Online Dating: Worth the risk?
Online dating is risky and unreliable. Sure, you can read pages of someone’s bio and see the best-edited picture of them, but it’s difficult to genuinely get to know an individual without interacting with him or her outside the virtual bubble.
Last week, I created an anonymous online dating account to see what the virtual dating world was like and to confirm my assumptions.
Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. have tried online dating, according to statisticbrain.com. Women lie most about weight, physical build and age, whereas men lie most about age, height and income, according to the website. Interestingly enough, a woman’s desirability online peaks at age 21, according to the website. No wonder college students are proponents of such websites.
With the account, I was suddenly in this bizarre position of control. It was too easy… I could have put up a picture of anyone, and many people would have believed it was me.
My inbox accumulated messages from guys with various intentions and interests. How did they know I was telling the truth about myself? They didn’t. How did I know they were really who they said they were? I can’t. After messaging some OU students on the dating site, some explained they just use this site to meet new friends, while others found disappointment in their online dating experiences.
Understandably, the students I messaged want to remain anonymous, but they offered their thoughts and concluded online dating is pretty pointless. Some expressed the girls they met online either “play games” or don’t look anything like their pictures when they meet in person.
In the past several months, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o played some games – football games – but he soon learned how users of online dating websites “play games,” too.
On Sept. 12, Te’o claims to have received a call from the brother of his virtual girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who said Kekua died from leukemia.
Almost three months after Kekua’s “death,” Kekua called Te’o and said she is not actually dead. At this point, Te’o put the pieces together and came to realize that this whole thing was a hoax.
On Jan. 23, Manti Te’o confirmed to Katie Couric that he lied about his girlfriend after finding out it was a hoax. In another interview with ESPN, Te’o said he originally fabricated his story to the media “so that people wouldn’t think that [he] was some crazy dude,” for falling in love with someone he never actually met.
Te’o explained that after this series of events, he regrets his fabrications and concludes that his involvement in this online-dating hoax has caused much embarrassment.
Like the saying goes, don’t pick up the fork unless you’re willing to take the chance at tasting something dissatisfying.
I’m not claiming that all people online are untrustworthy. The people I messaged through my pseudo-dating profile were open about their online experiences. But if you’re fine with strangers pretending they understand who you are and you’re willing to put time into something so sketchy, go for it.
If you’re looking for a serious relationship, though, leave the online stuff alone. You don’t want to be the next Te’o.
Alex Niblett is a journalism Junior.