Thursday, May 05, 2005

Consumer Culture

I’ve decided there’s no point sitting around waiting for my life to change, so I’m being a little pro-active. One of the steps I’ve taken is to try and cheer myself up by beginning a search for a possible new relationship… the first and easiest place to look is online dating sites. My personal favourite is a local service. It’s quite popular.

I have many issues with how the site works, but I use it anyway. I may deal with those in another post, but something new just occurred to me.

When looking at buying something expensive, like a car, computer or cell phone, I’m the sort of person who will scour the web and check every specification of it. I’ll compare it carefully with other products of a similar class and pick the one that best suits my needs.

I realised today that in browsing the dating site I’m doing the same thing with women. There’s a copious amount of personal information on each person’s profile… from physical appearance to turn-ons and turn-offs. All that data essentially amounts to a set of specifications.

While it appeals to my geekish mind to be able to evaluate that information before making contact, I can’t escape the feeling that is removes a lot of the mystery.

Most of the fun of the dating process lies in getting to know the other person… learning about their family, their pets, their tastes and sense of humour; tasting their cooking; watching each other’s favourite movies.

There are many little Discovery Moments ™ that are eliminated because you are expecting them. If you have the break-down beforehand, things like seeing her wearing glasses for the first time, finding a hidden tattoo or hearing her launch into a conversation with a stranger in fluent Spanish won’t surprise you at all. I quite like surprises.

With my lifestyle it’s not easy to meet new people, so Internet dating sites seem the logical solution. But are they really worth it?