A decade or so ago, online dating in South Africa still had something of a stigma attached to it. Relationships created with the click of a mouse were considered slightly strange and if you did happen to form a relationship with someone you met on a dating site, it wasn’t something you would readily admit to. Fast forward ten years, and online dating has become part of pop culture and it is one of the main avenues single people in their twenties and thirties use to meet one another.
Something that was once the exception has now become the norm. But what exactly is this new norm? How has online dating affected our view of potential partners and the way in which we form relationships?
Online dating has a number of positive elements. It can be reassuring to form a connection with someone on an emotional and mental level before having to meet them in person. Also, as most online dating sites have compatibility questionnaires that all members are requested to fill out, you can tell at a glance that the cute guy with the GSOH (good sense of humour) and the baby blue eyes might be a great potential partner for you. It’s an easy way of sorting the wheat from the chaff (or in this case the chavs).
It’s also nice that you don’t need to go out on the town in order to meet the boyfriend or girlfriend of your dreams. You can get to know someone in the comfort of your living room, while sitting in your PJs. What’s not to like?
However, online dating, I fear, has taken the “grass is greener” syndrome , and added an extra layer of AstroTurf. In fact turfing your current partner out in favour of the mysterious unknown is something which is almost impossible to resist if you’re a committed online dater. When you belong to an online dating site, it isn’t easy to forget that your Prince or Princess Charming could be just around the corner. You may meet someone who has 98% of the qualities you are looking for in a potential mate, but when you are surrounded by an abundance of potential dating prospects, you may well find it difficult to relinquish the idea that you could meet your 100% perfect partner right after you commit to a relationship with Mr or Ms 98%.
This nagging thought, I believe, has contributed to certain people becoming serial online daters. It is easier to commit to online dating than it is to commit to someone from an online dating site. And our throwaway society simply compounds the problem. Are there plenty of fish in the sea or are we simply overfishing the ocean?
In my novel, The Blog Affair, my main character, Emma, writes a blog about “serial datists” and why they should be avoided. Read on to find out what she has to say…
…A PLACE FOR YOU TO POINT OUT YOUR VIEW
The first time I ever met a serial datist, I was nineteen years old. At that age, I wasn’t capable of recognising the warning signs of this particular species of the human male. Needless to say, I got burned. Badly.
Serial datism is a concept I’ve been pondering recently. And it’s something I hope to examine in this blog. Any comments from readers are welcome, therefore, as I attempt to shed light on a variety of the dating male that has me completely bemused.
The best way to do this, I’ve decided, is to debate in an open forum—where I, and any other participants in the discussion, can flick on the switch, in a manner of speaking, and illuminate the matter.
I attract serial datists, and so it is perfectly fitting that I should introduce this topic into cyber space. But this doesn’t mean I’m an expert at identifying them. You see, the tricky thing about serial datists is that they aren’t easily defined.
They come in many shapes and sizes and forms, and they may even mutate! They can start off in one form and end up in quite another shape and size within a small space of time. And therein lies their danger.
Okay—to introduce myself. I’m Penelope (well, that’s one of my names) and this blog is called Penelope’s Pantry, because like Penelope from ancient Greek mythology, I’ve had loads of suitors in my life.
And the pantry part? Well, a pantry is a dark storeroom, and this is where I hope to stockpile my thoughts and feelings and emotions. On neatly stacked shelves, of course. I’m a fanatically neat person, and like things to be tidy.
So let’s start at the very beginning (my ordered mind demands this) with a definition of a serial datist: He is a male who, like a bee, goes from one woman to the next, landing on each female blossom for a short period of time. When he leaves, he stings them.
But unfortunately, unlike a bee, a serial datist doesn’t die after he stings. He goes on to sting again and again, and the only way to kill him is to swat him, or stomp on him with your heel. Or leave out a bowl of sugared water in which he can drown. But, on second thoughts, I think the latter technique is for ants....
Be that as it may, before anyone starts wondering whether I’m a convicted killer, I hasten to assure you I am not. I’ve certainly felt a strong desire to stomp on the various bees that have entered my life, but fortunately for these creatures, the thought of killing causes me to break out in hives. Therefore, it is only a fantasy I have indulged in from time to time.
Now that we’ve cleared up the fact that I’m not a murderer, I would like to point out that the bee who delivers his nasty stings is the real killer in the scenario. Why? Well, it’s obvious. He kills your feelings, and leaves your emotions bleeding to death. Some more pedantic readers out there might point out that bee stings don’t cause you to bleed. So what—I’m using it in a figurative sense.
But, and here I’m not being figurative at all, bees can make you swell up. Besides the fact that their stings can cause you to comfort-eat, it is possible to develop a life-threatening allergy to them. And I’m afraid that’s what’s happened to me. I am allergic to serial datists AKA bees AKA Emotionally Unavailable Men.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. That is simply one of the categories of serial datists. According to my calculations, there are at least four others.
Allow me to list them:
1) The afore-mentioned Emotionally Unavailable Male
2) The Wannabe Player
3) The Commitment-Phobe
4) The Bad Boy
5) The Misogynist (before he finds a woman to control)
I will be examining each category in more detail later. But in the meantime—any comments from readers on what I’ve already expounded are most welcome.
Posted by Penelope on Tuesday, July 8 at 08:32 p.m
It’ll be interesting to see how online dating evolves in the future. With the rapid advancement of all sorts of technologies, the way people interact with each other is changing at an amazing pace. Who knows? Perhaps our grandkids will laugh at how their old-fashioned grandparents used to date online. Because, although online dating may well be part of today’s pop culture, the very nature of pop culture is that it is ever changing.
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