Every few days I’ll log onto Facebook and be shocked at the number of notifications I have. This may not shock some of you with thousands of “friends,” since I tend to restrict my network to people I’ve met in real life and remember, but sometimes that little number telling me people have reacted to my posts has two digits. What a huge ego boost for this secondary-school wallflower.
Then I actually click on the number and see that my wife has just logged in and Liked practically everything I’ve done in the past 72-ish hours.
It’s really pretty sweet. It shows she’s paying attention to me, even when I’m snarking off at friends she’s never met or making random observations to the world at large. She thinks I’m interesting. Aw.
I didn’t meet my wife online, but pretty much my entire dating life before her and after college relied heavily on the Internet. It’s been my personal observation — so get that salt shaker ready — that while single men are on the pull pretty much everywhere, single ladies tend to think there’s a time and place for meeting a mate. I won’t pretend to have ever learned the rules in the real world, but the Internet? Piece of cake.
I mean, dating sites. Has there ever been a better invention? “Here’s what I look like. Here’s what I’m into. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want people to contact me, so, go ahead.” You don’t get that out in public, at friends’ parties, at school or at work. Sure, people lie, but then you have concrete evidence that they’re horrible people and can write them off.
Even having to write that “the stigma’s gone” means that the stigma isn’t totally gone, but is it more embarrassing than “we met at a bar”? Our oldest generation knows about the Internet now. Everyone shops at Amazon. It’s not this mysterious, seedy backwater anymore. As long as you don’t get specific and mention the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, you’re fine.
Of course, just like you wouldn’t pounce on an attractive but clearly bedraggled member of your preferred sex in the vitamin aisle of your local supermarket, it’s not always appropriate to hit on people on the Internet, either. That’s why there are dating sites in the first place. Just because someone has a pretty avatar next to their comment on a political blog, that doesn’t mean that they (a) are pretty, (b) are the person or sex their avatar portrays, or (c) are remotely interested in offers of whatever perverted thing you like to do. In fact, there are specialized dating sites for exactly that thing, no matter what it is, I guarantee. Google it. With SafeSearch off. At home.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible to meet someone outside the virtual walls of a dating site. Find the comment (and photo) of a friend of a friend on Facebook to be utterly enchanting? You have a link there. Ask the friend for more info. Check out the profile. Just don’t barge into the discussion with “WOW UR HOTT” because no, that’s not interesting.
And above all, dating site or not, don’t pin all your hopes on someone right away. Making contact is easy, for you and everyone else, and oftentimes good people get missed or ignored. Making a real connection still takes luck and time. Oh, and chocolate rarely hurts.
My Facebook is quite intimate, but everyone should see twitter.com/CitizenjaQ.