I was reading Mash’s post on relationships and it left me doubling over with laughter. It reminded me of the time I decided to date on the Internet. It was early 2007 and I had just returned to South Africa after living a fabulously independent lifestyle abroad for a couple of years. Needless to say, adjusting to life back at home proved difficult and I was depressed for a couple of months.
Then one day, I decided that I needed a distraction, something to fixate on while I rode out the adjustment phase. That’s when I decided to load an online profile of me on an Internet dating site. The response I received was overwhelming. And before I knew it, I was chatting to and getting to know Nazeem, Ebrahim, Faruq, Faisal and at least 5 different Mohammed’s amongst many many others. Now my profile was a candid and straight-forward depiction of who I am, sarcastic warts and all.
Unfortunately though, most of the men that I got to know had trouble being equally honest with me. I was amused at how many of them stated that they were very good-looking, in contrast to my “average looks”. I was also intrigued at how they each played the game. Most of them came across very nice and accommodating at first, but with time, their true colours and agenda’s began to emerge.
I could eventually tell who was being sincere and who was telling little white lies in an attempt to impress me from the discrepancies in what they told me compared to what was stated on their profiles. I was also amused at how each one seemed to glorify their personas in an attempt to “sell” themselves; each portraying a magnified version of himself, so that I could think that they were better than what they really were. And all the while, to my detriment, I was wondering where the honest men were. Warning: Psychology and Internet dating are not good combinations.
I’m not male bashing here…don’t get me wrong. I was no angel throughout the process. I eventually got bored and began confusing them, because a lack of concentration and 75 odd men will do that to you. On one particular day, I accidentally called Faruq by Nazeem’s name. All hell broke loose. He was fuming, demanded to know who the hell Nazeem was. I told him that since he was not my boyfriend and we were only chatting as friends that it was none of his business who Nazeem was, even though I felt horrible for what I did. It didn’t end there. Soon I was mixing them up, all of them. I couldn’t remember them individually and only a few really stood out.
To make matters worse, I had a hard time keeping track of the conversations I had had with each of them or remembering those arb pieces of information that keep conversation going. I was soon talking to Faisal about the soccer match that I had initially discussed with one of the Mohammed’s. And commenting on something Ebrahim told me with Zaheer. I’m sure they all eventually thought I was going crazy. It was out of control lol!
Ultimately, mass confusion combined with pathological lying led me to believe that maybe Internet dating was not for me. I also couldn’t trust that what each of them was telling me was the truth. It wasn’t long thereafter that I deactivated my account and said goodbye to my cyber love quest.
However, I still believe that finding love on the Internet is not only possible, but also probable given the right circumstances and timing. But what I’ve taken from the experience though is that it is always better to meet people in real life before getting to know them on the Internet. Or at least, depict yourself with complete honesty. This leaves significantly less margin for error and people don’t end up building expectations or notions about who they think their object of affection is, so there’s no room for disappointment. People always tend to build images in their minds, based on their perceptions, which may not always be true. Complete honesty is key.
And Mash is 100% correct. One at a time ladies and gentlemen…don’t try to be a pimp, get to know them one at a time.
To those dating on the Internet: RESPECT…kudos. It’s damn hard work.