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Today, everything is on the internet: our social lives (Facebook), play-by-plays (Twitter), thoughts, dreams, and cute pictures (Tumblr), not to mention wants and desires (Pinterest) and entertainment (Youtube, StumbleUpon, etc). So, the natural progression would be dating, right?
One of the best free dating sites is OKCupid. I was skeptical about it in the beginning, I’ll admit. The sign up process was easy: pick a user name, enter your email and a password, upload a picture, and tell them a little about yourself. OKCupid, which I’m not sure is any different from other dating sites due to personal lack of experience, proceeds to ask you ten billion questions. You answer how you’d respond, you check which responses you’d like from your ideal date/mate/friend, and rate the question’s importance to you. Does it really matter if I hate horror movies and he loves them? No, although some people might consider this a deal breaker. Is it super important that you’re pro-abortion and so is he (or both pro-life, perhaps)? Probably, but then again, that might not matter to some people. It gives you the options.
Then, OK Cupid uses these questions to gauge your personality and match it to others who answered similarly, or who responded with the answers you said you’d want your match to have. When you look at someone’s profile, you can see the following percentages: 83% match, 94% friend, 8% enemy. It’s helpful in weeding out the people you wouldn’t mesh with at all, although at the end of the day, they’re just numbers.
So I joined and within a day or two, I started getting messages. The creator/owner of the website wrote in an introductory message that women were encouraged to send messages first, too, because we don’t live in a completely male-dominated society anymore. The messages were sometimes nice, sometimes flattering and other times, downright creepy. I figured out if I didn’t like something about them—if I wasn’t attracted to them—I could either ignore their message or respond lightly and let things die.
It was up to me and it was quick, painless. Most importantly, it was clean.
I didn’t have to go on a couple awkward dates before I realized that we weren’t going to fit well together: if we couldn’t make conversation at all; if we were just too different; if we infuriated each other with our opposing views. Not that online dating is perfect, it’s far from it. But it certainly saves a couple steps.
It’s an interesting experience, though, to be putting yourself out there at the same time as being wary of the online predators. I–among many others around my age–grew up with the lessons of “beware the online predator who will try to trick you into thinking he’s a cute and charming girl/boy, lure you somewhere, and attempt to rape and/or murder you” and “never trust anyone on the internet, children” and because of that, I have approached each profile with an air of you might possibly be fake, so I need to be cautious. Nine times out of ten, caution is necessary when you find the array of clinging, desperate, horny men begging at your door–or, in this case, inbox.
Either way, it’s something that a lot of younger people are doing nowadays. It has almost become it’s own dating dance, like courtship in the nineteenth century. What will it be like in fifty years? Will we completely operate our relationships via texting, instant messaging, and email? I suppose our technology usage could plateau at some point, but for now, it’s on the rise.