The Mystery of Online Dating

I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t date. Eternally confused as to how people meet people, I tend to give anything involving (potential) romance a rather wide berth. Two parts awkwardness, one part self sabotage, and a heavy dollop of social anxiety. But I spent this weekend sewing for a small start up business, and the owner mentioned in casual conversation how she and her boyfriend of nearly two years, met on Tinder. Shortly after that conversation, I got a text from my brother’s girlfriend, who he met on Tinder. And so I got to thinking; since finding love on the internet is just considered the norm these days, how does the whole thing work?

Without the physical person there, you essentially have to trust that the profile you’re looking at is a) legit and b) honest. I mean, let’s be real; that pretty blonde girl you’ve been chatting up could very well be a 70 year old dude. But that aside, the popularity of internet dating sites comes with a few questions. What is it about dating online that has such an appeal? Is it because trying to meet people without that common platform is hard? Is it because it’s convenient? Or is it because, in this modern age of technology, it’s the only way we know how?

When you meet someone in real life, you can have a conversation – or no conversation – and it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly, whether you and that person have what the movies call a ‘spark’. But again, without that personal interaction and physical response, you have to trust the profile. So what kind of information do people look for in a dating site profile? Do you put your interests and hobbies down, or is that, like, so ten years ago? Do you put down no information at all, and hope that your photos are enough to pique interest? If some of the profiles I’ve seen* are anything to go by, it would appear that the more obscene your bio, the more likely you are to have people ‘swipe right’ (and yes, I did just have to Google that to make sure I got the direction correct).

I suppose it comes down to what you’re looking for. If you just want kinky sex, the profile declaring “FIST ME” in bold letters might be more your thing than the profile that reads “I love kitties and Jesus and I just wanna cuddle”. I mean, I’m not saying that being sexually experimental and loving Jesus are mutually exclusive, but what you attract all depends on what you put out there.

In a way, internet dating reminds me of advertising. Dating sites are asking people to literally take you at face value, and with so many gazillions of products profiles out there, you have to have something that sets you apart from the rest. Whether you’re looking for love, or just someone to knock boots with, you have to make yourself seem appealing to potential bang buddies/your one true love. Because you’re not just competing with the other singles in this one shitty club; you’re competing with all the available people on an infinitely huge website.

I think the dating world, either online or in real life, will forever remain a mystery to me. I mean, my ideal date is a horror movie, munchies and a warm blanket on the couch. Entirely. By. Myself.

*I obviously don’t have a dating profile, but friends of mine do. And man, I’ve seen some shit.

Of Baes and Other Bad Things.

I am a lover of the English language. I love words and the fact that language is constantly changing. I love learning new words and am on a constant mission to expand my vocabulary. So, it is an affront to my English loving brain to hear the repeated use of the word (word?) ‘bae’. Lately, all I hear and read is ‘omgilybae’ (as I have just had a serious coughing fit following typing that, I think I can safely say that it physically hurt me to do so.) Seriously. The use of the three letter demon word is so abhorrent that I wish there was a law that allowed me to put a bullet in the brain of anyone who uses it.

According to the Australian Oxford Dictionary, ‘bae’ is not an English word. According to Urban Dictionary it has a few meanings. It is interesting to note that the first entry says that bae is in fact a Danish word for poo. However it is more commonly used here as a term of endearment. Either a substitute for babe or other such affectionate terms, or as an acronym for ‘before anyone else’. I don’t care what way you say it – as with every other abbreviated internetism – it’s irritating.

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The word itself and it’s constant usage is irritating enough, but perhaps even more so is how quickly the internet adopted it. Like with any trend or phase, this is just one more thing that shouldn’t be a thing, but is a thing because of how quickly stupidity travels over the internet. Two months ago, I’d never even heard the word ‘bae’ and now it’s everywhere. Come on guys. We don’t all have to jump on the stupidity bandwagon just because everyone else is.

What concerns me is that younger generations, who are already at a language disadvantage because of things like autocorrect and computers instead of pen and paper in high school, will grow up speaking a shortened, lazy version of English that we older (properly educated) generations don’t understand. As I said earlier, I understand and love that language is always changing. Change is good. But stupidity and laziness in language is bad. Word lovers across the world, unite against baes and other bad things, lest the lazy and stupid destroy language altogether.