Online dating is like relationship eugenics.
You want a tall, dark and handsome doctor who enjoys waterskiing, tennis and light bondage? He exists... somewhere.
Are you more likely to "meet" him online, where you can tick off little boxes that denote these preferences? Potentially.
Will he be your soulmate because he answered a survey in a particular way or conformed to a matching algorithm? Doubtful.
You might have a face-to-face with Mr. Supposedly Perfect and find he's a self-centred asshat. Or he might be Mr. Actually Perfect.
Either way, one element missing from online dating is the meet-cute. For those who haven't heard the term, a meet-cute is an unexpected situation in which two people meet and become romantically involved. Think of the plot of a typical rom-com.
So I can't count myself among the 58 per cent of you who responded, "Who cares? It's so hard to meet people anyway" when we asked whether there's a stigma attached to online dating. I'm firmly in the camp of the 28 per cent who responded, "Not really a story to tell your kids...." (For the record, only 13 per cent of you thought "meeting online can be romantic. Sending emails can be like sending poetry back and forth....")
Last year, worldwide, there were upwards of a billion online daters. That's close to the entire population of China.
About a third of them formed solid relationships. Another third gave up. The remaining third are still at it.
Results of our online survey indicate that 55 per cent of respondents think online dating ends up in "awkward dates that never go anywhere."
And yet the industry is expected to see increased revenue growth year over year.
I understand all the reasons why people go in for online dating: they're busy, they're in a new city, they're "unlucky in love," the dating scene can be scary and demoralizing. Trust me, I know. I've dated my fair share of duds.
But I still can't wrap my head around the idea of selecting a date/mate/fuck in such a, well, isolated and calculated manner. Of course, you could argue that meeting someone in bar or at a party is just as trite and engineered, but you can go to a party without intending to meet someone. You don't go on a dating site to not meet people.
There are plenty of people out there who will provide success stories. Everyone knows someone who met their significant other online.
But I can't shake the feeling that everyone wants that fairy tale beginning. Call me a romantic (that dirty word), but to me the meet-cute is important. It sets the tone for the relationship and makes for a good story. What kind of story do couples who met online tell people - and themselves?