Monday, December 11, 2023

Sneak peek into the world of online dating

“Hello there, you are quite lush aren’t you? I’m mike, a business man who spends most of his time flying from country to country. As you can imagine, it gets lonely and I can’t have long-term meaningful relationships, but I’m rich. Here is my proposition, I need a companion and I think you are the right choice. You accompany me to some of my business travels and avail yourself to me at least 5 days a month. I will give you a monthly allowance, pay for your rent, and take you shopping in exchange, you have to be open-minded and submissive. If you like this arrangement, send me a text on my mobile *******”

Such is the type of message one is likely to receive after joining the racy and indescribable world of online dating in developed countries, regardless of the website. First question one would ask would be why someone would join an online dating website in the first place.

I used to battle with such a question myself until I was exposed to the cold, hostile and racy lifestyle people in the developed world are accustomed to. In a normal day, most of the time people are glued to their expensive laptop screens, their Iphones, Ipads, palm tops; in other words technology has engulfed civilians of developed countries to a point whereby they appear anti-social.

It’s not easy to meet people on a social outing or while taking a walk to the nearest coffee shop; it’s even worse so for a foreigner who is not accustomed to an environment where strangers don’t smile at each other on the streets unless they are making a sales pitch or trying to rob you.

Online dating with its computer and mobile apps has become quite a popular way for people in the developed world to meet each other. There are all sorts of websites dedicated to people with specific requirements, whether you want intimate relations, to meet friends, strictly sexual partners or same sex relationships. There are sites that cater for black on black relationships, mixed races, Jewish people, or Indian people. Some sites are created specifically for women who want to date millionaires or sugar daddies.

There is even a free mobile app for Iphones that shows the location of the person you met online.
Coming from a small country where websites like “Tagged” have been turned into hunting ground for men seeking sexual encounters, it makes sense to be naturally embarrassed to admit that you once tried to join an online dating website. It feels like an admission of failure to attract the attention of the opposite sex or failure to be interesting enough for someone to keep you. It has even been viewed as a desperate way for people to meet potential partners.

In a country like the UK, there is no shame in online dating if the statistics are anything to go by.

According To YouGov, a research website, an estimated 5 million people in the UK use online dating. In fact, meeting through the internet is the third most popular way to find a date behind meeting through friends or making acquaintances at a pub/bar.
“One in five UK relationships now begins online,” YouGov reveals.

Online dating is also hailed as a big booming business that has added close to 170 million pounds to the UK economy. For most websites, the cash flow is generated through a subscription model where members can sign up for free but are charged in order to view someone’s profile, or when they upgrade their account to be given priority in terms of whatever it is they are searching for.

The downside to this seemingly convenient way to meet people in a technological era such as this is that that perverts, rapists, murderers, psychopaths and pedophiles as well as all sorts of mentally unstable people also use these platforms to attract their victims through false pretences.

Sitting in front of a desk, people can lie about who they are, how they look and what they are about through uploading false information and pictures of models or using pictures they took 10 years ago. This is why the websites always caution people to meet at public places where they are guaranteed safety as opposed to meeting a stranger at a select location where anything can happen to them.

Most of the people who travel overseas will be quick to tell you that in most cases it’s not easy to make friends at first. This kind of environment makes one miss home and companionship tenfold.
From experience, I must admit, the kind of attention one receives is both overwhelming and at times downright strange.

“I have always wanted to hook up with a black girl, you know what they say about going black right?”

“Hi Sexy, wanna have some fun.”

As hard as it was to admit to my friends that I tried online dating, I think it’s an experience that teaches one more about human nature, and about our need for companionship even in a technological world that seems harsh to intimate human relations. I am glad to say I have made great friends through my short encounter with this phenomenon.

That said, I am not exactly sure how it would pan out in a country as small as ours. I am sure no-one wants to view their father or mother’s online dating profile.


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