Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On-Line Dating: Boon or Bane?

Various species look for a mate in  distinctive ways.   Frogs sing. Peacocks fan their feathers. Squids do a "circling dance." Some insects like moths release an odor  called pheromones to attract males from a distance.  

We humans, on the other hand, have recently started to go on line.  Surveys show that the number of those seeking potential partners through friends has dropped from nearly 40% in the mid 1980s to less than 30% in 2010 while those who went on line rose to about 20% from the mid 1990s to 2010 -- providing the cyber dating industry a mind-boggling 40 million users and an annual revenue of $2.1 billion  in 2012.

I totally understand the internet's attractions for attracting. Unless one has the misfortune of being a scammer's victim, cyberspace is safer than picking up partners in bars. It expands the playing field by increasing the number of potential choices. And assuming one has search criteria, dating websites offer more control in focusing and narrowing the hunt.  If a client of mine had joined a dating website she need not have relocated to the mainland "because the dating scene in Hilo sucks."

Unfortunately the very same advantages offered by online dating are also its disadvantages. Its safety shield bars the detection of body language which may or may not be consistent with what a potential mate verbalizes.  The wide array of choices makes replacement easy and weakens commitment.  And with the focus on "commonalities" as a measure of compatibility one misses out on the beauty of "complementarity." After all where would harmony be if everyone sings the same note?

Yes I had joined a dating website. And had been surprised by its so-far pleasantly unexpected results.  My final "choice" did not meet 3 of my search criteria. I didn't meet some of his. 

The clincher?  The opening gambits on our website profiles.

Mine  was "I shower everyday."

His was "I am toilet trained."

- Ariel Murphy

No comments:

Post a Comment