Friday, April 08, 2016

Catalog Dating

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person, who no longer wants to be single, will be asked, "Have you tried online dating/Tinder?" I remember when online dating became a thing. I was still in high school, but it was a scary practice whereupon you had to wade through profile after profile wondering if the person on the other side of the monitor was telling the truth about what they looked like, where they worked, and their criminal background. Everywhere you looked, people were counseling against it. Those that were the pioneers of this new technology were ridiculed or mocked. They came up with creative backstories because meeting online was not something to be proud of. Now, things are different. No one knows how to approach a stranger unless they have already swiped right, exchanged horrible back and forth meaningless text messages, and provided, at least, a headshot as a means of being able to recognize them at a lunch date. It's almost nothing to be propositioned by a complete stranger, just because there really is no risk for the person making the proposition. What's the worst you can do besides saying no? And while I'm sure there are scores of reasons to try online dating and/or Tinder (the first and foremost being that it really is the ONLY way to meet new people), it's created this phenomenon of Catalog Dating. The problem with Catalog Dating is that it doesn't really allow for human flaws and character. It's like flipping through a furniture website or a store catalog looking for a couch or a side table. If you were to see a couch in a catalog that was a little banged up-- maybe the legs were scratched or the upholstery torn, maybe you just didn't think one of the colors would tie into your table lamp--you would continue scrolling. You would never order something from a catalog that wasn't 100% in perfect condition. Why would you? You can't sit on the couch, or really visualize how it will fit into your space, complement your other furnishings. And if you can't do that, then it's best to keep looking until you find the one that you can visualize working out. And sometimes that is great. There are plenty of people that get some really amazing things off of online shopping. But other times, we find out that we didn't measure the size correctly or the color wasn't represented correctly on the screen. Sometimes there is just a problem with shipping. Maybe the construction or material quality is lower than what was represented on the site. The point is, online shopping for men or dates generates these expectations of perfection. And if we don't see perfection, then we move on to the next thing, which means that all of us are missing out on some probably really good options. Remember when dating was more like walking through a consignment shop? You're walking through this placed housed with things that have stories and histories and character. No, not everything is great. But every once and a while, you stumble on a table with so much character that it makes your pulse quicken. You can see easily how it will sit just so across from your fireplace and against your window. Sure, there's a few nicks and chips in the wood. It could probably stand to be repainted, too. The handle might be a little worn, and if you had found this in the catalog, you would have certainly ignored it. Instead, you're giddy and excited. This is just the thing you need to complete your space. So you take it home, give it a little TLC, and its a match in heaven. You don't demand perfection, because you don't expect perfection. You got it from a consignment shop, where you lose all expectations of perfection and are just looking for the thing with the most character and the thing that will fit in your home perfectly. The answer is yes. If a single person, who no longer wants to be single, is asked "Have you tried online dating/Tinder," they are inevitably going to say yes. We've all looked through the catalogs. We've all seen what is being offered. But sometimes it is just a lot more interesting and fun to try a little more organic method.

4 comments:

  1. This should be a column in the Wallstreet journal. Perfectly put

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  2. Wow, you are such a talented writer, please keep it up and post often. Amen to everything you said.

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  3. Amen. I love everything about this!

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  4. Love it! If you need me, I'll be at West Elm...

    ReplyDelete

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