A new phenomenon is sweeping over the world of dating.
Online dating has taken the Western world by storm, In America 1 in 5 marriages are started online now, in Britain, that figure is 1 in 6.
Why though? Why is online dating becoming so important over such a short period of time? No longer is dating dominated by awkwardly attempting to shout into someone’s ear over the powerful “WUB WUB WUB” in clubs. (I don’t go clubbing often). No, now you can browse over all the people in your local area, all neatly organized into different categories and you simply pick and choose the best contenders and start the whole process off.
Admittedly, I expected the sites to be filled with middle age men that were too socially awkward to meet people in real life; however, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The majority of members were at university or of university age – and to be frank, none (most) wouldn’t have that much trouble pulling on the dance floor. (Or I don’t have any standards, not sure)
As you’re sat reading this on Valentine’s day, up and down the country every place of public gathering is packed full with nauseating couples professing how much they love each other and giving each other little teddy bears with “I <3 you” written across it. It’s pretty fair to say that quite a few of these people met online, the question is why, why is online dating starting to gain a foothold that may very well end up overtaking the traditional method for meeting people?
I think it’s rather simple really. It’s the pure ease of it: after no more than 20 minutes you can have a profile set up, filled out and then start talking to people with similar interests to yourself. Instead of being limited to the ten, twenty, thirty people you work or study with, you can now access everyone (who is on the site as well, of course) in your local, region or even national area.
There are problems of course. A minor one is that people tend to have an inability to sell themselves; too many people have “reading, going out with friends and exercise” as their interests (oh and for the love of god, reading Twilight does NOT count as having reading as a hobby, get on the Wells or Orwell). On OKCupid there is a match system based on questions asked to the user. These questions are public providing you’ve answered the same one and some of them are really personal. If I were to go on a date, I would want to discover things about her during it – not “What do you do with your armpit hair?” or “Do you like your hair pulled during sex?” It’s just a far too personal level – or maybe I’m just a prude.
That’s not to mention that some people have the most misleading profile pictures. I mean, seriously, some of them are far more flattering than in real life.
Anyway, single men and women, take a crack at it, what’s the worse that could happen?
Gareth Shanks is the current Elections Officer for Young Independence as well as being Secretary for Young Independence in Yorkshire. A former infantryman in the Territorial Army, he tweets as @Garethshanks