Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online Dating Etiquette

Edit: Since writing this, I've received a short but sweet message back from Theo. All is well. We're talking about getting together again this weekend. Plus, while I was waiting to hear from him I had a nice exchange of messages with a guy I'll call Jesse. Depending on how things work out with Theo, I may end up meeting up with Jesse. So the below now really is just a lot of frustration I needed to get out of my system.

Disclaimer: this post is a bit of a rant, though it's also an update and an ask for advice.

When looking for a date in the real world, one must have tough skin. A lot of energy is put into scoping out, approaching, and attempting to speak to potential dates. It's hard enough to approach, let alone speak, to someone new, so there are plenty of people who are only seen from afar and remembered as "what ifs?." In the real world, if one is fortunate enough to elicit a phone number from another, it's up to the receiver of that number to call it and the giver to answer (or even give a real number in the first place).

Online, it's different. Everyone is just as approachable as everyone else. There are no groups of friends to push you toward someone, the person being approached can't see you coming and hide before you get to them (well, not usually), and his/her friends can't intervene. If you do choose to message someone, it's understood that if he/she is not interested, there's no need to reply.

However, what remains the same with real-world and online dating is that if you actually go on a date with someone, the rules during and after that date are the same. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if a date ends with "This was really fun and we should do it again," there's going to be an assumption that there might be a second date.

Such is the situation I find myself in with Theo (and the one I had with Aiden). I sent that second date message and am now waiting for a response. Perhaps I'm more polite than the average person, but if I receive a second date message from someone I've decided I don't want to see again, I at least have the courtesy to write him back. Is this too much to ask?

The one difference between the real world and online, is that in the real world, if you go on a date with a guy you met at the bar and you don't hear from a him again, you have no idea what he's up to. In the online world, you can see what he's up to, if he's been online, if he's been updating his profile.

Then again, one can also see that 21 year-old guys with usernames like kickaxecode want you to IM with them. That just adds insult to injury.

1 comment:

Superquail said...

I am glad to hear that Theo messaged you back! It seems like he is a good guy, even if a bit slow. Perhaps in the future he will be more on the ball about getting back to you. Or perhaps he was agonizing over the word choice of his message and wanted to make it sound just perfect before sending it.

Let us know how your next meeting with him goes!

As for etiquette, I sure wish I had the answers. The Internet is still so very new and there are many ways in which it remains uncharted territory. I remember doing "Internet-based research" back in middle school and using those old search engines like Alta Vista or WebCrawler. It took forever to find what you were looking for! I can only hope that there will be a Google of on-line dating that will work so well and so reliably that it will cause a romance revolution and everyone will be falling in love. :)