Guest Post Wednesday: Online Dating vs. IRL by Hanna Wilcox

phonesThere is still a certain stigma around meeting someone online,* but I don’t get it.  It’s 2014, era of Facebook replacing class reunions, LinkedIn profiles replacing resumes, and me constantly accidentally liking my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s photos on Instagram.  Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, etc. make perfect sense. In real life (or IRL), the first thing we notice about a person is usually their face, and so many of us (even if we try not to) check whatever social media we are into with alarming frequency.  Your friends faces are probably usually illuminated with the glow of a smart phone when the couch, at the movies, at a bar or a restaurant, or a street fest.  Hell, I even watched some people on their phones while on the dance floor at a wedding last weekend.  Face + phone = great idea.

It’s the phrase “online dating” that sends me through the roof.

Dating suggests going out socially–getting to know someone in person to see if you are interested in making out with only them or bringing them to your friend’s birthday dinner or your nephew’s first communion after party. Online dating should be called online meeting or, better yet, online arranging to meet.  To say that staring at 5-7 flattering photos of people (totally filtered, and usually ranging from the years of 2008-2012) and the best one-or-two-liners someone can come up with is as equivalent to dating as ridiculous as the following conversation:

“I just re-watched [insert movie here].”

“Oh, I loooove that movie!”

“Me, too!  What’s your favorite part?”

“Well I haven’t actually seen it, but some of my friends like it and I read the Wikipedia.  It seems like something I would love.”

I’m sure that I seem like someone plenty of people would be into. There have been plenty of times that I come across a profile for someone that seems like someone I’d really like.  Maybe we have some mutual friends and interests or maybe he just appears handsome. It is the presumption that there will be (or already is**) a real life connection or chemistry that irritates me.

Let me elaborate. Pictures of Fiji look great. I would of course go to Fiji, the same as I’d of course go out on a date with an internet guy.  That said, I have never actually been to Fiji.  Maybe I’ll love it, or maybe I’ll get food poisoning and never see the beach or have a weird regional allergic reaction after a few days. Moral of the Fiji analogy: NEVER ASSUME!

Will the presumptuous potential beaus of the world wide web keep me away? Of course not. But for anyone reading this that might run into me on the net, please don’t be offended if I don’t take too much stock in whatever happens before a real-life meet up.

 

*If you’ve ever dabbled in “online dating” you’ve seen a version of the classic “We’ll tell out friends and family we met at [blank]!” at the start of an “About Me” section

**I legit had a guy introduce me as his girlfriend on our first (and last) date

[Editor’s Note: I did not realize until this moment that Wikipedia isn’t a credible answer for having seen a movie. Mind. Blown. And thank you for confirming exactly why I haven’t gone to Fiji.]


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