Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Earlier today I Tweeted that online dating is bad news. Like the majority of my Tweets, it was a flippant comment, but it received instant response from several people so I figured I better take my statement to a place where I could actually elaborate on my views and discuss them with anyone who is so generous as to care about what I think. I love Twitter, I do, but it's very difficult to get your point across effectively when you are limited to sending 140 characters at a time. No matter how speedy your typing.

Also. Please note, this is not a debating speech. I'm not excessively passionate about this topic, so I'm flip-flopping a bit on my views. Don't hate me; as I said, this stems from a Tweet. Never to be taken too seriously.

So. I made the statement after reading more about this story, about a former NZ public servant who has allegedly been busted smuggling cocaine in South America. Her family claim she has been conned by scammers through online dating. Obviously I don't know whether that's true or not, so don't go jumping down my throat, but it seems fairly likely considering the man she was 'dating' has conveniently disappeared from Facebook.

Regardless, this tale is the latest of quite a few online dating disaster stories I have learned of, both in magazines and real life. I personally know four people who have met lying dropkicks through online dating, and allowed themselves to be blindly led along by these people, until finally snapping out of the daydream and realising the sad reality of the relationship. One of those four people is myself, which is embarrassing to admit, but I think important in getting readers to realise I'm trying to be honest about my views, and not just be a judgmental bitch. I won't go into the specifics about that relationship- it wasn't a scam artist and it became an 'in real life' relationship, but the whole thing was completely unhealthy and the person was someone who would absolutely not receive a second of time from the 'me' I am today, regardless of our history.

And that's my point, right there. I was a different person- I was big time depressed. And I believe people use online dating services because, in some way, they are dysfunctional. That's the best word I can think of to describe the huge range of issues I'm referring to. By 'dysfunctional', I mean to include such minor issues as being super shy, or having low self confidence. I think people use online dating because they absolutely want to find someone*, where as people in the real world date because they've met someone they want to get to know more**. Online dating is therefore full of the most vulnerable single people around, and the perfect preying ground for those who are dysfunctional in a not-so-vulnerable way.

Of course, in some situations, two 'dysfunctional' people are going to meet, and work out, and be perfectly wonderful together. But that kind of situation is something I only hear about in 'a friend of a friend' anecdotes.

Maybe I just know too many 'dysfunctional' people?

* Yes, this is a euphemism for 'desperate', but please don't get too defensive. I don't mean this in a nasty way at all- I think I am sort of a serial monogamist, and I therefore understand the loneliness of singledom- it's not my preference either.
** There are, of course, exceptions to this- blind dating, speed dating etc. But how many dating success stories do you know that were born via these means?

Image source.


v. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree with you that it's sometimes really hard to get your point across through Twitter (character limitation and etc) but I didn't really think there was anything wrong with your tweet anyway.

That said, good post. I guess these days there's a lot of confusion around the expression "online dating"... with so many social networks - which aren't dating sites - it's really easy to get to know people virtually first and then meet IRL. Take Twitter, for example. I've met lots of people IRL after having followed them on Twitter first. Because of this, relationships being born in the virtual world are more and more common and don't come strictly from online dating sites.

I've never had an online dating profile and yet my boyfriend and I met online. Whenever I say this, people immediately think about online dating but ignore social networks. I guess it's an important distinction because it is a matter of intentions, of whether or not you are on that website for that particular reason (it wasn't the case for us).

Anyway, we've been together for half a decade so I guess, even with all the creeps out there in the world wide web, it can work sometimes! :)

Rochelle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Haha replying whilst at work! hehe

Good post Alice, I agree that a lot of people on dating sites are people who are lonely and looking for "love" and find it difficult to do so in the physical world. I have meet a few of my ex partners through the internet i.e social networking sites etc and while they have not worked out - they were positive experiences.
I know a few people who have positive experience through online dating and are still with their partner. The common theme between these people I found was they made their intentions clear from the beginning + cut off any potential destructees etc. Of course not always easy to detect and do.

Rochelle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

p.s thanks for the distraction haha!

Han said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Before we go off about how Online dating is a bad thing - there are people out there who have met online and go on to live happily ever after (or as happily as you can in this world). My penpal (who I met through Twitter) recently married her partner - she lives outside Canberra he was brought up in the USA - he moved across the world to be with her. There occasions when it does work out.

It's like with a lot of the media you only hear the version that is going to sell more papers or get more hits (nowadays).

I do agree that there are occasions where it is a bad thing but it's not 100% a bad thing - I'm not having a go or preaching - I'm probably if anything not making myself clear - I have the tendency to ramble lol.

Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

A defence of online dating -

My father died 11 years ago, leaving my mother a widow at 45 with with three children under 13. When she eventually started dating, she went out with some real idiots she met through friends. When you'd compare them to my father, it was just like ... well, there was no comparison.

I have no idea when she started doing the online dating thing. I think she felt kind of awkward about it, and anyway, it's not something you necessarily share with your children. But in 2007 she met a really lovely guy, divorced, three daughters, and they are still together. They would never have met had it not been for internet dating, and my poor mother would be dealing with some serious empty nest syndrome, now that us children have all grown up and moved out.

I don't necessarily disagree with what you're saying about online dating, as I know of some awful situations that have come out of online liaisons. But I feel I need to defend it on behalf of single woman over a certain age, in certain situations. I'm not sure where else my mother would have met a nice guy - so in that respect, I am all for internet dating.

(Great blog by the way, I've been lurking for awhile. I moved to London from Wellington last year, and love reading Wellington blogs - makes me homesick in a nice way!)

Matty C said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Okay, this elaboration makes me realize I agree with more than I thought yesterday. We just use different expressions to explain the same thing; you say "Bad news" while I say "waste of time".

I don't think they're inherently bad, and I've heard enough success stories from people I know, and other random ones.

BUT, big, all-caps BUT, like you said most people you meet on there are nutcases. This is largely true in real life as well, except that it's easier to pretend you're not a nutcase in an online profile than it is in real life.
IRL, you know pretty quick that someone's a dickhead and walk away, whether you were looking for them or not. Online this is not so easy.
If you're careful about it, it's not hard to avoid the nuts and get out quick when you do meet one; but as you said, most people on dating sites are dysfunco so it's a lot harder to think with clarity about such situations.

My payment schemes for them also really irk me. They make it hard to just fool around without commiting heavily to the site. Maybe this is just though, which makes you buy "stamps" when you want to contact someone, but you can only buy 6 or 12 at a time, and they're only valid for 1 month.

The other thing I learned is that, while artiscally really cool, black and white photos are ASS for actually seeing what someone looks like. Everyone looks hot as shit in B&W.

P.S. If you haven't figured this out yet, I'm talking from experience. I hate to admit it, but you did, so it's only fair that I do too.

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I've always been dubious about online dating sites. Many friends have said for me to just go for it and I'd go look at them, but just could never sign up. Something was always stopping me.
Even after I'd heard stories from friends about how things had worked out for them, just the idea of putting myself out there just creeped me out.
However, somehow I ended up in a relationship with a person I met through twitter. But I think the difference there was you weren't actually looking for a relationship, you just happened to find one. With dating sites, you're obviously there for a reason, but twitter it's not that reason.

You also said, "Of course, in some situations, two 'dysfunctional' people are going to meet, and work out, and be perfectly wonderful together."
I would definitely classify myself as a dysfunctional person and from how my boyfriend acts, I would say he's pretty dysfunctional too.
Maybe me being dysfunctional was what was stopping me from signing up?

Anyway, great post. I enjoy reading your blog.

Dad said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest Alice. As you say there are probably bad stories and success stories. I just think for sleezy people it is much easier to have a different personality and lie on line where others can't see your face as you tell your "stories". But good luck to those where it does work out.

samboy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I signed up to online dating, just to have a lurk about before paying to join properly. What I found was, the utterly shallow side of me came out big time. I went 'ick' at 99.8% of people, and wouldn't even go read their profile. But I guess a lot of people would say the same about meeting someone in a club or pub, you probably wouldn't go talk to someone unless you fancied them.

I met my love online, we chatted on msn for about a year as we shared friends, but had never met. We got on great without knowing what each other looked like, then when we finally met, we just clicked and 2 weeks later we were living together!

so i guess I'm for and against online dating. I make so much sense..... haha

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Too much water drowned the miller.