In this fast-paced age of 0.16 second Google searches and coffee that requires only
26 steps, the question often creeps up: to online-date, or not to online-date. That certainly is the question. With all of these sites asking us to join, an attempt to find someone by looking at a few photos and reading a blurb — which have all turned into generic statements about how no one has any idea what to write — the next question comes along: is romance dead?
With more dating sites looking for your attention than you have time to even think about trying, it quickly becomes apparent that love has become an industry to these sites, and they make it so easy to meet people with similar interests that it quickly becomes easy to forget that what you want is to actually meet someone.
Suddenly, hours are spent on the computer speaking to people whose voices you have never heard and whose appearance is based on three photos which have carefully been set up to show only their best side. Unknown is that on the other side, their nose is twice as big, and their eyebrows grown in since that photo was taken. The misrepresentation of a two-and-a-half year old photo is enough to make a person want to walk away when finally you do meet.
These sites are invading television with advertisements featuring testimonials from their “successful” couples. In some of these ads, people are claiming that going out on the town is a passive way to meet dateable people. Somehow going online, sitting in a dark room in your house with a computer is clearly a more active a way to meet people than going out, by these people’s logic. This type of ad is almost a call-out to the university student, who has come to realize that they have time for almost nothing, and when
they do manage to open up four hours on the weekend, it is spent at the bar having a
great time. This is passive, says the big dating dot-com; this is not how to meet people.
The fact is that such a method doesn’t take into account the natural chemistry
between two people. Two people can get along from reading a tiny piece of each other
on a website, and by talking through instant messages, even speaking on the phone, but when it comes to meeting, how two people behave face to face is very different from how they behave online. Body language, hand gestures, and so many other things can make two people incompatible. Countless forums and blogs go through, at length the signs given through body language which can even tell how attracted one person is to another. All a person needs for this wealth of information is to type “dating” and “body language” into any search engine. According to BBC.co.uk, when we are attracted to someone, we automatically raise our eyebrows; we may also subconsciously point our arms, legs, hands or feet at the object of our attraction. The wealth of information that can be found on the necessity of body language in human interaction only shows us what we already know: the Internet is all well and good, but you can’t get the entire picture without actually seeing the entire picture.
Romance is further killed by the lack of tone that we find in email and instant messaging. Something intended as a joke is taken as snide, and the other way around. Often times, what a person meant as a joke is taken as something terrible, and with three foul swoops of the mouse, all ties are severed, and neither party will ever hear from the other again because such care has been taken by each website to ensure you can prevent any and all attempts to salvage your relationship of 15 minutes.
I often ask myself, what ever happened to Victorian-era courtships? Why doesn’t anyone act in a way that impresses a person through honour and class rather than this era of taking pictures in a strangely-lit bathroom which just happens to have the right shadow to highlight your just-barely-there abdominal muscles. Have we all lost hope in our own abilities and must turn to computers to make all of our decisions for us?
All hope has not been lost. There still are couples who found each other without the assistance of modern technologies. There are still some people who act honourably to impress a person, and shocking as this may seem with current trends, there are still marriages that make it to, and past, a 10-year anniversary.
Maybe if we’re all so busy that we need a computer to find a someone for us, the sign wasn’t that we needed a third party to find a significant other for us, the sign was that we simply don’t have time for another person.