Home from another bad date, my cold train smelling of Big Macs and Upper Crust pasties. How many failed attempts; how many spontaneous men from bars failing to provide promise? With new possibility needed (plus an encouraging friend), I signed up to a dating app. Dull, predictable, unromantic; same old lonely types. My online dating expectations matched my weekend evening hopes. But surprises were in store… good, bad and cliché.
Travel addicts and dog lovers
A typical male dating profile: Dogs and travel. Don’t we adore cute puppies, sunsets and seasides? Most of us also love pizza – I hope my partner defines himself beyond cheese, tomato and flour.
In an overfilled, singleton sea, why summarise yourself by two extremely popular interests? Why list every country you’ve travelled to and every upcoming holiday? When did dating equal travel buddy seekers? And dogs, so many dogs. Okay, I have a photo with mine; he’s not the main feature of my profile. (Please don’t tell him that, he’ll never stop woofing in disappointment).
A varied assortment
Many profiles can be categorised by ski trips and mountain climbing; scuba diving, old architectural backgrounds. The men however, don’t fit age, race (to an extent) and career typecasts. There are the intellects, the art guys, the educational job men and the charity do-gooders.
When you’re experiencing a good week with lots of interest, it’s fun to chat to different guys who you don’t usually meet. I’ve flirted, talked and debated on wide issues. Sometimes it feels like a mix between BBC Question Time and 90’s show Blind Dates.
Online dating expectations: Ghosting
Since joining a dating app, I’ve become a ghoster: A person who vanishes purposely and dramatically from conversation.
Though it’s unfair to link ghosting to dating sites. Potential suitors in dozens, complimenting, liking and occasionally complaining. How do you keep track? If you join or have joined an app, there’s a high chance you’ve made a mistake responding to someone you shouldn’t. Maybe they began calling you baby, said something weird or overloaded you with intense interrogation.
If you haven’t met, perhaps it is kinder to sneakily disappear than confess their one-time “baby” comment cost them an incredible date.
Individuals desperate to meet / Just want to chat
Two ends of a dating spectrum: People eager to meet after a simple hello and others who relish in forming online pen pals. I like guys to take the lead. Not because I’m a woman and feel it’s a man’s gentlemanly right – I’m terrible at organising dates and hate analysing whether a guy’s actually keen. (If I’m proposing, why isn’t he?)
A few times I’ve dropped hints, chatted back-and-forth and patiently waited to be asked out. Weeks later and I realise the fast responder has me on back bench. I asked to meet one such man; he was so blasé about setting the location and date I ended communication.
Conversely, it’s off-putting when a complete stranger wants to meet two days after saying hi. Not merely from a desperation perspective. If someone easily dedicates a weekend night to a stranger, it makes me wonder: do they live in the moment or not value time enough to properly consider their dates? Having said that, the dating world moves fast and it’s better to swim quick than float.
Recently, I asked a man about his job and expected a brief reply: A quick mention of what he’s working on and if he’s passionate. Brief became an extensive essay: He’s not happy, he wants to leave, he doesn’t feel valued and deserves a new career. Paragraphs of detail regarding his bosses, followed by “When are you free to meet for a drink?”
It’s possibly cruel yet I didn’t feel guilt turning him down. My basic online dating expectations list positivity as unnegotiable. Especially before we’ve met.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself. Rather than make do with the few single suitors available at real life functions, you can approach a steady supply of relationship candidates. When this supply builds up on your ‘likes list’, you’ll then have to begin elimination.
Height becomes important (never have I questioned how tall a man is – online I check), looks begin to play a significant role. Without offending exes (purposely) I don’t go out and seek the most physically attractive men. I prefer intelligence and confidence. Online, a lack of fitness has stopped me messaging.
I’m shocked at how judgemental I can get, how too many selfies and group pub photos can turn me off. Maybe that’s the biggest problem facing online dating; the inability to maintain the same perspective offline and on.
A chance of finding real love
In the midst of the lonely, bored and curious, there are a few great catches worth pursuing. As online dating stigma keeps diminishing and more of us choose to invest, we’re left with higher chances. Assuming you have the patience to move past unappealing frogs.
There’s every reason to believe the right person for you is online wishing for someone like you to approach. I changed my cynical online dating expectations when friends began sharing their success stories. It’s wise to review all avenues when looking for love. And as I have a blog discussing dates and relationships, I feel I ought to write from personal experience.
According to UK GQ, “one third of marriages” now start online with the odds of finding love out in London “three in one million.”
Other things to look out for on dating sites:
- Rude comments. Some people have steam to release and dating profiles are an easy target to criticise.
- A few daters are too busy/lazy to write out full profiles. Expect: “My favourite activities… too many to mention.”
- Confusion… from you… no longer sure what your type is because there’s too much choice.
- Emojis and scribbles over friends and family faces when they’re in pictures posted on apps.
- Men who have quit their jobs to start a business. (Yes, they specifically want a mate).