‘ Trapped in a sphere of technology we have lost all sight of our reality,Post-modern universe filled with bittersweet expectations,Craving our illegal high we forget the present, stumbling into warped minds,Awkward diners with nothing to say, unpalatable silence comes like death’s scythe,Crawl through the rotting weeds and reclaim your identity,Relive the golden years of decades past, Remember what it was like to meet someone new,Butterflies, candyfloss and bubblegum too, expectations vs reality is something cruel,I watch the diners who eat in clear discomfort, grating knifes scraping empty dishes,Fleeting glances of what was once left between them, realizing that the net could construct identities, the woman looked with disgust at the man who looked nothing like his picture and the man shrugged in absentminded silence’
I went on an online date once, egged on by university friends who told me I had been ‘single’ far too long and that I needed a man to make me happy. They thought that the promise of a new man would help me forget the mistakes of my past and move on to a ‘brighter’ and more ‘promising future’ but boy were they wrong. I had no expectations of the date except for the idea that I might meet someone I really liked or if romance was ‘dead’ then at least there would be a new friendship to consider right? As far as dates go I was more of a relationship type ‘gal’ and the concept of being taken on dates was relatively new since I was rarely taken on dates during my relationships. I was excited and pulled out all the stops to impress the guy I would be meeting; he was attractive, my type and we had excellent technological conversation. I started to think that this could be the start of something new yet it turned into the worst date I had ever had.Picked up in a swanky car I was taken to my destination of choice, hoping that I would be wined and dined in style. Now I am not snobby by any means but I would at least expect to be asked a choice in where I would like to go eat and drink. But I was not asked for my input and was taken to a pub which only had ‘pub snacks’ but mostly booze, booze and more booze. While I can’t drink now due to medication, at the time I drank on a social basis but much preferred going out to eat at restaurants. So we sat sipping on our drinks and despite me being a little offended he had not asked where I would like to go eat I persevered and ignored my stomach that was growling quite loudly. The conversation flowed well at first but quickly it became quite stale. I was struggling to fill in the silences and it made me wonder why the identities we construct online are so much more attractive than who we are in real life? But I digress our inane small talk was pleasant enough and although there was no chemistry he was a ‘nice guy’. Born and raised as a grafter his attitude to life was heartwarming and slowly but surely his hard shell cracked showering me with the compliments my wounded heart craved.
The date was starting to turn a corner and I felt like I might have judged him too harshly for not asking me where I would be able to eat (especially since I am a vegetarian). That was until marriage came into the equation; his soothing voice allowed me to zone out but was quickly jolted back to reality when I heard the ‘M’ word. M and me do not get on, from failed marriages to abusive relationships the constitution of marriage has never gone too well in my family. He told me how ‘excited’ he was to introduce me to his parents in New York and was going to fly me on a plane so we could have our ‘first romantic getaway together’. Hang on, I just met you 20 minutes ago and you are already talking about flying me to New York and then telling me how you think I am the ‘one’? Call me unsentimental but I don’t believe that love at first sight exists and I am all for being spontaneous but you might want to ask my permission first. I thought it could not get worse and as I heard him rambling on about what kind of wedding he wanted and how his parents would love a ‘posh bird’ (A. I am not a bird and B. I am not posh) like me I wondered whether it would be rude to make my excuses and leave.But I felt bad and concluded that he was nervous and that is why he was trying to impress me. It was sweet in a way; he was clearly a romantic (I am not) and I made sure that I sounded enthusiastic as possible so I did not offend him. I was not ready for what came next, he stopped his train of thought and looked deep into my eyes without saying a word and it was unsettling. G told me that he thought that the date was going so well that he had already drafted up a marriage, baby and parent contract that would be spaced out over five years. I was a little confused, as an independent woman I should think that I have some choice in the matter but I guess I was wrong. G was practically dictating what we could and couldn’t do and I cannot stand men who try and control me. He seemed like a sweet enough guy and thought he was being helpful but he was not. I do not appreciate being spoken to like I am there to be signed, sealed and delivered instead of someone who has thoughts and opinions of her own.
I was lost for words and when he told me that he ‘could not’ wait to take me back to the shag pad and start making beautiful children I had enough. I was polite throughout and wanted to give G the benefit of the doubt but this was taking the biscuit. Sex should be spoken about but not in a way that depicts me as a piece of meat to be purchased for display. I told him that it was lovely to meet him but I really had to get home and eat since I have been here for the last two hours. He was apologetic but it did not make up for the fact that I was given no say in what we could and couldn’t do. My point being is that online dating has allowed us to create identities that do not exist in the real world and those constructive identities only highlight how alienating dating is in the modern age. What ever happened to meeting someone at a party or asking that cutie at the coffee bar whether he would like another drink? Love is something I have never experienced, I always thought that I was in love but never was and it saddens me that our expectations of dating have created a ‘sexual contract’.
On most of my dates there was the expectation that the male would have sex at the end of the date and that was a real turnoff for me. I am not the kind of girl who will be told what to do so it is up to me whether I choose to consent or not.Which is why I chose to partner up with Rendeevoo, the dating app who brings the fun back into dating. From coffee shops like the divine Joe Kids and their avocado sarnies to cocktail bars like Mimi’s Lounge (they do the best mocktails I swear) Rendeevoo believes that we should be able to meet the ‘one’ in a ‘real’ rather than ‘imitated’ environment. Which I wholly agree with, my parents met because they moved to England around the same time and I met my boyfriends through work, school, friends or friends of friends. Dating has not been the same since and it makes me question whether it is a lost cause. But I was wrong and through Rendeevoo I discovered that there is no chronological order to how or when you date. We all progress at different stages and for me online dating took away the experience of a true date but I cannot wait to explore restaurants, cafes and bars each month with Rendeevoo and find out whether my dream man truly exists.
Would You Forgo Online Dating?
Please note I was not compensated to write this post, all opinions and research is my own and content written is taken from my own personal experience of online dating.Photography- Jumanna Khanom
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