Loyal readers, bored procrastinators, and conspiracy theorists who have stumbled across this blog via a search for ‘zombie apocalypse’. (The stats say there have been four of you so far.)
Sorry for the long delay between posts. I was going to concoct some excuses but realised they’d be a bit too transparent. You know how it is when you don’t want to exercise, and you can think up a thousand reasons not to get off that couch and go for a run? Well, it may be true that you’ve got a sore knee and it’s raining and there’s a small hole on the back of your running shorts, but if you really wanted to run you’d be out there irrespective, impervious to the raindrops on your bum.
I think this blog has gone that way for me. The truth is, when it comes to online dating, I’ve lost faith. My trajectory has been one from acolyte to agnostic to flat-out unbeliever. And while the agnostic stage made for interesting reading, the atheist stage is a bit too Richard Dawkins for my liking.
This I realised the other day, when I got chatting to a friend of a friend about dating. I happened to mention, as you would, my chequered record of meeting people off the internet.
She was enthused. “Online dating?” she said, eyes shining brightly, “wow, I’d love to try that, what’s it like?”
I laughed bitterly. “Oh, it’s a terrible idea,” I said, bleakly, my tone leached of all humanity. “I’ve met over twenty people off the internet. I don’t have any faith in it at all.”
“Really?” she quizzed me, “no successes? Was it really all such a failure? But I have a friend of a friend of a friend who met his fiancée that way…”
I flattened my voice to a cadaverous monotone. “I’m dead inside,” I told her. “I’m emotionally and spiritually defunct.”
Apparently she thought this was hilarious, which heartfelt confessions of inner annihilation do have a tendency to be.
Anyway, doubtless if this girl joins the site, she’ll wonder what on earth it is I’m talking about. Exceptionally pretty and clever to boot, she’ll be so bombarded with messages she’ll barely know where to begin. Tall? Blond? Dark and lean? Rough? Tough? Strong and mean? The internet has them all and then some. That song was a prescient moment for The Weather Girls.
And after the novelty’s worn off, who knows? She might get lucky. Not everyone ends up resembling Jack Dee chewing a wasp.
Nah, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from trying it out, especially since it’s now the second commonest way to meet your partner. According to Stanford University research, nearly 30% of couples who met between 2007 and 2009 did so via a website. This easily trumps ‘coffees got mixed up in Starbucks’, ‘began to see best friend of six years in a new light’, ‘infiltrated his sports team dressed as a bloke’ or any of the other things apt to happen in the romcom reinterpretation of your life.
What I’m wondering is whether there’s some kind of cut-off point for online dating, a critical window within which it’s worth the effort. After this point, I’m guessing cynicism might build to the point at which faithlessness, in itself, becomes the limiting factor, snuffing out the newly-kindled flame of romance. You need a bit of hope left to get things started. Nobody likes a girl wot looks like Jack Dee.
I’ll let you know if my friend of a friend has any luck though.