|Think you can find that elusive special person via the internet? If you’re male, the odds are against you. Rob Judd spent a year using online dating agencies and summarises his experiences of the female types he encountered. There are usually eight males to every female listed in the online dating services. Moreover, specific female subgroups are emerging as typical online seekers of relationships. Here, in almost supernatural detail, the reality is exposed.|
|The Typical Webgirl|
The typical ad. talks of white knights carrying her away, of being swept off her feet by a (usually) tall, handsome man reeking of pheromones and charm. There’s no need for this guy to have a brain, as long as he looks like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise and can also meet a shopping-list of other quirky requirements. She reads too much Mills & Boon,1 or too many cheesy weekly gossip magazines; to test her IQ, insert a pressure gauge in her ear. Has enormous ideas of her own self-importance and personal beauty, but wants you to believe in her for her “intellegence and sence of humour” (sic). Eventually she realises that the Russian girls are better looking, younger and have more to offer, and in a panic settles for Roger, who has been patiently waiting – and boffing2 her – since highschool.
This one has an enduring fascination for alternative medicine, astrology, tarot and candles. She wears hippy garb festooned with crystals and rings, and carries a dagger on her belt. Her priestess has to approve all contacts with men, which is unlikely since her priestess is listed under “Women seeking Women.” Into controlling people, she makes you earn her friendship with constant small tests. After you’ve known her for 13 years she’ll suddenly take you out for the night, drop something in your coffee and expect you to fall in love with her. Unfortunately for her, you fell out of love with her years earlier. Like Morgaine Le Faye she lives a tragic existence and will eventually fade away to live in the mountains with a hairy Celtic musician.
The woman has three kids, ferchrissakes! The marriage didn’t work, possibly because she started out as Type no. 1 (dreamer) and continued to be sucked in by life’s surface manifestations. Roger turned out to be a cad and was boffing others too, which neatly explains why there are so many guys registered on matchmaking agencies. She can’t relate to much except partying, since she’s trying to make up for her lost youth. Is into serial monogamy, usually with guys she meets at her part-time job, but occasionally with someone introduced by a friend. You can’t actually share her life, it’s such a disaster she’s scared you’ll leave too. Eventually the kids grow up, the dog dies and she trains as a psychologist.
Nothing ever went right for this girl. She’s the fish that John West3 rejects, the perennial loser. She loves Janis Ian and Leonard Cohen with a passion. No matter how hard she tries, she can never get into anything smaller than a size 14. Children point her out to their mothers as she passes at the supermarket. If youngish she embraces a gothic look, emulating old Greek women and widows – death almost seems attractive to her. If older she claims to be a BBW4 and proudly smiles from her ad. while weeping inside. Eventually she starts her own business and discovers foreigners.
Adventurous, unsatisfied, young and stunningly beautiful, she pleads at you from a foreign land to take her away from her drab existence. If only you can pay the fees to get the mail to her (she isn’t on the net, and translators are costly), you too can start the ideal family since all she wants is to have kids. It matters not that you’re 50, as long as you can get her out of there. Hmmm... I smell a rat here. Most countries have laws allowing the wife to take 50% of the husband’s belongings after as little as one year of marriage, in the case of a divorce. That $10,000 investment in the rest of your life – including airfares – just turned into a whole lot more. She’s not trying to change the world with love, she’s looking for a stepping-stone to a better life, and that won’t include you. Hell, you can meet girls like that at home.
She left home at 17 and didn’t look back, but only made it overseas once or twice and spent the remainder in another state. Career has never been important, nor has marriage, since they didn’t seem to be much fun. She can tell you “I love you” in at least eight different languages, but chooses not to. Probably started out as one of the bright minds of her generation, but got so wasted when young that it took her years to recover. Her listing for religion is “other” and these days may have become a vegetarian. Jaded, alone and pushing forty, she reads the ads. but never places one herself. She wonders where everyone went to, then realises she lost track of “everyone” years ago. Creative, still attractive and maybe once-married, she never did get around to having a family. If you see her, give her my phone number – I have a copy of Rickie Lee Jones’ first album I meant to return to her, before she suddenly left for Queensland.
When things get tough, this girl mysteriously vanishes. She’s the love of your life, right up until the day you lose your job, get the ‘flu or bend your car. Suddenly it’s all too hard to be involved with you, since you don’t have all your attention on her. If it was an engagement, she suddenly breaks it off; you’ll just come home one day to find her packing. Truth is, she can barely take responsibility for her own life, and so isn’t about to take responsibility for any part of yours – even if it’s just to listen to you during a moment of hardship. Usually in a high-powered job, possibly also into part-time acting or modelling, borderline lesbian. She’s never had a moment’s problem in her life, but sure does cause a lot of them for others. This one’s poison.
The photo is obviously professionally shot, although may be in 400 ASA5 black-and-white to give the impression it’s a home job. She’s the kind of girl who keeps chiropractors in work, fixing twisted necks. Nowhere does she mention astrology, personal development or looking for her soulmate. In fact the details are fairly skimpy, and she lists the guy of interest to her as simply “At least 18 years old, from anywhere.” She’s over 30 yet doesn’t have kids. And the reason she’s so perfect is that she’s a figment of the agency’s imagination. Mail to her will go unanswered, unless the webmaster is in a naughty mood and having a slow day.
She reads all the above types, and while seeing a bit of all of them in herself, knows that she transcends them. By doing all the right things, she has painted herself into such a corner that even her family can’t figure her out. She’s determined to change the world to suit her, and would if only there weren’t so darned much of it. She’s aware that the price of being exceptional is to be regarded as weird or different, but she’s so far ‘out there’ that it even scares her sometimes. Found in creative positions, especially web design, this denizen of café society is charming company if you’re looking for someone to take to see a Kurosawa festival at the local arthouse cinema, but the relationship can be expensive to maintain since appearances are everything. Her ad. is placed purely for the purposes of networking.
Workmates are in awe of this woman, because her natural efficiency makes them look useless. She’s often self-employed, since companies would rather employ someone younger, more easily controlled and willing to be paid less. Has toyed with the idea of going into politics, but rejected the idea on the basis that this is where society puts the really crazy people so that the rest of us can get on with it. If she can juggle her schedule the two of you might be able to do lunch sometime, but she’ll have to get back to you and confirm that. If it ever happens, be prepared to counsel her on how to cope with stress. She doesn’t analyze much and occasionally regrets her rash decisions, but can be a good friend when you get to know her. Relates best to independent people whose skills complement her own.