How The Internet Ruined The Dating Game
Remember when it was fun to go out and potentially meet new single people that you could mingle with? It wasn’t just the fact that you were going to meet new people; it was the whole process that went with it. The preparation. The game plan. The team work. And even the rejection was something exciting when it happened to you because all you did was go back to your friends and discuss what went wrong; not before having a good laugh of course. The dating game was a place that strengthened your social skills, expanded your network, and the ultimate win of course—getting laid. But somewhere between MySpace and Tinder, there was a rift that changed the game I loved forever.
Now, I’m no stranger when it comes to sliding into someone’s DM’s. In fact, my friends and I were doing it before it was deemed acceptable and looking like a creep was inevitable. For those of you old enough to remember, there was a time where MySpace was red hot and Facebook was just opening up to more than just college students. One of my friends and I would friend request as many as 10-15 random girls a day. Out of those 10-15 girls, 5-8 would actually accept our friend request. From there we would send out a template message trying to get to know them. Getting a response back was 50/50, plus the ones that did respond rarely made it to the point where meeting was arranged. Another friend of ours came up with the idea of reading their bio’s, doing a little research, and breaking the ice that way. We saw a little progress, but the success rate was still slim to none. Eventually we abandoned the method soon after the start up. If you wanted relations, the internet was not the way to go.
Let’s fast forward a few years to around 2012. Not only was Facebook one of the most popular social media outlets at the time; Twitter and Instagram were also making some noise. By this time, I was a seasoned vet in the clubs so talking to women was a breeze. But it always came back to adding each other on social media. Honestly, that was how you really got to know someone. Stalking their pictures, reading their past statuses, and seeing what kind of friends they had all made for a way to figure out what type of person you were dealing with. You know, instead of actually talking to them face to face.
So one day, my drinking buddy came to me and started telling me about this site he used to pick up a lot of girls. I immediately shut the idea down due to the past experiences I had and didn’t give it a second thought. I was fine with doing it the old fashioned way. Getting drunk and saying whatever stuck so a girl could come home with me. My friend was persistent though and finally convinced me to give it a try. The website he put me on was called POF.com, and that, ladies and gentlemen, became my bread and butter. I picked up so many women on this website that I didn’t even need to go out. I would just pick out the girls I liked, message them and boom! I was having a meeting with them in my bedroom within a week. I had struck oil and the process was nonstop. I talked to the girls on POF during the week and invited them to my apartment soon after. Meanwhile, on the weekends I would still go out to the clubs to recruit. If I came up empty handed, I would just hit up one of my POF girls for a night cap. It was a fail proof plan for the most part.
But with every great discovery, there’s always some kind of downside to it and online dating wasn’t the exception. In the old days, a fail was considered not getting a response at all. In this era, a fail is considered taking it too far with someone. For example, I have been catfished before. Not to the extreme of the TV show we see today, but little subtle things may have be omitted when getting to know someone online. This one girl I met only took pictures at angles and from the shoulders up. Usually this was a red flag for me, but she looked like she could be related to Mila Kunis so I let it slide. Let me take this moment right now to say that I’m not fat shaming anyone, but when I met this girl she was almost double the size of what her pictures lead me to believe. I was shocked to say the least, but a mission was a mission so I went on with it.
We went to her room and I noticed she had on some sweatpants with block numbers going down them. I don’t know how we got on the topic, but she ended up telling me she got those pants when she went to jail. That definitely wasn’t in her bio. Needless to say, I was a little freaked, but not enough to stop what I came to do. We ended up doing what we did and that moment made me reflect a lot during a long, quiet car ride home. That’s the greatest risk of meeting people on the internet; you have no idea who you’re meeting until it’s too late. I heard far worse stories about people being robbed or murdered using the same exact website I was using. That’s when I knew it was time to go.
It’s been a while since I’ve used social media to pick up women. Tinder is the new hot thing I hear now, but honestly it’s more of a handicap than anything. Nobody knows the struggle anymore. They don’t know about starting a conversation with someone you just happened to walk pass. That moment you when you held your breath right before you tapped a girl on the shoulder. The first impression is now a profile picture and rejection is a push of a button. Instead of buying someone a drink to show your interest, you tag them as your MCM or WCW. Likes and comments are the new compliments and followers… the more you have, the more important you are. People in the dating world have some type of entitlement bestowed upon them. Like we’re lucky to be talking to one another. That’s your right to think that, but now we have a generation of people who don’t want to look thirsty so they opt out to not talk at all. Ironically, social media is taking everyone’s social skills away. It’s not all bad, because the internet has connected us in ways that we couldn’t even do 10 years ago. Some people found their soulmate on the internet. Others may have made lifetime friends with it. But when it comes specifically to dating, the internet has taken away the key element that made us individuals. We don’t look at each other the way we do our smartphones and it’s scary because at any given moment while you’re sliding in someone’s DM, your opportunity to meet someone special could slide right by you.
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.