We tweet, Facebook, BBM, IM, Whatsapp, e-mail … we seem to avoid actually speaking to one another as much as possible.
These days, meeting people no longer requires a face-to-face encounter, and online dating is fast becoming the method of choice when trying to find a partner – or so I was told by a friend who coerced me into joining a dating site.
Since, thanks to the wonderful worldwide web, privacy and anonymity are things of the past, I didn’t see the harm. By the time you actually do see the people you’ve been “chatting” to in the flesh, you already know that their cat regularly does things deemed to be newsworthy enough for Facebook, and are aware of how many cups of coffee they’ve had due to the blow-by-blow account they’ve kindly posted as status updates on their BlackBerry.
In theory, the first date should merely be a formality, since all of the topics that would usually have been covered are already ticked off the list. It should be easy enough, right? Wrong.
The part that many of us forget to factor in is your date’s USP – their unique selling point, or in my case their unspoken potential for strangeness.
After what I thought was a reasonable amount of chatting online and via text, I agreed to meet “The Babymaker” in a nice public area within running distance of a friend’s house. The Babymaker seemed nice enough. He was intelligent, polite and good-looking, and at first it seemed like we’d have a nice evening. Then, he dropped his USP.
“Do you want babies? A girl I dated didn’t want children, how weird is that? Wow you love your car a lot, you treat it like a baby …you need a baby!”
If I hadn’t known better, I would have believed that the man was part of some cult where not getting your dates to immediately agree to have millions of kids was an offense punishable by Chinese water torture. The kid talk was never-ending. Um, waiter, cheque please!
The truth is, no matter how well you think you know someone after communicating in every voiceless way possible; it’s only when we physically chat that the weirdness bubbles over. A true first impression is the one that comes with meeting the old-fashioned way. So don’t think that you can hide your USP forever.
Eventually, you’ll need more than a talent for creative writing to hide it!