Online dating: Why hesitate?
“Communing with the floor. Don’t know if it’s because my feet are too small or I should just be more aware. Cracks, electric fans, varied human parts and small animals irresponsibly lurking in the open insist on hiding till the last minute to surprise me. This should earn me a spot on that Stan Lee show.”
That was an excerpt from my profile on online dating site OkCupid. A year ago, I would’ve never even thought of signing up for online dating. But I was in Saudi and hankering for some entertainment and one of my best girl friends is a lot more persuasive than a 70% off Groupon.
So I wrote my life summary in about 50 words, answered about 200 questions targeted to help some algorithm find me my most ideal match and browsed through profiles wondering if all these men believe that listing their entire iTunes library and all the movies they’ve seen since 1994 magically make them appear more attractive.
"Half of the benefits come from maximizing the platform, the other half is just completely beyond your control – just like real life dating."
I hadn’t been on the site long when I did see someone whose smile dazzled me enough to make me think something like, “Look how compatible we are!”
Totally lying. We were a 38% match. But it did turn into a 7-month period of ridiculous banter and random videos of blind dogs walking into walls (his) until he impulsively decided to come to Manila; forcing us to Skype (I hate Skype) for the first time, because he just had to confirm that I am, indeed, not a troll.
Well, it progressed to a point where 3 months later he flew to Bahrain to meet my entire family for dinner. So I guess that files us as part of the success rate.
I did meet with a couple of OkCupid dates before I met the boy and suffice it to say those experiences were more pleasant than I expected. Maybe I didn’t go on enough dates to have a bad encounter, but then I didn’t speak with a lot of people online either.
Much the same as real life
I guess I treated it much the same way I would a real life scenario. The beauty of online dating is that you can just choose to completely ignore someone without the mess of having to come up with a polite way of turning them down.
Dating was carried out at the slide of a screen, at the touch of a keypad and at whatever opportune time suits you to pick up where you left off. It was all very convenient I wondered why I never tried it sooner.
Didn’t require too much reflection to know the answer to that. Online dating had an unexplained stigma for me. I was biased against it even when I’ve never tried it. I did reflect on the WHY.
Was it because it brought to mind that era of dial-up modems and yahoo chatrooms where someone would proposition you in exchange for a green card (guess I’m THAT old)?
Was it because of my conservative upbringing and the fact that the concept of ligaw is still very much ingrained in my system? Was it because I felt it was too easy and impersonal, therefore cannot be a serious venue to cultivate a real relationship?
No one has really extolled the virtues of online dating to me. I never did any research about it. Fact is, I wasn’t even curious.
My perception was widely shared, which was slightly surprising. I noticed 3 oddly redundant things on OkCupid.
1. Under the heading “The most private thing I am willing to admit,” A LOT answered “That I’m on this site.”
Okay, first of all, did we really have to know how embarrassed you are by being on the site so much so you use it as disclaimer? What does that say about your intention for and opinion of the ladies/gents who make up your audience?
2. I kept getting asked “What’s a (insert adjective here) girl like you doing on this site?”
Right. If you don’t think attractive people should be on the site, then why are you on it?
3. Filipinos from Manila tend to describe themselves as “simple.”
Is this simply a reflection of our self-effacing nature? Or just the lack of originality? Folks, try to do justice to your amazing selves with your online presence. Maybe instead of a generic adjective which gives the impression of a lack of personality; try unassuming, or guileless, or ingenuous - I copied those off of a thesaurus just now.
I’m not here to debunk general misconceptions. Plenty of people have done that, backed by stats and studies way before I even started writing for public consumption. Granted, meeting my boyfriend dramatically shaped my perception of online dating. But it also made me realize that it’s just like any other digital convenience of a world made smaller by technology.
The key is to equip yourself with all the information readily available. Half of the benefits come from maximizing the platform, the other half is just completely beyond your control – just like real life dating.
The only downside I see is if the online relationships stay online, but hey, if you’re a keen pen pal collector, then more power to you.
I have a lot of gorgeous, talented friends who complain about the lack of variety from the local dating pool and that sounded funny coming from a city populated by 12 million people. Most of them don’t even have an online dating profile, or more likely, loathe to admit it.
It’s 2014, people. Please go ahead and update your dating biases. Wouldn’t you want to utilize all tools available at your disposal to find The One (or the one for right now)? – Rappler.com
Sweet Caneos is a professional flow artist and pole dancer, founding the first hula hoop community in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, where she is currently located. She footnote fancies herself an “author,” though the only literary work she has done before were 1,500-word-minimum spiteful letters to ex-boyfriends.