Long gone are the days of eyes meeting across a crowded room, love letters left in library books and someone throwing pebbles at your window and its place is internet dating. With sites like match.com, E-Harmony & OKCupid becoming the new “set up” tool, I let curiousity kill the Charl and succumbed to the intrigue of a site called Plenty of Fish. I came, I saw, I groaned, I vommed and I continued to hover around and found myself logging back in (but mostly for the utterly bizarre and ridiculous messages from the array of gentleman that seemed to find my profile intriguing). The number of men that I a) replied to on there or b) contacted off my own back, I could count easily on one hand. It appears that I may be a little too picky for internet dating – I was turning into Gingerlocks. Too old, too young, bad grammar, bad teeth.. and for some reason, messages with offerings such as “can I put my finger in your ginger bum hole?” just don’t do it for me, sorry. (On a side note – if you’d like a compilation post of some of the funniest messages I received, let me know. They might raise a giggle… or a restraining order)
A friend of mine once parted with actual hard earned cash to join a dating site. She filled out a list of her interests, hobbies, her personality traits, what makes her tick, what she likes in a man, what she doesn’t, she uploaded some pictures that made her appealing to the opposite of sex, and she sat waited. A whole 10 minutes of waiting patiently for Mr Right to sign in and snap her up. And then she was matched. With a guy. Old enough to be her grandad, ugly enough to star in The Hills Have Eyes and 2 ex wives. Reason she was matched? Because they both liked chinese food.
“You should have gone stand outside The Golden Wok takeaway at 8pm on a Saturday night and bought yourself a new lipstick with the monthly subscription fee!” I said as I shook my head in disbelief and felt the happily ever after in the digital world drifting further and further away.
In my personal experience, a less stigmatised form of internet dating can come in the form of Twitter. You may mock, but lets look at this way:
On Twitter you open up your timeline to people of all walks of life, but ultimately you end up following people either in similiar social circles as yourself or people with similiar interests as you, a similiar sense of humours. Twitter offers you a snapshot of someones day to day life and through this you can get to know these people better than you ever could via some awkward messages on a dating site. Sometimes I’ll tend to follow gentleman who a) make me laugh out loud at my timeline, b) show actual intelligence and use good grammar b) have attractive photographs.
Yes yes, I’m shallow, let it go. (I don’t know about you but I need physical attraction first and foremost when it comes to finding me a “mate”, whether someone has good “banter” or not, if he doesn’t make me envisage recreating THAT steamy Zac Efron shower scene from the film The Lucky One, then its not going to work.)
The Twitter courtship takes place a bit like a David Attenborough wildlife documentary, hopefully culimanting in a “the male penetrates the female” finale – with some spooning, hand holding, chinese takeaway sharing and cinema trips thrown in for good measure.
I’ll give you a case study in the form of Gentleman A.
– Gentleman A began to follow me after I was RT’d into his timeline with one of my very rare funny tweets
– I follow Gentleman A back after an eye appeasing profile picture, a scout at his bio and reading his last few tweets which indicated that he was not a) a nutter, b) a Jeremy Kyle reject, c) a pig
– All is quiet after the initial introduction. Gentleman A probably rolls eyes at amount of times I mention lipstick/fancying someone and I read Gentleman A’s and think “this man is rather amusing, and he knows his way around a hashtag”
– Gentleman A begins to “like” my pouty Instagram selfies – and I’m not talking recent ones, I’m talking 3 week old selfies – Gentleman A has been doing a little research has he not?
– I spot a tweet from Gentleman A and reply, Gentleman A replies, and a few follow up tweets with flirty undertones fly across the interwebz like eyes meeting across a room
– Over the course of a week or so, the odd tweet is exchanged, I check his timeline a couple of times and he likes a couple more Instagram selfies until…
– “New Direct Message Recieved from Gentleman A”
– The initial conversation continues over the privacy of DM where mild flirtation turns to full blown flirtation after the unspoken subject of relationship status comes to fruition. Both are declared single – HURRAH.
– Phone numbers are exchanged, the flirtation moves from Twitter to texts, to Whatsapp, to the phone, to Snapchat, to a whirlwind couple of weeks of constant conversation…
….and VOILA. There’s the “connection” that your Plenty of Fish, Match.com or Uniform Dating (stupidest website theory ever) can’t create. You more or less know before you’ve initiated the direct contact that you’re going to get on with the other person because you already know what news articles they find interesting, what makes them laugh enough to RT, how they interact with other people, and most importantly, through the power and cliche of Instagram: what they eat for lunch (Gentleman A eats the tastiest looking food in the land). All is looking good and a potential romance/a date could well be on the cards.
Here’s a flaw though…
One of the ways in which Twitter and Internet dating differs is a thing called distance. On dating websites you can set your search results to pick up everyone within a 5 mile radius so that you have a hope in hell of perhaps finding a Beckham in a city of Pete Dohertys. On Twitter you can’t really specify this, so you could end up exchanging flirty tweet exchanges with someone in Outer Mongolia.
And lets be honest, long distance relationships pretty much suck and never work.