DIGITAL DATING - ARE YOU UP FOR IT?

27 September 2010

Madeleine Amber (left) on men: "Guys like big hair, big boobs, big smiles…why fight it?"

It's 2010 and like it or not, love has gone digital. The taboo surrounding online dating has gone and there have been more than enough weddings to prove how effective dating sites are.

But are these methods killing romance? Have they suffocated the thrill of the chase? Or are they the best thing to happen to love since Cilla Black?

This is one of the conundrums I investigate in Cherry Goes Dating, on BBC3 at 9pm.

There are undoubtably some serious bonuses to going online...

- Dating sites have opened up the flirting forum to people who would otherwise cringe at the very thought of approaching someone.
- We are protected from saying something ridiculous thanks to trusty Mr Delete.
- We can hit logout if things go horribly wrong and don't need to make up an excuse or pay for a cab.
- You don't need to do your hair or makeup to have a cheeky flirt. Or even get dressed.

However, there are some downsides to online lovin...

- You don't need to do your hair or makeup. Or even get dressed. Who knows what state of "natural" your fellow online flirter is in...
- With the inability to read body language, one of the most telling of all communications, it's easy to get the wrong impression of someone for quite a long time. Frustrating if you've invested many hours chatting to them online.
- There's no doubt that being asked out in the flesh is incredibly exciting. The eye contact, the scoping each other out, the subtle manoeuvring to bump into each other, the final moment when you make contact, the swapping of numbers. The magical text on the bus home. In a world where people don't have to risk rejection as they can get their flirting fix online, have we become social chickens?
- Hunting for love is becoming scarily close to shopping. It's a common scene: lunch break, check FB, check net a porter, check latest members on dating site. Eat sushi, buy shoes, pick guy. In the same way as we check out the material, size and shape of a new item, we can do exactly the same with an online profile. Whilst often this does allow us to avoid definite no-nos, with this harsh filtering process we can sometimes miss a real diamond find.

After to talking to many women about their personal dating experiences, and re-evaluting my own extensive dating experiences, my conclusion is that for the most enjoyable and effective dating life, variety is the key. Whilst going online is brilliantly convenient and comfortable, the old fashioned thrill of in-the-flesh flirting is also an important skill to practice. Yes it's more scary and yes we risk being shot down, but when sparks fly, it still beats online love hands down.

www.cherryhealey.com
www.bbc.co.uk

Cherry Goes Dating, is on BBC3 at 9pm tonight  (and available on iPlayer)


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