It was when the first woman with whom I had exchanged messages invited me to give her a call that I suddenly realized just how screwy and contrived online dating really is.
I knew the sorts of things that in a previous century — say, the 20th — would have been revealed gradually, naturally, in the context of conversations that took place as two people spent time together and a relationship took hold and deepened.
Advertisement In those days, you met someone in the real world, perhaps at an activity that both of you enjoy.
Once someone caught your fancy, the first order of business was to figure out whether he or she was unattached.
Today, by contrast, you encounter scads of folks on a website where the only thing you know about them is that they’re unattached (and you can’t always be sure of that).
The only thing this woman and I have in common is that we’re both vertebrates.” The process of looking for romance has always consisted of casting a net and pulling it in, casting and pulling. One of the rewards of connecting with women online is hearing them complain about men who are not me.
When you use a website, you’re just able to do that a lot more efficiently — or at least cover more of the ocean so you pull in that many more tuna and catfish and grouper and shark. Apparently a disproportionate number of male photos are selfies — sometimes shirtless — taken in bathrooms.Or wearing sunglasses or posed next to their cars or brandishing large dead fish.You sit alone at the computer sifting clues to calculate the odds that you and one of these people would get along in real life, excluding those who you assume wouldn’t be suitable — with no opportunity for one of them to prove you wrong.So, yes, there’s something unnatural and unseemly about playing Click for Love, trawling for kindred spirits in a virtual sea of singles.But let’s be careful not to romanticize romance in the days before we did this.Back then, I went on plenty of blind dates during which my thoughts kept turning to the well-meaning mutual friend who had set us up: “What could she have been thinking?