Volume 87: Online Dating Needs to GO AWAY!

Posted on 02/22/2017

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Before I begin my brief, yet compelling argument for the title of this post, I must set my personal context – or bias – depending how you look at it. First, I am a happily married man and have been so for over sixteen years. Second, I have never engaged in online dating. Now, to some of you these two items about me may disqualify my ability to have an opinion about the subject of online dating. If that is your position, then feel free to stop reading now. At the same time I ask one question, “Do sports writers have to have played the sport to be able to effectively write or talk about their subject?” Rhetorical question yes, however it points to the absurdity of the “you’ve never done it” argument.

With that said, let’s begin…

I once saw a video clip of the comedian Louis C.K. describing why he hates cell phones. You can watch the entire clip here (https://youtu.be/5HbYScltf1c), but a significant point he made was that messaging allows for people to be mean or cruel or disgusting without having to face the consequences of seeing and experiencing the reaction of the person on the other end. In other words, being online (or mobile) allows us to become “Cyber Supermen”, where we can freely post those things we would be embarrassed or ashamed to say in person.

Enter online dating…

I cannot begin to tell you how many online dating sites or apps available for public consumption. From the majors like, Match.com and eHarmony.com, to the niche sites like Christianmingle.com and (my personal favorite) Farmersonly.com. All of these sites boast their legitimate appeal and tout their success stories. But, what’s the other side of the story? Are these sites safe spaces for honest people looking to find companionship, or are they filled with troubled individuals looking for hook-ups and one-nighters? Are these sites filled with genuine people sharing who they are with the world, or are they catfish farms filled with internet trolls, semi-stalkers, and Craig’s List killers?

Let me be clear. I love the internet! It provides me with information and connection to friends and family. And #BlackTwitter! Let’s just say that Black Twitter is on my top ten list of favorite things in my life, LOL! Yes, the internet is great (thanks, Al Gore) but, as with anything, it can be misused and abused. And that’s where I feel we have gone with online dating.

No Junk Pics…

It wasn’t until I had conversations with friends and coworkers that I realized that grown men send unsolicited pictures of their man member to women. This is an incredible and unprecedented phenomenon! How have we devolved as a society to the point where this is an acceptable practice? This is a key example of my point regarding the anonymity provided by mobile and online messaging. Very few sane individuals would think of pulling out their man member unsolicited in person. However, apparently it is a common practice in the online dating community. #PleaseStop

Houston we have a problem, but what’s the solution?

In the age of 45, there is no room for just offering complaints or detailing the problems as we see them. We must offer effective solutions. Below I have five which I believe could combat the dangerous dungeon of online dating.

  1. Reconnect and recharge your empathy by performing community service. This is primarily for the men, but serving others (in person) helps our overall ability to be sensitive to others. This should reduce the amount of careless and crass messages being sent.
  2. Ask yourself, “What’s the goal of my signing up for this site?” I know the answer seems obvious, but the actions by many on these sites don’t suggest the people (mainly men) are serious about seeking a relationship. If that’s the case, try being honest. You may not get the date, but you also won’t add to someone’s “baggage” by being deceptive.
  3. Once you are comfortable with the person, try Skype or Face Time for communication. As stated earlier, having to see the person and their reaction will reduce the creepy messages and pictures significantly. It’s hard to keep sending pictures of your man member when you see someone’s immediate disgust. #IJS
  4. Take a class or develop and new skill that you can share with someone. Cooking, painting, music lessons, etc. These are activities that can be shared (in person) so your go-to date isn’t “Netflix and chill.”
  5. Get out of your own way. Many times we focus too much on our own needs/desires when establishing a new relationship. Take the time to get to know the other person without injecting your opinion or trying to relate it to something about you. This develops genuine interest and connection, which are the foundations of a good relationship.

Conclusion

It’s wishful thinking on my part to want online dating to “go away”. At the same time, if it’s here to stay, we cannot allow it to fall into the abyss. For a relationship to truly work, people have to get involved and connect with people. Real people, not a profile created to solicit sex. Yes, I’m old-er and come from a generation which had more face-to-face interactions. But, is that a bad thing? Technology allows us to streamline and simplify our lives. It is a convenient tool. However, we cannot let our desktops, laptops, and mobile devices become our social surrogate. That, my friends, is the real definition of a syntax error!

#my3cents

Sillethoughts

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

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