Monday, January 30, 2006


It is funny: several things from quite a range of sources which I have read over the past few days have been on the same theme, that of the futility of dating as an effective way to find a life partner. For example, this article says that
dating presents itself as an education in human relationships. In fact it’s an anti-education. You could invent no worse preparation for love, for marriage, than the tireless pursuit of the perfect partner.
Over here,
dating was just what you had to do to get to the relationship stage. (and thankfully I don't intend to be doing any more of it!) Dating involved too much uncertainty, too much processing, too much distraction.
And the tweeters have been in on it as well, but they always are.

So, it is somewhat surprising that on Friday I found myself on a date. To give some background, there is this giant lottery in Europe at the moment, for something like 150 million quid. One fellow said that the odds of winning are about as good as meeting 40 unknown people randomly in the street and being able to guess their telephone number. Slightly better odds, in other words, than I'd give for me ever finding a suitable life partner. After all, it was recognition of that truth about me that helped me decide upon my present career, as it seemed to provide a better way to deal with such a circumstance than my previous choice of living. Burying myself in scholarly pursuits seemed to open up an, albeit limited, vista. Of course, I failed to consider the possibility that coffee girls would provide such a distraction.

But the point is, no matter how inefficient a process dating might be, if your world view does not extend to a belief in actually finding someone, then dating becomes redundant. It isn't that I necessarily don't think there is anyone who might see me as suitable; there has been a surprising number of those who evidently have. Unfortunately for those who hope for a symmetrically paired off world, I don't see many of those I meet as suitable, sufficently into the things which occupy my time and mind. I feel a fair amount of affinity for my old friend Seymour, off Ghost World, when he says "I can't relate to 99% of humanity". It is not a particularly comfortable space to occupy: I sometimes wonder how long it will be before I do go mad, turn into another of Dunedin's celebrities with his own catalogue of tics and nickname. I look around and see other people stumbling in and out of relationships all the time, and think to myself "why not me?". The thought of actually finding someone who "gets" me does appeal and, on occasion, doesn't seem impossible.

And so, I enable a profile on an online dating site, look around for those who appear to be literate, those who mention some of the things of interest to me in their profile, those who are not full of the things to which I am opposed. The most fascinating thing about this process has been the number of women prepared to send me messages, despite a complete lack of any apparent connection. A few, on a site I no longer visit, even become hostile when I find myself completely unable to summon up anything to say.

I am not sure how Friday night's date came to be - a message came in from someone, she seemed (and was, let there be no doubt about that) nice, but there were so many reasons given in my profile for her not to contact me. It is not surprising, therefore, that the evening was over almost before it started.


Blogger piksea said...

You have my sympathies. I found that online dating while exposing you to more people than you would otherwise meet, also exposes you to many people whose existence you would be far better off not knowing. I did meet a wonderful man online. You know what they say about having to kiss a lot of frogs? I had to sort through a plague of frogs, most of whom were far to froggy to even consider kissing.

Two small bits of advice: 1) take advantage of the seemingly unlimited choices and carefully screen them before meeting anyone (although this is probably slightly less dangerous for men); and 2) always find a way to respond and let them down nicely if you are not interested. People get ugly and scary if you don't respond to them. I always made it something that could not be construed as their fault. (I'm looking for someone closer to my age, I only want to date someone local, etc.) Good luck!

4:04 AM  

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