Digital dating, from the perspective of an attractive and intelligent woman
I did an interview recently, for a friend's essay for uni, here's the interview:
What’s it like to meet people online? -It’s okay, it’s not as noisy as a bar, but I’ve never been much for meeting people in bars anyways. Online has been my way of meeting folks for most of my adult life. Before I would say it makes things easier, but these days I feel it doesn’t: I would like to see someone’s face when I talk to them, not just for superficial reasons, but to see if they’re honest and mean what they say.
Is that a common problem, dishonesty? -Yes. Sometimes it’s just white lies, like they use old or edited photos. But there’s also blatant lies about if they’re single, what type of relationship they’re looking for or using stolen photos... Or they agree to whatever I say, because that way I give them attention and confidence boost, even tho they don’t intend to follow through on any of it.
How do you find people to meet? -Chatting. I should do video to figure people out quicker, but I’m shy about it, for some stupid reason. Either way, dating is a type of suspended disbelief, because you need to have some hope that what people say is true. So you chat for like a few weeks and then meet, if all goes well.
What’s it like meeting them? -Usually it’s disappointing, to be frank. People talk themselves up, and a lot of people who date online might do so because they lack social skills. So I’ve met quite a few awkward people, and I don’t mean that they need to be brilliant, but like, they need to make a good impression and know how to act.
Was it different before Tinder entered the market? -Yes. People were way more patient. The instant gratification culture is very tangible. A lot of the time people don’t have the stamina to talk for as long as I want to. Especially more attractive people. It’s easy to see how they get what they want more often and faster. It’s a superficial world. There's also been a rise in aggressive or intolerant attitudes, I guess it's because of people being insecure. I can't imagine it's easy for men, getting rejected all the time in dating... So their defence becomes to resent women. Which is really ironic when they're trying to connect with me... Sometimes I feel like they fear me, because if I reject them, I hurt them. But... they're not my responsibility.
You’re attractive, how do you think it has affected you? -Thanks, heh. I think I’m more leaning towards being demanding: I demand an interesting and stimulating conversation, it doesn’t matter if it’s funny or about serious topics like organized crime. My demand is that they see me as intelligent, because being seen as attractive is easy for me, and it bores me. So I am privileged, but I’m hoping I use my privilege in a good way.
Was it different before the pandemic? -Yes. If we look beyond the safety risk of swapping bodily fluids with strangers; I’ve mostly noticed how my mood has worsened, my energy is lower, but I think I still can be fun to talk to. What I notice in others is probably the same, the stamina I mentioned is worse now. People can’t talk for long, they get bored easily, they stop responding if there’s a misunderstanding or I don’t agree with them.
What are you looking for? -A partner, hah! But at this pace I’m not sure how that will go. Luckily I am comfortable with being single and my surroundings are supportive. I’d rather be single than in a bad relationship.
How do you know when you’ve found a “good one”? -Conversation flows, we share many core values, I feel respected and well taken care of. Especially these days I feel like there are fairly frequent “opportunities” for guys to show they care; because I might be stressed or a bit sad, and I just want to see them reacting with empathy to that.
What are you afraid of? -Rape. Abusive relationships. It really bothers me when people talk about how they’re “crazy” or how they “like to push boundaries”. I know it’s common figure of speech, but I feel like; if they were aware of what women/people fear, they would be more careful in their wording. A lot in early dating is about finding out if the other person is a threat, which is so unromantic, but it’s reality.
Anything else you’d like to add? I feel that I must sound negative, which is sad, because dating can be so much fun. Every good date, every first kiss, is something I cherish. I guess if I had more good experience I wouldn’t be single, hah! They’re not all bad tho, just not good enough, not “the one”. Which may sound unrealistic, but I feel that when looking for the love of your life, you have the right to be choosy. I don’t want someone who barely turns me on or who dies at 65 because of an unhealthy life style, or who controls or insults me because he’s insecure. I want someone who can be confident, supportive and loving. Sometimes I feel like a mix of a foolish girl, a damsel in distress, and the villain, all at once.