October 10, 2013 by hollyhodgepodge
How do two people meet?
My grandparents met on a hay ride. My parents were introduced by a mutual friend. I met my significant other at a college dance.
Some people meet at school, some at work. Others meet at religious or community venues. There are bars, though those seem more like a place to meet Miss Tonight than Miss Right. And then, there’s the Internet.
Ahhh, online dating.
As a disclaimer, I should say this is not something I’ve ever tried. I do, however, have friends who have, to varying degrees of success. One man described online dating as a “disappointing venture” in which it is “easy to just ignore people or be ignored, or be lost amidst the supposedly daily deluge of messages women receive.”
On the other hand, several people I know have met their spouses, or future spouses, online. Indeed, there must be some possible merits, if you go about it the right way.
“Online dating is the easiest way to meet single women these days,” my friend Andy posted on my Facebook page. “Once you’ve met up with someone and decided you like each other enough to meet again, you might as well have met anywhere. I’ve always tried to keep the ‘online’ aspect of it to a minimum — why email for weeks on end before meeting up when you live in the same town?”
That is an absolutely reasonable, logical assessment. It makes perfect sense. Still, you want to know the God’s honest truth? I would never ever online date.
Okay, fine, I would never ever online date unless I were really, really desperate, and I’d like to think I wouldn’t be in a place to be really, really desperate. Assuming I’m not, however, I would never, ever online date.
Let me tell you why: Because I know how easy it is to lie online.
Why do I know how easy it is to lie online?
Because I’ve done it.
For years, I contributed fairly actively to several online movie and television message fan boards. I carried on extensive instant message conversations with other ladies (or so they say). I even met one of my online friends for lunch once (yes, she was the twenty-something female she’d claimed to be).
And still, I lied. I lied my face off.
I lied about my name, my age, my education, my family, my background… You want to hear a really funny story? One of the women with whom I spent hours chatting online is actually from Chattanooga and still lives here. Of course, when I moved here, I couldn’t say anything because I’d have to explain why I’d fabricated much of my life (the answer, by the way, is partly for safety, partly for catharsis and partly for fun). We lost touch.
“Being online, people are able to hide behind the wall of protection provided by the Internet, whether connected via PC or mobile device,” said Matt. “It is sort of … an alternate reality.”
Exactly. And if I, a decent woman who is not trying to bed some poor unsuspecting ingenue, would see fit to create such an “alternate reality,” what on Earth would stop some troll pervert from doing the exact same thing? Oh, I’m not saying that every guy online is a troll pervert, but I don’t know that the guy who would take an interest in me wouldn’t be. There is absolutely nothing stopping Internet stalkers from preying on grown people the same way they prey on children.
Frankly, I’d rather try to meet someone at a book club, or have a friend set me up, or spend evenings learning how to knit and watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns.
Hey, it’s a really funny show.
Originally published March 16, 2012 in the Chattanooga Times Free Press