I may be dating myself here, but I remember a time when online dating was about making connections with someone. A time when you used one site at a time, to chat, get to know someone, and then actually meet and hopefully go on a few dates. Where messages consisted of a few paragraphs and not just a smiley face. The time prior to online dating apps, the time of online dating websites.
In my single days, I would make online dating a big part of my day, an event actually. When I got home from work, and had finished eating, I would pour myself a glass of wine and log onto my site of choice. I would take the time to read each and every profile that showed up in the “viewed me” tab. I would take a deep breath and try and respond kindly to at least 50 percent of messages I had received and then I would open the message from the guy I was most interested in. Spending real and meaningful time forming my witty response to him. All the while sipping my wine, and envisioning the flirting that would ensue as a result of my message. When I was satisfied, I would hit send, quickly shut off my computer and go and draw my nightly bath.
This was my ritual, and it had a purpose. I wanted to allow him the time to read, formulate his response and write back to me. I didn’t want it to look like I was online all the time as that would make me look desperate. My time was valuable and I was not just waiting with baited breath for a reply. So I would take that long, luxurious bubble bath, fantasizing about meeting him for the first time. Building up some suspense and creating a bit a bit of longing. I believe I even quit using the site on weekends for a while to create the illusion that I was a busy girl whom you had to impress to get a date with! Ahhh… it was a time in my life that I look back upon fondly.
Yes, there was a lot of shit. You would have dry spells, weeks, sometimes months with an empty inbox. You would feel lost, and lonely and all these horrible revelations about yourself would float up to the surface. Often online dating just plain sucked. Or the times you re read your messages and realized they made absolutely no sense. Or came up with something so much better to say the next morning, wishing you could delete that last message, kicking yourself for blowing that all important first impression.
But time has passed. And I don’t remember the bad times as clearly. I remember those sweet little moments in time when I couldn’t wait to get home to start my dating ritual. When I would fall asleep with some sexy stranger on my mind and hope. Just hope that I could play my cards just right, and he would finally want to meet me. That we could make a real connection, in person. Face to face.
Those days, are gone. I don’t know if online dating can ever regain the charm that it once had for me. Now it’s a game of swipe. A game of fast retorts, with a rush to grab a drink before the next person swipes. Its hurried, and impersonal and frankly pathetic. I receive about 10 messages a day saying “hi”, or “hey” or “how are you”. And yes that last one had an intentional omission of a question mark. Why? Because we are too lazy to even use punctuation when online. Things like, hey u, are common place. It quite honestly make me sad. The ritual is gone, the sweet online seduction and flirtation does not exist anymore. But at least I still have my bubble baths.
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