The first time I heard the term ‘Online Dating’ was probably back in 2005. A family friend by the name of Andrew was living in the States. He let slip while we were staying with him that summer he had met a woman through an online dating website. Both being busy professionals in the finance industry, dating online seemed to be the appropriate choice to lets say, get down to business, sieve through the potential profiles without any of that old fashioned ‘chit chat’. This was straight to the point; get the job done efficiently, no time wasting, business.
I was fourteen years old and the only social networking site I knew of at the time was the then popular website ‘Bebo’. Andrew decided being Irish, he would have his first date in his favourite local Irish pub, O’Neills pub. Fast-forward to 2008, it was June and there I was sitting in a beautiful ballroom, decorated with expensive taste, lavish table cloths, flowers everywhere, a true Cinderella wedding. It was time for the speeches; the bridesmaid’s speech is what caught my attention. Normally with the speeches, people yap on for ages how great a friend the bride or groom is, the memories of the person, and how they remember the first time hearing how the couple met. The bridesmaid stood up. “I will never forget Kate telling me how she met Andrew. It was so romantic, like a scene from a movie. They met in an Irish bar playing pool and got talking over a beer, the rest is history I guess”. My brother and I glared at each other, “That is one heavily edited story,” my brother whispered. Was it really that embarrassing to tell the newly wedded couple’s nearest and dearest they actually met online, on a dating website?
Thinking about it, in the movies or even media industry, couples always meet by chance, the woman drops her books on the ground and to the rescue, prince charming is there to save her then the rest is history. The Internet these days is used for everything; television programs such as Gossip Girl show the impact it has in our 21st century lives. Although it is interesting to note anything that shows online dating, such as MTV’s ‘Catfish’ is portrayed in a light, which is shameful, a sense of, ‘you couldn’t meet anyone in your daily life, you needed the Internet to find a date. Also, that guy you have been talking to for two years is really a creepy old woman with ten cats and has fifty online personalities. HA! You are a loser’. Case closed.
Well, I decided to check out this online dating malarkey myself. There were a few popular websites that came up once I typed in “Free online dating Ireland”. Filling out the form there was an array of different questions to answer in order to find your perfect match. Area, age, ethnicity, height, body type, religion, profession, about you, what you’re looking for, etc., Then its time to go fishing for a match. I have to say one website I found was directed towards men from the country, while another towards Dublin men and the greater Dublin area. A few guys caught my eye and I decided to initiate conversation. All the basic questions were asked, although you could distinguish quite easily who had studied your profile and who hadn’t. Many guys straight up wrote they were seeking a one-night stand, no strings attached. Honest, but couldn’t this be easily done finding someone at a nightclub?
Scrolling through the countless male profiles, all claiming to be ‘mad into fitness’, although this was questionable as they posed proudly with a pint of Arthur in one hand and a cigarette in the other, that beer belly fooling no one. Then it happened, I recognised a few faces, and one in particular, we shall call him Darragh, a 21-year-old student. I contacted Darragh on Facebook, jokingly saying, “I know your secret”. His immediate response was “Please don’t tell anyone!” A phone call was in order. Ensuring him my lips were sealed he let me know why he was on an online dating website, but only before he went outside away from where his friends couldn’t hear his conversation. “In a pub you can’t properly talk to someone, people are drunk, the music is loud, and many girls are boring with one-word answers”, he revealed.
I always thought online dating was shallow as it was ultimately the profile picture you see before the description of a person, but Darragh seemed to disagree, “On these websites you can view someone’s personality, their interests, what they’re straight up looking for. As you get older, you realise how important the personality is before the looks. Everyone is always looking for that special person and maybe one day she could click your profile and that’s it”. I was skeptical though, many people act confident online, but face-to-face are shy with one word answers. Darragh’s response to this, “Sometimes you have to just take a chance, you have nothing to loose”. The one question, which he still, didn’t answer, why is it so shameful to date online? “People always meet traditionally in a club, but that is just too difficult these days as people are so drunk. There is a social stigma attached to it and it just isn’t socially acceptable, yet.”
HAVE YOU TRIED ONLINE DATING? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS OR EXPERIENCES IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.