At least, according to this report (by way of New York Magazine), we do. As the article points out, online dating “[is] not an experiment we perform, but a behavior integral to the creation of maintenance of modern relationships.”
Behavior. As in, ever connected with a blast from the past on Facebook? Accepted a date via email from a friend of a friend whom you’ve never met, but who thought you looked cute in someone else’s online photo album and thought they’d ask you out? Posted to Craigslist’s Missed Connections? Yes, yes, and no, though the idea of being someone else’s MC feels kind of special.
Which leads to another point the article brings up: it’s not online dating that people are necessarily uncomfortable with, it’s the idea of “meeting” online. In other words, people are afraid of the stereotypes associated with online dating—desperate, isolated, just plain weird, as the article suggests—even though the research shows a sizable jump in its general acceptance, due in large part to the integration of the Internet in every other facet of our modern lives, which, ironically, can make people feel more alone. But I digress. My iPhone sleeps safely and soundly underneath my pillow every night.
Anyway. I’ve made no secret about my apprehension toward online dating (though, in addition to the activity above, I'm also guilty of occasionally flirting on Twitter, which is included in the ambiguous blur of "Internet romance," and which makes me, um, a hypocrite), but as my many attractive friends who do date online have pointed out, it’s simply a tool in one’s arsenal to meet new people, not a replacement for meeting people in real life (which I think will always be my preferred method of courtship, fantasies of handsome strangers at the BPL be damned). If, like me, you’ve been on the fence about testing the waters for fear of what people will think—and if, as Deborah Sloan pointed out in a previous post, you’re unsatisfied with your current dating life—maybe it’s time to put your anxiety to the side and get with 2013.
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