society. I’ve dabbled in the online thing a bit in the past, (boredom + loneliness = numerous sign ups and free trials a few years back, sadly).
One terrible habit I developed was as I got bored with the apps in question, I would simply delete them from my phone…as opposed to actually deleting my profile from the websites!
Smh…I’ll get back to that…
Ok, so instead of merely researching the topic as I should have, I decided to try out one of the websites I frequented many years ago called POF – or “Plenty Of Fish” – as it had a very user friendly and simple interface I recalled.
I wished to mingle, not to linger.
What I expected was to be fast tracked through the system and quickly reinserted into the POF culture so as I could gather the information I wanted quickly for my would-be epic tale…
What I got, however, was a completely fresh start attached to my email (I suppose there was a website I deleted my profile on after all! Told you i’d get back to that).
Once I finally had completed the rather lengthy questionnaire and intrusive biography, I was ushered to a page that was far more ‘face’ than ‘Facebook’ could ever dream to be!
Row upon row of smiles or pucker-lipped ladies searching for ‘Mr. Right’! No real information. Just a face and the approximate distance the face was from my location. All exactly as I remembered, of course, and splendidly easy to use.
But then I noticed one.
I could hardly believe my own eyes.
These were the same faces I remembered from all of those years ago! The same fish searching the same pond.
The exact SAME people who were out there searching for people when I was searching for people!
I was fascinated and intrigued and even frightened to see these faces, some a bit older, others EXACTLY the same. It was like a strange homecoming in a way, and I found myself questioning what made me leave such websites behind as well as ask the burning question of what compels so many to stay?
Naturally, I allowed my curiosity to guide me further into the site and ask random faces (and a few old favorites) what keeps them searching when apparently there has been little to no head way in their relationship goals on here.
The answers varied.
Some contend that they are just looking for friends, that they do not have time to pursue traditional dating methods.
I get that.
In this day and age, with our extra busy lives, it’s easy to lose that human face-to-face touch our ancestors enjoyed. Everything now moves at such a pace as if we chance even to blink, we may miss something…even true love.
The greater number who responded, however, were NOT of this opinion.
Many were seeking financial compensation in exchange for time spent with individuals. Some others were simply seeking “hookups” with no strings attached.
And then, I remembered.
That’s why I left these things alone. I don’t dance. I refused to simply change partners so frequently and easily.
For all of my shyness and introversion, I prefer meeting traditionally. I enjoy the rush I get of seeing a beautiful stranger across the room and making eye contact. I enjoy getting to know someone WITHOUT a ‘cheat sheet’.
While safety is a great concern in our time, i still contend this method works best for me. I’m certainly not knocking the online culture, but I know where my preferences are and I truly see no advantage in the online method.
I enjoy people.
A smile in ‘real time’ is even more special nowadays as it’s more difficult to achieve with a face-to-face interest. And while it seems we cannot stop the inevitable swing of our society from analog conversation to digital gf/bf/bff emoji banter, perhaps we can retain some form off sincerity and courage to just be ourselves…
…at least long enough to be seen by the ‘real’ fish on the other side of the pond.