Mika xL Column 9, February
by Mika via xL Repubblica
I was 22. I had left college a year before. I had just signed my record deal and had lost myself completely in my music. For one year I did not go on a single date. One night however, at 9pm I received an email on my personal myspace page asking me out. I had no idea who it was and two days later I went. The romance was short lived. Two weeks and four dates. It was perfect, and heartbreaking when it ended. “That’s the way it goes…” I was told, “didn’t you know?”. Internet dating etiquette was something I was truly naive about. A one night stand was one thing. This was different. It felt unresolved and messy. Emotional lines had been crossed and I was angry. In truth it was all my fault, but I still felt like a slut.
That was my introduction to internet dating. Myspace, the Facebook of yesterday. Where our pictures were always better than the reality and our words typed always more entertaining than the ones spoken. Since then internet dating has become so much the norm that out of five of my close friends who have been going on dates in the last twelve months, all of them have been out with someone they met online, and two of them exclusively so. In a coffee shop in London the other day, I over heard a guy my age hitting on a brunette he met in the queue, saying he wanted to see her again he asked her if she had a Facebook. She quickly rebuffed that she “preferred reality”. After that, he just gave up. I thought she was just making conversation, but obviously her comment made him feel lame, as if he wasn’t man enough to date her in the real world. I think he was better off, she seemed like a bitch and he was better looking.Isn’t that the best thing about the internet? You can approach someone that you would never be brave enough to, or even have time to in real life. And let’s face it, anyone with an internet connection does it in some way. Even if you meet someone for the first time in the flesh, if you’re interested you go online and see what you can dig up. We find ourselves piecing together their life, from holiday snaps with drunk friends, to whether they have children or if the pictures of them alone seem too egocentric or staged. At the end of all the online digging you might as well had met online. Perhaps there really isn’t a difference any more.I admire people who shy away from all forms of internet dating. Mainly because I wonder how they do it? A friend of mine asserts that internet dating breaks down social barriers, that you can meet someone regardless of their profession or wealth. Funny thing is, she only ever wants to go out with people who earn at least 40 grand a year, and will rifle through someones dirty laundry online until she can assure herself of his “status”.
I guess the internet hasn’t changed dating much at all. Even if some people say that everyone is doing it, it doesn’t mean they’re going to ‘do it’ with everyone, and that’s what I didn’t understand the first time round. The fact that I knew so much about the person before going on a single date, accelerated the relationship. All this information made me think I would be with that person for a long time. It enabled me to become close, even obsessed very quickly. What I didn’t understand was that knowing more about the other person didn’t make me a more suitable partner and I should have been more guarded.
As the film maker David Lynch says, we are in a download age. Not one decision or transaction doesn’t involve a download of information of some sort. The internet is part of our reality, that’s what the brunette in the coffee shop got wrong. What she was really saying was that she didn’t fancy him. He didn’t fit her criteria and the Facebook jibe was a cheap one made to make him feel like a dork. I’m glad he walked away.Translation in Progress
by Mika via xL Repubblica