Let me start off by stating that I am a terrible pick up artist. Really. An example: recently, at a party somewhere far away, I decide that it might be a good occasion to experience the joys of being single again. There was no one whom I really knew for thousands of kilometers, so one could argue that I should not care about screwing up. But that is obviously not how it works. Walk around a bit. Beer in hand, my palms are sweatty […knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on my sweater already, mom’s spaghetti – oh wait, this is the Eminem in me speaking. Where was I? Oh right.] After a couple of beers I gather my courage, walk up to this girl and ask: “Are you Dutch?”
Really Bojk?! Is that the best you could come up with? Of the million funny/cool/nice/random/so-awkward-that-it’s-funny-again things to say, you choose this? You moron! Her boyfriend arriving at the scene moments later did not particularly make me feel less of a moron either. Besides this, she was not Dutch and an encounter with a fellow compatriot was actually the last thing I was looking for in the first place. What was I thinking, if at all?! Got out of there asap and another beer later I was pointing and laughing at myself in solitude. At this moment, a different girl walks up to me, gives me a witty, teasing stare and says: “What brings you here, blue eyes?” And I remember thinking: Now that’s how you do this Bojk!*
Just a small anecdote of my first moronic steps into single territory again, which I for some reason always have a hard time adjusting to. But wait, it is 2015 right? On-hallelujah-line dating here we come! And so I ventured on to digital encounters. Online dating: isn’t that just the best thing since sliced bread – the soothing answer to a shy man’s dating issues? You get to check out girls in relative anonymity, then smugly apply all the filters and criteria you would like. Not just the old-fashioned ‘meet the girls who hang out in clubs’ filter, just because you happen to scavenge clubs to meet girls. Besides this, the barrier for first contact has now lowered to sub-zero heights as hitting a like button or dropping a text is just one click away. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, in many ways it might be. But here I argue that meeting someone with whom you will want to build memories that last might actually have become harder than in the analog days. For one, the pond has now grown to virtually infinite proportions. Excited by this idea I guess, people find it hard to block out of their minds the possibility that the perfect match is just one more date away. (Famously, this is called the secretary problem, and it has a (nerdy) solution – but that is for a next time.) Then, there is a good fraction of online daters only looking for quick hook-ups, of course. And finally, there are also those who unintentionally yet effectively corrupt the pool because they are not ready to actually date yet, i.e. they use online dating as a form of getting some attention. What I am saying: the pond might have grown, but waters have also become more muddy.
And those filters, let’s be honest: do you really want to start dating with – or be picked by – someone who perfectly matches a list of criteria? How boring should life become? From personal experience: many of the young women I encounter (and sometimes date) are successful in the very broadest sense of the word: university degree, started a promising career, they are smart, good looking, ambitious, energetic, up for fun, well-travelled. You know, those post-uni-boyfriend phase girls (hey, I have seen the whole thing from the other side) from who’s Burning Man profile pics you are forced to conclude they lead the most exciting lives ever. Yet very often also: they tend to be settled in. Often owning a house, with friends all living close by. Everything is perfect, now just for that boyfriend to fit in snugly…**
This does not mean I am not having a good time, for dating 2.0 can be quite enjoyable at times. However, chances are I will probably end up falling in love with someone I meet in real life. Let me finish off with a message to the other fish in the pond. For the girls: texting for weeks on end before that first coffee is something that does not work, at least not for me. Seriously liking your Whatsapp style is not necessarily a strong predictor for real-life chemistry, I am afraid. For some guys out there: from girls on the other side of the screen I hear you behave like total fucktards.*** Guys, for crying out loud! It’s called online dating, not online hating!
* I somehow accept far cheesier lines than I would ever utter myself…
** In the Netherlands this phenomenon tends to concentrate in Amsterdam. Though a great city, also a place where a large group of self-proclaimed ‘creative thinkers’ pursue identical dreams… though admittedly this is slightly off topic as well;)
*** Allegedly, a lot of guys act like they are the one and only king of the hill, combined with the emotional insecurity of a teenager and the vocabulary of a seven-year-old. Some women would respond to this that this is what all men deep down inside boil down to being, but hey, good luck finding your Mr. Perfect then! It does mean though that just joking around a bit and refraining from freaking out because the girl you just dropped a line does not respond like a playmate after ten seconds, makes you relatively more likable because of this alleged abundance of primates on the online dating scene. I’d be inclined to LMFAO about it, were it not that this is seriously disturbing for women.