Friday, 27 January 2012

Modern Dating

It’s become the defining feature of this blog that I am an embittered, sexless, lonely male prone to crouching in dark corners while clutching a rat-nibbled cauliflower with a smiley face drawn on with marker pen. The ugly truth is that, surrogate vegetable friend aside, I am far from alone. It seems that in the modern age, thousands of us are struggling to find the companionship that Disney films insist we require. And as the modern age rises up to meet this challenge with a swathe of alternatives to the traditional candlelit dinner/walk in the park/date rape, are we really helping ourselves, or setting ourselves up for a future of dysfunction?

Naturally, it’s the Internet that has stepped into the breach to shore up our dating woes. Without it showing me my very first pornographic photograph at the age of twelve, I might not even today know what a naked woman looks like. Unfortunately she was being mounted by a Doberman. And this is the problem with the Internet. Since its inception, misfits and social inepts have lurked around every virtual corner ready to pick your pocket or ejaculate on your shoe. How can you trust that any potential partner to which the Internet introduces you will not burn down your home and wear your scrotum as a coin purse? It’s only natural that, sooner or later, like an exasperated mother kicking her adult son onto the street and changing the locks, the Internet should try and foist these undesirables onto somebody else.

So what are the options? Online dating seems most prevalent. And amid the lurid softcore animations of uniformed lovers or unregistered sex offenders strumming the ukulele on train stations, it’s eHarmony that sets itself apart as the most successful (success presumably derived from number of dating site subscribers dredged from the nation’s canals, on average). eHarmony claims that it really gets to know you before matching you with a potential life partner. How well can an automated survey get to know you to be trusted with such a decision?

Beyond basic information, it asks me to rate my physical appearance based on my own, and what I imagine to be my friends’, impressions. The most recent comment I’ve received from the opposite sex is ‘weirdly tall.’ This isn’t an option. As for my friends, the survey isn’t too keen on letting me select ‘oversized sarcastic whinging prick.’ In the end I choose ‘Healthy.’ My matches won’t see that rash until it’s too late to turn back anyway.

After a never-ending parade of multiple choice options (none of which really describe me), from hobbies through to religion and moral fibre, the eHarmony gurus riffle through their pages of lovelorn women and throw up my closest matches. I have two.

-           Lindsey, 23, Nottingham.
Most Grateful For: The Twilight Saga.
Can’t Live Without: Wheetos cereal.

-          Denise, 26, London.
Religion: Devout Practitioner of Wicca.

Gee, eHarmony, you really worked out what I look for in a gal. It’s encouraging to know that soul mates really do exist.

Other alternatives include speed-dating, which, having survived against the odds outside of sit-coms, offers me the opportunity to be rendered mute and humiliated in the face of 25 women rather than the occasional one. On Freeview television the Rabbit and Gay Rabbit channels throw up an interminable gallery of men sucking in their guts, overweight women hiding behind doors or generous camera flashes, the sexually confused bewigged and slathered with more make-up than a pig in a testing lab. The archaic personal newspaper ad has so refined itself as to be the closest we’ve yet come to Orwell’s Newspeak. How much can you learn about someone from ‘Piers Morgan lkl wl2m sub bbw 4 fs rts dp dv da mbm’?

Impersonal dating is still a nascent method. It was reported recently that it’s now possible to hire an online dating personal shopper to do the legwork for you, like a smack-addled rock star thumbing through the latest Playboy. To put it simply, it makes me sad. These are lonely people setting aside what pride they have left to them in search of happiness. It makes me sad because I want every single one of them to succeed. It makes me sad because, unless something changes, it’ll be me putting aside my cauliflower companion and seeking love in the virtual world. And that’s something I hoped I’d never have to do.  


  1. eHarmony is very very very biased towards people who believe in the Christian God. Anyone who's not one of them it doesn't work very well for. It's also ridiculously priced, when you can use okCupid for free. Go to okCupid!

    1. I'm not resorting to online dating just yet! Doing the eHarmony survey was just for this blog... although I will have that account ready and waiting when the time comes :P

  2. Wow. I have never read a blog post quite like this one. It makes me feel way less hopeful that I will ever find someone to love me as I hope.

    And to comment on the first commenter's comment: eHarmony (which I have never used their services) probably just caters to Christian people, I am sure. Bias infers some sort of judgement and they are just trying to match people up. They probably need some foundation to bounce off and Christianity must be it for them.

    I appreciate such an honest perspective. And going in an eHarmony direction-- you might find a nice girl who has the right heart and perspective at church. I don't know if you have a church, but I would ponder on the idea. I would say a whole lot more, but as we don't know each other I don't want you to misinterpret anything.

    May the force be with you.

    1. Say whatever you wish! I always like to know what people think, and it's near-impossible to offend me.

      And please, don't feel disheartened by anything I write. I am a chronic miserable bastard!

    2. So your parents were never married?? just kidding. You might start your life of finding someone to love you by not calling yourself bad names!

      Glad to be connected now and I hope you might read my blog All Things Purple from time to time (if not daily)

  3. LOL. And tears of sadness. Shit, your mood swings remind me of mine! LOL Great blog, though. "Piers Morgan lkl wl2m sub bbw 4 fs rts dp dv da mbm’?" Stay away...that is one kinky motherfucker! LOL

    I never really dated--I just said "no" to anyone who was talking directly to my boobs or to anyone who didn't realize the feminist movement happened. Because I am aggressive and tend to favor the shy guys who read a lot, know the science of space, and are general nerds--I found exactly what I was looking for. I saw my husband on the library steps in college, walked up to him, told him we were going back to his place, and never left. I moved in with him two days after meeting him. We've been married 8 years and I'm now pregnant. That was the best thing I've ever done--And I've done a lot. LOL But I'm an extremist and I know EXACTLY what I want because I know who I am. You cannot find someone perfect without a good introspection. Because I was happy with who I was and the decisions I've made, I could make choices that other ppl would be shocked at. Sorry if I sound a little preachy, but always go for broke! Life is too short to sit around and ponder (even though that's what my philosophical/english major husband does LOL). But hey, he could sit around b/c I was hunting! LOL I devoured him like he was a sweet, little fawn! LOL A very famous cheer is my motto: "Be Aggressive, B - E Aggressive!" B/c there could be two completely shy ppl perfect for each other but they miss that moment and loneliness ensues. I truly believe that each person has a soulmate. Whether or not you find them online, in a bar, day care, hot air balloon--there is someone meant for you. I was lucky that I was pissed off that day and looking for angry sex LOL B/c I might have missed him. You just never know. Love yourself first and then like a magnet, more love will find you. And I apologize if I've pissed anyone off, but I just feel so strongly about this subject. No one is meant to be alone and if the internet can make the world smaller so that your mate can be found, well, I see that as a good thing.

    1. To be honest, you sound like just the kind of woman that terrifies me! That's not intended as an insult - I'm terrified of most women, so girls that are quite forward are my kryptonite.

      Also, I fear that, as a male, adopting a policy of sexual aggression may do more harm than good...

    2. I think she just means to be more assertive on the asking people out side of things... I don't agree with the sexual aggression part until AFTER marriage (with your spouse!), but being assertive and at times aggressive in the dating area is a good thing so you can find someone to love and love you back.

  4. I can't imagine someone this hilarious being alone. Then again, I suppose we're all alone, a little bit.

    And I've got kids.

  5. First of all thanks for the follow on Twitter....
    I wish my blog was as good as yours however, the library world rarely throws up much chance to talk about my love life or lack there of! HA!
    I love your insight on the world and I will definitely check out your blog again. You don't have to search for love in the virtual world - but sometimes it can give you the opportunity to meet people you never would have encountered me...we could be virtual friends! (Message me if you wish) 'cos that's what people do these days right?!? Befriend people they've never met...HA. God love the boldness the internet lets us hide behind! :D

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Your blog is awesome if only for how heartening it is to read of a younger person's enthusiasm for books, knowledge, libraries, et. al. I don't intend that to sound patronising (although it does). Perhaps I mix in the wrong circles, but it's rare to find someone of a similar age who's truly into literature.