The Perils Of Online Dating

Chris Hitchings

Chris Hitchings is a slightly disorganised journalism student living, working and generally trying to scrape a living in Leeds. Born and bred in the Welsh valleys Chris has a penchant for the countryside. He has previously been compared to the love-child of Bridget Jones and American Dad's "Roger".

If it exists, you can do it online. Well, sort of (internet skydiving doesn’t really seem to have the same thrill as the real thing).

Using technology to date someone is one of the strangest phenomena yet. Log on, make a profile, get chatting. What could be more natural?

I’ve tried it, to varying degrees of success. Despite the enjoyment factor of talking to new people, it’s all a game of charades, pretending to be this cool, social butterfly with interesting hobbies – that isn’t me. I’m the kind of person you’ll find dancing like a loon to Nikki Minaj, in a top I’ve spilt half my drink down.

Take your pick: match.com, plenty of fish, fitlads, or even Grindr. There is plenty of choice when it comes to platforms for meeting new people/getting laid. But I’ve always been sceptical of whether it’s the best way to meet someone. In my mind, it really is not. Not at all.

Granted, if you’re determined to get yourself out there, and don’t have the social capacity to find someone through your own means, then the net is a great base for it. However, the basis of a good relationship is having a good connection with someone, on a human level, and not through a computer screen. This is the whole problem with only taking to someone through a website, it only shows what someone wants to show. Problem? Yes. For me anyway.

Taking things on face value is an important part of life, especially when you’re meeting someone for the first time.  The Internet takes that away. I don’t understand how you can really connect with someone if you’ve never met them, apart from online.

So, is internet dating the way forward? For me, never. I don’t like not knowing someone from Adam to start with, but beside that, it’s all a bit of a strange idea. Yes, I agree, its just as strange meeting the love of your life on a drunken night out in a dark room, only to get them home and wake up the next morning to discover you really should have gone to specsavers – we have all been there.

But in a muddled way, I can’t deny I see its appeal to some. Like shopping online, or booking a holiday on the net, you can do it all by yourself. Being fortunate enough to have enough spare time on my hands to be able to go out 3 or even 4 times a week I have plenty of time to meet new people.

However, if you’re a worker bee, like many these days who focus on their career first, with relationships second, it is a lot harder. You’ve heard it so many times, London is a lonely city. Maybe for this reason why so many in the capital have flittered with online dating at some point in the past ten years. (Up to forty percent of young professionals in fact).

I don’t pity them. If you choose to live in such a massive city, which is renowned for not having the friendliest inhabitants in the world, then most people would expect to struggle relationship wise at some point. Since I started dithering over writing this article (about four days ago) I have been chatting with my friends about their experiences of meeting people online, and at some point everyone has a horror story, some more than one.

There was the guy who insisted that my friend met him in his car, and then dropped him off in the middle of nowhere (apparently it was a really good first date too, I’m sceptical). Another who met up, and really liked each other, then it emerged that one of them had children, which is a bit of a bombshell to drop on someone after 3 months, admittedly.

Granted, these things could happen to anyone, but the interweb brings a whole new kind of mystery, one where people hide behind photos of themselves which make them look really cool, and fun. Which is all well and good, until it all goes wrong, and it turns out you’re dating someone who spills drinks down, themselves whilst dancing like a loon to Nikki Minaj…