Online Dating versus “Real” Dating

Alright, the title is a bit of a misnomer.  When we say online “dating” we really mean “meeting someone” and when we say “real dating” to mean that awkward dance we do in bars or coffee shops when we “kinda like someone” we’re forgetting about the fact that many of us have very “real” communication with people we happen to meet online.  “Real” is a word that just means that something has legitimacy.  Haven’t we heard that our whole lives about heterosexual relationships?  That they are real relationships, as though ours were not?  I say we throw out this notion that online dating can’t be real. Since we are a community of individuals who have broken down social taboos for the purpose of finding our own personal happiness time and time again, we would be going against our mold and social history if we didn’t embrace online dating in all of its alternative glory.  Let us look now at the myths and facts of online dating and blow away this notion of what is a real or better way to meet someone.

  • Myth: it is harder to really get to know someone online with all of the ability for BS and pretense that comes with life on the Internet.

Let’s get real.  The Internet may be a breeding ground for liars and scam artists, but so are DuPont Circle, West Hollywood, and the Castro District after last call on a Saturday night.  How many times have you heard that someone is “single” only to find out that what they really meant is that their partner was out of town?  The Internet doesn’t make someone lie or inflate the truth.  The same people who would lie on the Internet would lie in real life, too.

  • Fact: it is much easier to talk to someone for the first time online even with all of the BS and pretense than to look at over a pub table at what could be Jake Gyllanhaal’s doppelganger and try to say something smart and sexy.

There are advantages of engaging someone for the first time on the Internet, such as being able to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it instead of allowing your tongue to twist into knots and blowing your chances of snagging Mr. Right.  Over the Internet you can be as silver-tongued as 007 whereas in real life you might turn into Ruprecht the Monkey Boy.

  • Myth: the Internet is filled with psychopaths.

True, there are risks to engaging someone on the Internet for the first time.  The Internet, like anywhere else, has its predators and nutjobs so this can’t be considered a total myth.  As your mother would warn you: they could be anybody!!  However, those same risks are present in a bar situation, as well.  Ted Bundy didn’t need the Internet to be a serial killer.

  • Fact: the Internet gives you time to screen people.

Given enough time you can screen and weed out the stalkers, psychos, and artisan cheese makers.  At some point the person you are chatting with will reveal that their clothes smell of goat or that they own a VW bug and you can tell them you are jetting off to the Himalayans to climb K2 and won’t be back for a half year.

  • Myth: it is harder to find the right person on the Internet.

Today’s attitude of everything being “disposable” makes it hard find the right person.  Period.

  • Fact: it is easier to meet more people and get to know them better in a shorter amount of time on the Internet.

You don’t have to take the time to shower, deodorize, gel, cologne up, and find the right JCrew button down to just to meet someone anymore.  Thanks to the Internet you can save the Euphoria for men until date night just by keeping up the conversation via Skype or webcam versus showing up at the locally-owned “locavore” bistro.  Through instant messages, webcams, or PMs you can get to know people without all of the tension and distractions that come with close physical proximity.  People will see the real you, the you on the inside and judge you for that versus your biceps—not that there’s anything wrong with biceps!

Think of online dating as a screening process that can help you weed out the wheat from the chaff.  It allows you the ability to get to know someone without the sexual tension making the decision for you.  Online dating is the perfect way of meeting new people mind-to-mind, versus eye-to-eye.