The scoop on dating sites
In the world of technology that we live in, it’s no surprise that we are all constantly looking for faster and more convenient ways to do something, including meeting a significant other. The wonder of dating sites has allegedly allowed us to do this! I’m constantly seeing advertisements and online pop-ups bragging about how many happy couples the site is responsible for and then, as if that wasn’t enough of a reason to pay a premium and join up with them, they typically proceed to tell me that the perfect man is waiting for me on their website – what are the chances!!
All in the name of research, to test the actual use of these websites, I went somewhat undercover on the famous POF.com (Plenty of Fish) and created two profiles. After creating one male and one female profile, both of which were embellished with nearly identical information (they were both the same age, with the same profession and the same basic physical information, neither of them were given a profile picture) I sat back and waited for the messages to flood in.
After a week and a half of observations, it’s fairly clear where this pattern is leading to! The male profile, despite being a reasonably good catch and having a personal bio that makes him sound like a genuinely nice guy has had a grand total of ONE viewing since the conception of the profile, and that one view didn’t lead to a message. Needless to say that since the 25-year-old male was created, the profile has been somewhat redundant for most of the week. A pang of hope was distilled in me momentarily when I saw two messages in my inbox, however they both turned out to be from people advertising other dating sites rather than showing an interest in the poor man I had created!
The female profile, on the other hand, has received more viewings and messages that I have the patience to count. Within four hours of going live on the website I had already had four emails to alert me of new messages, all of which eventually led to me either being asked for my phone number or asked to meet up. The first gentleman, whose screen name I wont reveal on the off-chance he ever happens to stumble across this post, waited a grand total of six messages before asking if I would like to join him in his home in the country for a weekend. This was quickly followed by someone asking for my phone number so we could “talk properly”, amongst various other messages that either didn’t make much sense or weren’t interesting enough to warrant a reply.
Much to my relief, there were actually some seemingly nice characters on there who, after nearly of week of swapping messages, still hadn’t asked me for my phone number or mentioned meeting; although, regardless of how nice the person was, they all mentioned swapping pictures eventually, which was expected given that both the male and female profiles were created without them.
So, if woman won’t message men, and men are constantly messaging women, it begs the question, are dating sites really all they’re cracked up to be?
Despite him not being real, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sympathy for the male profile who, despite being a nice guy, wasn’t noticed by any women; while the woman, who was nice, but nothing spectacular compared to some of the female profiles I viewed, was bombarded with messages and compliments throughout the entire week. On a side note, it never ceases to amaze me how willing men are to throw around words such as “sexi” and “gorjus”, the spellings of which are offensive enough without the added lunacy of the fact that they have no idea who they’re talking to! If I was a cynical woman, I would of course use this space in the post to construct a snide remark about the predatory habits of men who use these dating sites, however I shall resist the urge and allow you to fill in that blank for yourself…
I won’t make a sweeping statement and say all men are after sex and phone numbers while woman just wait for the men to message them (although generally speaking that does seem to be the impression being given by the members of this website) but after a week of being online, I am completely failing to understand what the, pardon the pun, attraction is to these things.
Admittedly there were some nice blokes that stepped up to message the female account; there was also one gentleman in particular whose opening message asked for my phone number and whose second message suggested phone sex (flattered as I was, I declined the offer, in case you were wondering). When you paint it in that kind of black and white manner, what you are actually observing is the same split that you will find anywhere in life – this behaviour isn’t limited to a computer screen! Similarly, although I hate the generalisation, it would seem that, much like with real-life situations, women are more willing to wait for a guy to come to them, or rather, for a guy to message them, rather than making the first move. While dating sites might be innovative, I am struggling to see what they do besides offer real-life through a computer screen.
Perhaps that’s the attraction? Or perhaps the attraction is convenience? Personally I think it’s a mystery that I’ll never quite manage to resolve on my own.
So the closing opinion on dating sites: I think, with the right amount of commitment and persistence, you could easily find someone that you enjoy talking to and maybe even someone that you’d be prepared to meet. However, finding someone who isn’t solely interested in what’s happened underneath your clothes seems to come at the price of speaking to at least five people who are interested in that area – anyone seeing some real-life imagery again? They’re a worthwhile tool for conversation, particularly if going out and meeting people the old fashioned way isn’t something you have the time or inclination for. One thing I would feel inclined to advise people on is that they don’t become too invested in the process. While I know several people who found romance on these type of sites, I still don’t think people should rule out – dare I say it – leaving the house and meeting people where possible.
These websites might work for some, but, I can assure you, after being repeatedly asked what your cup size is and whether you fancy a “cheeky little chat”, you might be grateful for the fall back plan of meeting the girls or the lads and going for a good old fashion look around town for someone that catches your eye!