Public embarrassment, pioneer or total loser?
I am not exactly sure whether I am my own personal hero or a complete public loser. Maybe I’m the black sheep in my flock, or maybe I am secretly admired. I really don’t know what others think, but in my mind I’m a little of both. I know what most of you now think: “I’ve seen your picture, and only want to add this: Big L, mate, big L”. But I’m not talking about my pictures, but how I took an ultimate low and joined the herd of internet dating fools. Something I wowed never to do, but suddenly found myself in the midst of. Oh well, suddenly and suddenly. The decision was mine.
Back in 2004 I decided to throw a profile into a Chinese match making site called chnlove (which btw. is highly recommended by yours truly). I’m still not sure what I were thinking exactly, but I guess I was just bored and partially drunk or whatever. Anyway, since I normally always spend much time in front of the computer and pretty curious too this was a “must-try” thing. Secretly, of course, since public humiliation would be certain if the rumour got out.
I always had interest in China, and I guess that’s what initially sparked my decision to try a Chinese site (note to self: you were pretty stupid picking a country so far away from Denmark). In the back of my mind I heard a small voice say: “Hell – what is the worst thing that could happen? Grab another glass of red”. So I followed the guide and entered my data and a few pictures. How do you sell old meat without lying or changing the expiration date? Somehow I managed without coming off too stupid (it seems). I decided that being frank was best, and I wish all people would do the same but that’s a whole other story.
Pretty confident that nothing would happen, I forgot about it until a few days later when a mail popped up in my mailbox. Apparently someone had written a letter for me at the site. Many actually did the first week which pretty fast made my profile invisible and focused on one particular girl who is now my wife. 3 cheers for the Internet! The dating thingy actually works! To me this was a big surprise.
I always found this form of dating too impersonal, deceiving and kind of embarrassing. Thinking about it I still do in a way. But it has changed from being my own view, to something I feel other peoples opinions make me think. Here in Denmark you are automatically branded as either a loser or desperate if you admit to use this new tool. Some may be – granted – but in my case it really was the most convenient method to do some actual searching. I am too old to hang out at bars and discos, and my grumpy face expression has a tendency to scare off most girls. Should they approach anyway, they sure will be repelled by my strange sarcastic humour that is 99% sure to be misunderstood if you don’t know me well.
I hate the ridiculous “dating” game one must play and the uncertain intentions of a potential date when you parade your stuff/wit on a night out. So in the end I swallowed my pride with a glass of red and surprisingly found that Internet dating fitted my lazy nerd style perfectly.
There are upsides and downsides to internet dating:
– Limited contact
– Could be a long time before you see the other part, only to find that you have absolutely no physical attraction.
– Many money scammers
– Fakers (some people just need the attention and feed on your interest)
– Your rep as “not desperate, but strange and/or unlucky” fades as the rumour gets out to friends and relatives
– Takes a lot of time to write to a girl again and again
– You need to be creative in what to write meant in the best possible way. If you don’t have anything to say, you’re doomed.
– Can be quite hard on your wallet
– Since a real meeting/date can’t always be arranged fast due to distance, this will make the “get-to-know-phase longer. In my mind this is positive
– You get the benefit time to edit stupid should’ve-been-funny-remarks away before pressing ‘send’ unlike real life
– You can make a detailed sorting of potential partners by picture, interests, measurements, age, location and so on (which is not possible in same degree from your favourite chair at DJ Dan’s Disco Heaven)
– You know the dates (in far most situations) intend to find a partner so you don’t need to go through that embarrassing séance of silly questions to get to know if they’re looking
– You have the ultimate power to regulate the pace of involvement. Should you get cold feet, you can pull them back with a single polite email (unless you dated Glen Close)
There are many examples more of course. Feel welcome to add some in the comments.
Basically I would like to recommend Internet dating to those who don’t know if they should try. One bit of advice though: Research the site properly. As far as I know the majorities of sites are pure rubbish, and flooded with fakers.
My experience has taught me to steer clear of all sites that promise a service for free. Use a bit of money. This scares off the worst money scammers. The site I used actually provided a translation fee, since few Chinese girls actually talk or write enough English to communicate with a foreigner. At first I saw this as annoying and expensive, but I have learned that the money is well spent since only serious people stay on the sites.
The general opinion about internet dating sites is changing slowly. In tact with the growing influence of computers and the internet, it has become more acceptable to use dating sites to find a partner. It’s still a taboo for some people, and I suspect that most people are “stealth” about their use until their covers are blown for obvious reasons.
In my circle of friends and acquaintances I hear more and more openly admit that they use these sites to find a girlfriend. It’s not quite widely accepted yet, but I think it will be in time. I also know more than a few who had positive results with such sites.
Still I find myself considering a white lie when people ask how my wife and I met. Just to keep people from asking annoying questions or look at me as if I was a weirdo. At least more than usual.