In the days before dating apps, meeting someone meant you had to approach them in the pub or on the street. You took a chance and put yourself at risk of rejection in front of their friends, or worse: your friends.
Today, depending on the dating app you use, there’s lots of different ways to connect. In some you simply match when you both like each other, in others you can favourite a person or wink at them to break the ice. I’ll be honest (as I usually am) I’m not really a fan of the favouriting and winking. It’s lazy, it says I might like you but I’m not going to compose anything for fear of rejection.
Rejection in the form of an unreplied message or an unreturned wink hardly qualifies as real rejection. There’s nobody watching, there’s no moment of having to walk away with your tail between your legs.
It takes real initiative to walk up to someone and ask them out in the real world. This doesn’t happen anymore since online dating arrived but I’m still searching for that show of effort. Sadly nobody is providing it online.
We’ve made starting the game infinitely easier and the unfortunate result is no effort is made at all. It’s now far too easy to chat forever after sending that first message and never actually take the step into the real world. This is certainly true of the men I’ve been chatting to for any length of time. Have we translated this change in goalposts into ‘the message is all the effort that’s required?’ Are we happy to stay with these online virtual conversations infinitely? I’m certainly not. I’ve found this before with Penpals but had thought it was the exception, not the rule. Sadly I was wrong.
Is it because the virtual meeting happened so easily that we’re now interacting with the lazy singles who never had the nerve to approach you in a bar? In changing the goalposts, have we just allowed the lazy and the cowardly to enter the game too?
Maybe I’m being too harsh? Maybe it’s not realistic of me to expect that if you’ve been texting someone for a week, that it’s time for a coffee date. Maybe it’s also unrealistic to expect a second date after another week or so. Should we be having actual real world phone calls by then? Perish the thought! It seems I might be destined to be a virtual penpal forever.
I’m not so arrogant to believe it couldn’t possibly be me, of course it could. In fact the little voice in my head reminds me regularly that it’s something I’m doing. I’ve had low self esteem for far too long to ever truly escape it but at the same time I’m unwilling to settle for being a penpal either. What’s most infuriating is that this sudden disinterest always seems to happen when I suggest it’s time to take the conversation away from idle chit chat with a stranger on an app. It could well be just coincidence, it could be that I come across as demanding or bossy. I will not change, I will not settle, I want effort. No, I demand it.
Ironically, the standard of effort is so damn low in today’s dating world that it would take very little to completely sweep me off my feet.
Today I’m fed up of asking for effort, fed up of not getting it and fed up of all the interesting but lazy singles I’m finding. Reasons not to quit this project are eluding me right now. Pep talks welcome.