The Internet (Dating) Generation.
Especially on the subject of internet dating, folks in the blogosphere have plenty to say. Even I can contribute to that virtual conversation, since I met the man to whom I am lovingly and happily committed through Craigslist.
I still get a lot of questions and snarky looks when I disclose how Jason and I met. “But you’re cute, Betty,” they say. “Why do you need to meet guys on the internet?” Cute plus a dollar thirty-five will get you on Metro, I usually reply. Plus, as long as you’re properly cautious, how is meeting someone online any weirder or creepier or less valid than mingling it up any of the “traditional” ways?
Observe, my long-term dating history (names have been omitted, as have relationships lasting fewer than six months):
Boyfriend #1 (duration: about 2 years)—Even though we went to the same high school, he was older, and we really met at work. Yes, I violated the long-standing maxim, “Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.” Granted, the “company” in this case was a Cajun restaurant at which we were both servers, but the consequences of dating a co-worker (i.e., rumors, distraction, special treatment, hellish problems upon breakup) remained largely the same.
Boyfriend #2 (duration: about 1 year)—We also met at work, though this time it was a summer camp where we were both RAs. Again, things were pretty nice while we were together—since he was in good with our boss, I got the hook-up when it came to scheduling and other such things—but toward the end, things got really hairy.
Boyfriend #3 (duration: about 6-8 months)—We were both members of the same debate society in college, and we had been friends for some time. This is the only case where I truly “knew” the person before we started dating, and even though it was a fairly short relationship (for me, anyway), it was one of the most painful to end.
Boyfriend #4 (duration: about 1 year)—We attended law school together, but had never really talked or interacted in any way prior to officially meeting at a local bar for the weekly law student drink-fest that helped us to blow off steam. After a year together, I don't think I was any closer to knowing this man than I was on day one.
Boyfriend #5 (duration: about 6 months, and counting!)—After a number of events made me realize that I needed to expand my DC friend horizons, I was trolling Craigslist and stumbled upon Jason’s personal. I answered it, we e-mailed back and forth, we moved to chatting via AIM, and then we decided to meet in person. After a great first date, I invited him to a Halloween party, and the rest is history.
In any one of these situations—barring, perhaps, Boyfriend #3—I ran the risk of getting in waaaaay over my head with someone I really didn’t know. But isn’t that the case regardless of how you meet someone? Whether you hook up at a club, meet someone through a shared hobby, get set up by mutual friends, or introduce yourself online, it takes a significant amount of time and energy to truly get to know and feel comfortable with someone. Just because you met at a bar and not on Match.com does not mean that you can disregard safety precautions and trust everything that comes out of your suitor’s mouth.
No point to this post, really, other than to say a big “back off” to the haters and skeptics who think that no one can find a mate on the internet. Love is out there, all around—go find it, whatever way you can! :-)
P.S. Boyfriend #3 is in a groovy band, so I'll give them a shout out: http://www.colknowledge.com/. Have fun guessing which one he is!