True Love on the Internet(?)

Like every good citizen these days I like to utilize the power of the internet to stay connected with all the people I know all over the country.  As it stands I have a Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress blog and a DeviantArt account and I do check them all quite frequently.  It’s amazing how much you can actually learn about someone just by what they can spit out in 140 characters or less.  Most of these sites do use the information you put into their websites as I’m sure you know so they can peg you into a demographic and try to sell you stuff. That’s how they make their money without having to charge for such ridiculous services. I started noticing this a while back and I saw something that piqued my curiosity.

I’m going to preface the rest of this post by saying that I cannot believe I’m actually writing a post about this but it would seem that maintaining this blog instead of posting even more random stuff here isn’t really the best use of my time or the space I’ve been given. I have to tell you that this was a bit of a journey for me and I really would like to share everything with you because I’m sure you’ve experienced something like this. Or you might be the opposite and just snubbed your nose at the very idea of doing what I did and will probably make fun of me for it. So it goes, I guess. It’s nothing horrible, so get that stuff out of your head. I guess it’s time to unveil the topic of discussion.

So, the ads on Facebook are starting to make appeals to me as if it’s not apparent to me at the age of 25 that I am still single. Yes, yes, I know it’s hard to believe a guy who evenly divides his time between being a full-time student, a full-time employee and rest-of-the-time movie watcher, book reader and now blog writer would not be Facebook-official with someone. It just does not make any sense but that’s the way things are and I accept that. Facebook has decided that it wants to help me find that special someone by giving me ads to various dating websites ranging from the really high class ones like eHarmony to really weird and low-rent ones like speeddating.com or something along those lines. I have to admit that I am human and extremely curious so, at one point, I got curious.

What did I find? Well, lots of things really and none of them really all that pleasant.  All of these dating websites have the same basic step-by-step process to get you hooked up with some of the hottest and most beautiful girls that the internet has to provide. Or, at least that’s what the ad would leave you to believe.  This is my first issue with these kinds of websites: Implicitly stating you’re going to find a hottie instantly if you sign up on their website.  Of course this is a marketing ploy and there really aren’t any girls like that on the internet because girls like that don’t need to use a dating site. Now, I am not the most shallow person in the world because I truly believe that there is a weirdo out there for everybody but I have to say that I was highly disappointed.  All these beautiful women with airbrushed faces on the front page enticing you, almost calling your name and telling you to crash you ship — I mean sign up for the website.  When I signed up for the first time I was immediately shocked that no such girl would I ever find using that particular website.

Actually, it’s like that for most of the websites I went to.  Lots of attractive people to suck you into their service and then you find yourself truly disappointed and feeling a little bit like you’ve been duped.  But the deception doesn’t stop there!  Oh, no, my friends the hits just keep on coming. Once you give them some basic demographic information they put you through the UNBEARABLY LONG PERSONALITY QUIZ. They use the results from the information to provide you with the people who are the most compatible with you (We’ll come back to this).  But here’s the catch and the second part of their elaborate ruse.  They’ll take your information and get you matched up but if you want to actually see who they matched you up with you have to whip out the plastic and pay a monthly fee to gain access.  In my journeys through the online dating scene I saw this masked a few ways.  It is seen as a mere verification that you are who you say you are and you just happen to have to pay for the service, or a membership fee or sometimes they’ll be honest and tell you up front that you have to pay to see your matches. The altruism is so thick you can cut it with a shard of your broken heart.

This is one thing I have never understood about online dating. They want to do their best to find you that certain special someone with their service and they make it sound like their main goal.  Even the Christian dating websites that I was serendipitously linked to by Facebook would ultimately match me up with people and then demand money from me when I wanted to see if their service even worked.  Because, let me tell you, I am not entirely certain that this compatibility research that they do is at all correct or worth it. Granted, I do know a couple that met through one of these websites and they’re married and have a kid. But most of the websites I found ended up being more like online prostitution than an actual service to be provided. I felt like I had been cheated website after website after website because all they wanted was the numbers to my debit card. Now, to be honest, I didn’t hit any of these websites with hope or desire to find someone special.  This is what happens when I have free time.

How does compatibility really work? I do believe that if we knew the answer to this then all of our problems of love would be solved.  Granted, we’d be out of a lot of righteous tunes like “Layla” by Eric Clapton or “Romance of the Southern Spirit” by Zao but at least we’d all be partnered up.  Adam had it easy because God made him his perfect companion but when sin entered the world the idea of finding someone perfectly compatible for you went right out the gate with our first parents.  What I do know is that a lot of the time, when it comes to relationships, we look for the qualities that we want in the opposite sex but not necessarily the qualities we need to compliment who we are as a people.

I don’t think we have the ability to know that stuff, at least not entirely.  I think looking for love is one of the most dangerous games you can play with your heart. Trust me, I know and I have suffered consequences and pain that I won’t even dare share here because it will seem like I’m searching for pity. I’m not. I believe that God must have some work to do on my heart before he’ll let me share it with someone else at that level and I’m okay with that right now.  That was the greatest part of this journey through the myriad of online dating websites there are out there.  I, personally, don’t like being single all that much but I know I’d be miserable if I weren’t right now.  Life is just way too hectic and I can’t afford to get distracted any more than I already am. These online dating websites certainly were certainly a distraction for me for quite some time.

I have seen the future and it’s not dating someone I met via the internet, at least as far as I was able to tell and I visited a lot of sites both Christian and secular.  The Christian ones really had nothing over the secular ones except for one, iChurch.com, that asked me three whole questions of whether or not I would conduct myself on this website in a Christian fashion or not which was resolved with a few clicks of my mouse. It’s all just a ruse and an excuse for people to seek attention on a wider scale than could ever be hoped for in real life and it’s kind of sad. I’m sure these sites have worked for some people but I don’t think I’ll ever use one. There’s too much deception involved with the sites and the lies inherent with sharing yourself on the internet. When the time comes, I think I’ll know it and I hopefully won’t be staring at a computer screen when it happens. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.

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