Internet dating is a great way to meet people. Most people have tried it at some point when single and looking for a relationship or even just a fun romance. As with everything, everyone’s personal experience is different. But how does internet dating vary between the sexes?
The experience is very different for men and women. There has been a lot written about women’s online dating experience but little about what men experience. This month we bring you men’s side of the story. By Alex Banks
As a guy who frequents online dating websites, I think there are pros and cons and definitely a different ball game for men and women. My female friends who do online dating tell me they get endless emails every day, which I think must be true for most women, however it’s a different story for men. The experience is one way, we contact women and hope that they’ll respond. Sometimes they do, often they don’t.
In an ideal world we would meet our dream partner or soul mate across a crowded room at a party, or in a bar or perhaps in the local supermarket. Sadly this doesn’t always happen and as a sign of our times, we are often so busy caught up in work and meeting friends that leaving “love” up to chance could take a long time, which is why so many people nowadays talk to a clairvoyant, to increase their chances of meeting the right person. Another was it to meet people online, which may seem a little impersonal and in a way it is. Like spam e-mail it’s become a game of numbers.
At a bar or party, a man might be able to approach and talk to a small selection of women with varying success. He might strike lucky but more than likely he’ll fail to impress and will leave feeling disappointed about the amount of time (and possibly money) he just wasted.
However, when you move the dating game onto the internet, a guy has access to every single girl that has signed up for the site. She can be anywhere. Statistically speaking, his chances are now improved and just like with spam mail, contacting women on a dating site requires much less effort compared to the effort required at a bar or party. He doesn’t need to shave or shower — he could even be sending out emails in his underwear!
The additional ‘benefit’ of this system is that, generally speaking men and women both write meaningless information on their profiles such as, “I like to go out with friends at the weekends”, or “I enjoy going out to dinner but also love to cook”, things that could apply to a lot of people. In the end none of it matters. But even this doesn’t matter much because the first thing anybody does when they’re contacted or browsing their match lists is to look at the pictures. What someone has to say is unimportant if you’re not attracted to them in their picture.
Especially when there’s the illusion of having so many choices. Instead of giving each person an honest chance, to take a deeper look inside them, we just rummage through the photos and profiles like flicking through crates at a record store. Have you any idea how many records you passed up that had amazing music inside? I don’t, either.
So why do we go online to look for the ideal partner? Many of my friends like me are curious or have been recommended by other friends to try it out. For example my friend Daniel, had been single for a while,
“I thought about trying it out as a new way to meet new and interesting women. Once you’ve visited the site a few times, it’s pretty easy to work out which girls have been using the site for a long time. Some have been on the dating website for years, which can be off-putting. I never found anyone with whom I “clicked” with but it is a good way to meet people who share similar interests as you. You can arrange to meet for just friendship — although this is rarely the case. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you like the same films and books — shared interest in films, TVs and books does not a relationship make — and it doesn't take a psychic to tell you that! What I will say is though, you have to be active online and invest time in finding and meeting people: it doesn’t work without some effort on your part."
Scott agrees with Daniel. “It is off-putting when you see that some women have been on the dating site for a long time. Many women, like men, are just looking for short-term casual flings or one-night-stands. I had been exchanging messages with one girl I liked in particular. A week or so later, I was talking to a colleague who was also active on the same dating site. He was talking about meeting girls online and then showed me the girl he’d gone out with the night before and went into probably a little too much graphic detail about their ‘encounter’. It turned out it was the same girl I had been messaging. After that I lost interest in her.”
I agree with Scott, the goal is to get off the dating site as soon as possible — either talk on the phone or meet somewhere for coffee. It is also a good idea to try out different dating sites, so things don’t get stale. You wouldn’t buy a car that had been standing in the showroom for years, and it’s the same in the online world of dating.
Many men do meet the woman of their dreams online, quite unexpectedly. Nick had just come out of a long-term relationship and thought joining a dating website would be a little bit of fun.
“I put up my profile and to be honest forgot about it. Then later whilst on holiday, I logged on and found that I had been noted as a “favourite” by someone —Sophie. I checked her out on her photo, was attracted to her and decided to write her a message. We continued messaging each other online and then later exchanged email addresses. Then one day I googled her, as you do. I found a class photo of her in her final year at school. I recognised one of the girls’ names in the photo — it turned out it was the sister of my friend Mark, who I knew from university. Sophie had gone to school with Mark’s sister, and it turned out that Sophie and I had probably been to the same parties a few years back, which was a funny coincidence. We decided to meet and well, as they say, the rest is history. We are now married and welcomed our son into the world this June.”
Everyone has a different story but hopefully my experience and that of my friends can give you a little insight into the online dating game so that you’ll meet your perfect match soon!