Online dating is a peculiar concept for a country which doesn’t really do dating. Whereas in America, to all accounts, they have an organised, sensible approach, here in the UK we just lurch about trying our chances. If it weren’t for the existence of alcohol, I doubt we’d even reproduce.
My picture of how it works elsewhere owes a lot to TV. New York, for example, exists to me only as a glossy chimera – I would fully expect to locate both Ugly Naked Guy and Mr Big on any given trip. Nonetheless, my sources suggest that America’s pretty bloody good at dating.
Let’s say a guy (an American guy) sees a girl (an American girl) in a supermarket. Guy likes the look of girl. As they stand in the veg aisle, he initiates some small talk about, say, turnips. Doesn’t matter. Who cares. They swap business cards. He calls next day. They arrange a Friday night dinner. They both sip one drink daintily all night while she grills him about his business acumen, family relationships, political affinity, Yale fraternity, thoughts on paternity and five-year-plan. They assess their compatibility. If if’s good, they have sex on date 3. At a later stage, they decide to become ‘exclusive’. All of the above is accomplished compos mentis.
The above scenario has never, ever, since records began, taken place in the UK.
Here, we are so staggeringly, constitutionally dependent on booze that they really should make it free on the NHS. After all, marriage increases life expectancy and nobody ever took the first steps towards wedlock while in full possession of their faculties. No, here we are more likely to get drunk and accidentally hook up with a friend. To get drunk with a colleague and abuse the photocopier at the work Christmas bash. To get drunk in a pub and grab the person we’ve been making a play for all night. To get drunk and redress our tendencies to stand about, dithering, constipated with doubt like Mark from Peep Show.
A lot of people I know have never even been on a date.
So this being the case, our chances with online dating are rather poor. We’d be an awful lot more comfortable with online pulling…