Single girl: Why would I date a man who can't punctuate?
Published 18/03/2011 | 15:14
Had you announced to your friends a decade ago that you were meeting up with someone you had only communicated with via the internet, they would have deemed you certifiable and asked what kind of funeral you wanted.
But a lot has changed in 10 years. Back then, nobody but his close friends and family knew who Simon Cowell was, and had somebody told you that they were going to poke you on Facebook you would have wondered what kind of strange sexual deviant this person was.
Internet dating is a service that continues to profit not because it is so successful at marrying people off, but because it isn't.
You don't find love on one website, so off you trot to an another. You fail there, and you wind up at yet another, despite telling yourself that you would only give it another two months.
Seven years later, you find yourself blinking at a computer screen, and wondering if you might now be married with kids had you only given up on the concept of online dating aeons ago.
In my experience, people on these websites fall into three categories: ones who look like they would flash you over Skype, ones who cannot spell or punctuate, and ones who lie.
In the virtual world, everyone is a rock-climbing brain surgeon who is into arts and the theatre. How easy it is to create the idea of a fully-formed personality in 2D.
And I have done it, too. I have lied about wanting children because I don't want to seem desperate. I have pretended that I like going to galleries when I don't really. There is no box that says "I like to spend my weekends on the sofa eating crisps and watching Come Dine With Me".
Bits of it have made me laugh. On one website for Jewish singles, you can click on the option of meeting people from the Vatican. And I like going on dates with men who have moody black-and-white profile pictures, if only to confirm my suspicion that they have confused self-importance with sensitivity.
Online dating makes people mercenary. Time is money, and an evening in your company is very often a waste of someone's subscription fee.
But my main problem with internet dating is that I can't help thinking that if a bloke is there online, then he should probably get out more – as should I.