A Rant on Online Dating

In the twenty-first century, we use the internet for absolutely everything; even ordering a pizza, even getting a workout plan.  It seems social interaction, one’s daily errands, one’s quick walk down the block, have been replaced with sitting in a mundane yet almost maniacal little online sphere in which you can control your own universe merely by sitting in front of a screen.  I’m not condemning this necessarily; actually, I’m guilty of it.  We all are, for the most part, unless you’re one of those special, rare people that ACTUALLY still has a land line telephone and uses it to make plans instead of facebook.  I’m not one of those people, but salute them, because there’s still something that can be said about doing things the old-fashioned way.

Despite my large amounts of online social interaction, there are two things I I can never do — WILL never do; first and foremost, I will never stop buying CDs and records because I believe music is a physical entity, and I don’t like the idea of such an important element of my life caged inside a computer, in a portable device; I need to be a part of music physically as well.  I will also never online date.

To me, online dating is handy for some, sensible for some, but… it seems like society’s admittance that romance, that fate, that soulmates, that old-fashioned ideas of the fairytale romance, are dead.  Deader than dead.  It’s a surrendering to an ‘easy way out’; can’t meet someone in a library or a bar?  Well then, go shopping for someone.  You can pick their looks, interests, height, job, salary, race and committment level at the click of some buttons.  To me, it’s like creating a cyborg.  We might as well live in a world where everything is made of stainless, sterile steel and we all walk around with chips in our heads, being matched up by retina scans in a pod-like machine.  Online dating is the real-life science fiction/romance novel of my generation.

For me,  I would rather meet someone by chance; you know those moments when you think, “if I had registered in another section of this class, I would never have met So-and-So” or “if I had left the house fifteen minutes earlier, I would have caught the earlier bus and then…”?  THOSE moments are what define romance.  They’re those special, rare moments when the world turns at exactly the right speed and there are scattered pieces of stars that all repair themselves at JUST the right moment, in JUST the right place.  And it’s as real as magic will ever get.  Then you get REAL feelings of falling in love, not forced feelings of falling in love based on trickery and expectation.  There is romance out there in the world; and our society seems to preoccupied, too busy, too dismissive, too impatient, to find it.  We don’t open our eyes anymore to possibilities walking just down the street, reading a book in the quiet corner of the coffee shop, sitting with their friends in a club; it seems people would rather just go online and read a bio and click a button and have an instant date.

I consider myself at heart, a writer.  And the writer in me is far, FAR too romantic for that.

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