Dating In The Internet Age

I Love My Computer But Not That Much

Where does a single 40 year old male find a girlfriend in this world? Where does a man who has no real interest in social networking find a compatible mate? Bars have gone from social meeting places to places to meet the antisocial, maybe even the criminal and definitely the scary. Where do guys, simple guys, go to find girls, simple girls? What? You thought I had the answers? Ha! No, I’m asking the questions. You are providing the answers.

I’ve been married, was for 8 years. I’ve had girlfriends that were met from online dating websites only to end up like most relationships developed from the internet do, in a flaming ball of fiery disaster. Did I create the image for you? We’ve all talked to a person online and things were going well, at least we thought they were, only to find out that the profile picture was fake, the bra size was fake (or for women the man’s shoe size was fake), and the whole person was fake, a scammer scooping up knowledge about you only to steal your identity and your life savings. Or the person only acted interested in you to promote a website sometimes a pornographic one.

But say you meet that interesting person online, meet them in person, get along, and plan another date. That one goes well and then you start thinking, “This could be the one.” You date for a while, things still look good until one day. Oh that day, the day you wish your internet connection had been out, your mom called, or that itch you had made you more interested than logging on to the computer. Yeah, that day. The day you met someone who will end up making your life a living hell all because you really don’t know the person, not outside of the internet anyway. EHarmony said you were a perfect match. You didn’t really think to ask questions on your dates after all you thought you knew the person from their online profile, from your online chats, and from the naked pictures you got via webcam. Those damn webcams. That’s when dating online becomes more like boxing than dating.

It’s like when you are online dating there is some kind of rush. You get email after email. “Why didn’t you respond?” “Why are your emails so short?” “Where were you tonight?” Or the dreaded pop up to chat when you are online, damn you forgot to make yourself invisible. Now what do you do? Or if the person has your phone number, you are doomed to text after text. Better have unlimited service, you’re going to need it. Social networking has made us as daters too accessible. Dating is dating, not a commitment after the first chat session. Of course this is a guy’s perspective but not a perspective of a commitment phob.

As single people, we go through this bob and weave. Doing more bobbing than weaving getting punched more times than we punch. Not that I’m suggesting physical violence is part of it. I’m just using boxing as an analogy (I’m a guy) because many times it feels like you’ve been punched, punched by words and accusations. And who are these people to accuse you of anything after only a few dates. In fact after it’s all said and done, you would prefer to be punched than to be accused of doing something you didn’t do. That verbal back and forth is more exhausting than any boxing match.

My most successful relationships if I can call them that since I am single again, came from meeting women in person. There was a grace period if you will, no real rush, a time to say, “Hey how are you?” Get an answer. And then a few days later extend that conversation. Extend it a little more a few days later, so on and so forth. Gradual. You get a chance to see her, maybe even watch her a little (not stalking), see if she talks to imaginary people when she thinks no one is watching. See how she treats other people. See if she appears “normal.”

What happened to the days when you met someone in person, found them interesting, wanted to date, and pursued? Now days if you see an interesting person and act even a little friendly, you are deemed weird. Something must be wrong with you. You must be a pervert. Say, “Hi, how are you?” and you get a strange go away look. How do you approach someone, a single someone, all in the interest of maybe having dinner, watching a movie, taking a hike, or going to Putt Putt? Remember Putt Putt? A simple, slow paced game. No skill required and most times you both suck at it.

Now dating is almost strictly cyber. Better have a good profile, a better profile picture, and a handy webcam. Those damn webcams. This technological age has made us invisible. We are not people if we are not online. You can’t meet people in person, you have to email them first. It’s like life outside of the internet doesn’t exist. Life outside the internet is just going through the motions but real life is happening on Facebook. Don’t get me started on Facebook, geez.

My question is how do I meet a woman who is not totally invested in a technological world? How do I find a woman who knows what life is really about? How do I find a woman who lives in a real world outside of television, a computer, and a cell phone? Do these women exist? I’m not talking about flannel shirt wearing, hard drinking, pee outside, hold up in a mountain cabin women. I’m just talking about women who know that life doesn’t end just because the electricity goes out for a few hours. I’m talking about women who see more to life than whether their status reads, “Single or in a relationship.”

This is not a male/female thing. This can certainly be reversed to female/male. This is about people who know how to shut off technology and live in real life. But now I wonder, is real life in the 21st century strictly a technological one? Is meeting people only possible online? What ever happened to the country social? What ever happened to the country?

Back in my day, way back when, when you walked to school uphill in the snow both ways, ok, maybe 20 years ago, you went to parties. But no one has parties anymore. Or you finally got the nerve to ask out that girl you met in high school. Now, you can only talk to her if she accepts your friend invite. I can’t even find out what’s going on with my friends unless I read it on Facebook. What’s going on?

I think this is really more about what’s going on with society in this world than me cooking Ramen noodles for one not that I can’t cook spaghetti or tacos for two. But I really am puzzled about dating in an ever increasing IPAD, IPOD, IANYTHING world. I simply don’t know how to meet women for the purposes of dating and perhaps create a great everlasting, mutual bond. I wonder if people even know what that is. I don’t know how to avoid the drunken meat market of bars where people are there to either “hook up” temporarily or make their ex’s jealous. I wonder why society is going this way and why it’s so enticing. I just don’t see it. Am I too old fashioned or am I left behind?

Either way, single or not, I think I would rather be a real person than a face in a profile on a website. I think I would rather live alone than spend endless nights answering emails and texts from a person I’ve only met online. I want to meet a real woman with a real life, with real dreams, and a real need to share that life with someone else. Normally I would think that’s not too much to ask, but in this cyber day and technological age, it seems like it is. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are people who meet online and go on to have lifelong relationships. I also know there are people out there who know how to unplug and fully engage in meaningful one on one in person conversations and interactions. I just can’t find them. So I’m still left wondering, where does a single 40 year old male find a girlfriend in this world?

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