Aardvark, I’ve been wondering about the socio-implications of online dating. I’ve been wondering that for a very long time. Eight or so years actually. Which I’m not proud of, because it seems like I’ve been on various online dating sites again and again and again, since 2009. And every time I sign up for their services, I recognize that this particular way of meeting potential lovers is fraught with a tangled web of human dynamics and sociological behaviors that any researcher worth his or her salt would revel in. But, I keep doing it anyway.
Where do I begin? I know a few people who have actually met wonderful people on an online dating site. Okay. I know one person. But, this means to me that it does exist. The propaganda that these sites put out there to the lonely and desperate dregs of society, actually do come true for a few fortunate souls.
But in my seasoned and hardened experience, I’ve seen much more interesting phenomena than lucky boy meets lucky girl. So… much… more.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about where to start. Because I still haven’t figured out what it is that intrigues me about online dating. As a behavioral science study, that is. So, I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I was a new divorcee, many years ago. I made a fetching profile and posted my cute little pictures and thought, “Oh boy. I’m going to get me a Mr. Right”.
There were so many men. Soooooo…. many. And so many cups of coffee, because traditionally that first meeting takes place at a Tim Horton’s over coffee.
I don’t remember my very first online date, but I do remember that one of the first was a very nice 60 year old man named Jim. We met at our local Tim Horton’s. Had coffee.
Jim was a widower. I think he was a recent widower. At our first coffee date, he showed me pictures of his house with the renovated kitchen, and he showed me pictures of a little yellow sportscar. Uh-huh, I replied.
Jim was ready for a relationship by the end of the coffee date. He had a need to fill that kitchen with a woman. Any woman, it felt like to me.
We went on a second date, to an open air concert. My friends were there, and I lit up a cigarette. Jim was shocked and dismayed. He made disparaging remarks about smoking in general and my smoking in particular.
I was of a mind that I did not know Jim well enough for him to have an opinion about my smoking. Yes, it is bad to smoke. I agree. But when a man I don’t know well, wants me to do what he says, i.e. quit smoking, it becomes much larger than smoking. At least to me.
I told him I didn’t want to see him again. He didn’t understand why, because I think deep down, he was already picturing my walk down his aisle, sans cigarette.
And that’s when I decided that online dating is a basket of very, very interesting psychological and sociological idiosyncrasies. What makes it tick? What makes any tentative dating between an older man and an older woman tick?
Hmmm. Aardvark. We’re going to have to go into a lot of detail here. More to follow because, unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of dates, and a lot of coffee, in the last eight years.
Photo by DLM