Wednesday, 3 July 2019

*On dating IRL

offline dating


A single friend of mine was recently telling me about her trials and tribulations in the online dating world. So, I asked her, 'well have you tried meeting anyone offline? You know, in real life?' to which she stared at me, her eyes agog, as if from my neck another head had sprouted and was talking in pig latin. 'People don't meet in the real world anymore, everyone meets online' she told me. It was my turn to watch a twisted, Medusa-esq head sprout up and glare at me. As the conversation went on, she told me it's better to meet people online, because you can get to know as much or as little about them in a shorter space amount of time, as long as they can type fast. You can do it all from the comfort of your own home, logged into a dating site, wearing your pjs and a face mask. The mystery guy or gal you're speaking to doesn't need to see the toothpaste drying on your spots, you can just send them a very filtered selfie from a previous night out if they want to see what you look like. 

You don't run the risk of a bad first impression when it comes to online dating. You won't awkwardly fall over your words or smear cappuccino froth on your top lip, you can put your very best self forward at any time of the day. With sites like welovedates.com, you can find your soul mate from a multitude of sources, sorted by age, interest, how they take their tea and what their postcode is. If all goes well, then you can put your best game face on and meet them out in the real world, if not, well, that's what the WhatsApp graveyard is for. 

offline dating


But is online dating really the only way to go? Do people really not fall in love in the line at Starbucks anymore, or have a moment on the bus straight out of a Richard Curtis film?

A lifetime ago, when I was oh so young and single, I never ventured into online dating. It wasn't as big a thing as it is these days, and to say you met anyone off the internet was always met with an air of panic and a 'you should have told me where you were going, I could have hid around the corner and kept an eye on you'. Catfishing was rife, and no matter how long you spoke to someone on MSN for, or how much you loved the lyrics in their screen name, meeting them outside of the chat room was a huge taboo. People had no choice but to put themselves out there in the real world, to casually start up conversations with cute strangers, or throw another shot down their neck before they had enough dutch courage to ask someone to dance. Are you really telling me people don't do this anymore? The butterflies, the nerves, the rejections, it was all a part of the dating game. You won some hearts, you broke some hearts, some hearts you were never quite brave enough to approach, and you still catch yourself wondering 'what if?'. But that was dating.

'How would you do it then?' my friend asked, 'if you went about playing matchmaker, setting unsuspecting singles up, how would you do it?'

I'd start by putting the phone down. All too often now, we reach for our phones as a distraction. People don't just stand in a queue anymore, or at a bus stop. Everyone has their head down, staring into screens, only lifting up to see if that rumble they can hear belongs to the bus they're waiting for or their stomach. Put the phone down, look up, look around, catch somebody's eye. Ask them for the time, tell them you like their coat, strike up a conversation. Even if it's meaningless, you'll get a kick out of at least trying to talk to someone you think is worth the time until the next bus comes along.

And people can still fall in love in the queue at Starbucks. If the hottie in front of you orders something that sounds really good, tell them. Tell the barista you'll have what their having. If they sit down, alone, ask can you join. Yes it's nerve wracking, yes you'll probably want to throw up, but what a story to tell in the future. Same goes for pubs, bars, and Greggs. If you really want to strike up a conversation with someone, you can find an excuse. If they don't reciprocate, if they see that second head sprouting from your neck, fine. Move on. But you tried and it's their loss (or your lucky escape!) if it doesn't go any further than them giving you an awkward sideways glance as they mumble the time and take a step back.

offline dating


Online dating is a wonderful thing, I know so many happy couples who have met this way, but, it’s also worth remembering that sometimes the more nerve wracking, traditional approach to meeting that special someone still has it’s place, and you shouldn’t give up on it (or them, or you!) just yet! 

How did you meet your other half?

Until next time, 





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*This post is a collaboration. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy. 

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