Hana Shafi Cyber Lovin'

Last year, two friends of mine thought it’d be a good idea to make me a Plenty of Fish account. For those of you who don’t know, PoF is an online dating site. I was hesitant about the whole thing, but my friend made me promise that I’d keep it for a week. Six days in, I shut down my account. Here’s why:

Online dating revealed to me humanity’s capacity for both shallowness and loneliness. Well, I wouldn’t say revealed—I already knew how potently those two things exist in human nature,—but it emphasized it. The whole concept of online dating is essentially based on utilizing our shallow sides. Let’s be real here: the first thing you look at is the person’s picture, not what music they like or what they do in their spare time. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that—physical attraction is obviously important when it comes to dating—but somehow the idea of just looking through pages and pages of thumbnail pictures waiting for someone “hot” to pop out just irked me. 

But what made me even more uneasy was how shallow it made me feel. The nicest messages I received, the ones that were actually respectful, witty, and cute, were from guys that I just couldn’t bring myself to find attractive from their pictures. I realized that had I met these guys in person at a party or concert, being able to experience their personality in person rather than over a screen, probably would’ve made me let go of the fact that they weren’t exactly “studs.” The presence that someone has in person can do a lot to overshadow what they actually look like, and that works both ways.

About 75 per cent of the other messages I received just made me feel uneasy and gross. Call me sensitive, but I wasn’t feeling too great looking at a message from some random man who said he wanted to “pound my tight pussy.” Wow, thanks for introducing yourself, I usually just go with “hi, how’s it going?” but I guess that works too. Seriously though, I did find those messages degrading. They were humorous when my friends and I scrolled through them together, but depressing when I saw them after a long day at school sitting alone in my dark bedroom.

On the other hand, some of my friends actually met some pretty great guys through PoF. Online dating definitely has some benefits. There are tons of hot singles in the city, it can just be difficult to meet these people, and therefore online dating is a platform that many value. 

For me, I just couldn’t get into it. Not to mention, it felt weird to suddenly start talking to someone who said they were clearly looking for a relationship. I feel like that’s something you need to work your way into more naturally, whereas online dating makes it oddly formulaic. I may be addicted to technology, but I think I prefer to go about my romantic life the old-fashioned way. 

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