To wink or not to wink? ;)

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Courtship: an age-old tradition of a man and a woman finding love. In the past, a man was encouraged to woo the lady in order to gain her trust and affection. However in the twenty first century, long gone are the days when such courtship was the only way to find a partner. Modern society relies largely on another platform: online dating. With more that eight-million Brits logging onto an internet dating website every year, it’s no wonder times have changed.

Photo by Julia Lampe

Dating websites give people an opportunity to ‘window shop’ for a partner based on the pictures they choose to show of themselves and the information they share. You can get matched up with someone based on your interests or you can simply find people in your local area. Most dating websites boast of their high match-rates and how many happy couples have spawned from their ‘incredible matching technique’. To get a better insight, I decided to join one such site to see if you really can find genuine people on the cyber love-market.

I decided to join the free dating website www.okcupid.com, which claims to be ‘the Google of online dating’ – promising! I signed up, a little fazed by the hundreds of questions I had to answer about myself, but an hour later my profile was looking moderately legitimate with an honest representation of myself. I had a scout around the website for potential people to message and was surprised to find quite a few eighteen-to-twenty-one year olds, which I didn’t expect with my misconception that dating websites were for older people. The people on the site were really varied and most people sounded genuinely interesting and out to find that special someone. I found a few people I liked the look of and gave them a virtual ‘wink’.

Logging on the next day, I found my account flashing with eight unread messages. I then found out that while online dating sites do indeed attract some sincere people, they also pull in some creeps…

Two messages were genuine, and the other six were a different story. Most read along the lines of ‘wanna meet up for some fun?’, and then came the essay. The guy looked fine on his profile but, to cut his message short, he wanted to go to Vegas with me, marry me, get me pregnant and then live off the money we could get for selling our babies. I have no idea if this guy thought that this would impress me… but if someone said that to me in person I’d tell him where to go.

My online dating experience was short and maybe not entirely sweet, but it was eye-opening all the same. Maybe in this day and age online dating can work for some people and I’m sure that many people could find their match on the world wide web. However, after my experience, I’m taking my profile off that site and doing it the old fashioned way – it’s much easier and you definitely won’t get so many creepy messages. It’s much simpler to just go out with your friends and get on the pull!

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