It’s the first date. The drink is flowing and the conversation’s amazing. Everything’s going well and you admire his shirt thinking “that’s the same shirt he wore to the club two weeks ago”.
This would be an astute observation if it wasn’t for the fact that you’ve only just met this fine gentleman. So the question is how do you know that it’s the same shirt?
You know because you’ve checked his cyber CV or to be more precise, you’ve cyberstalked him.
In this day and age you can do a complete background check on your date before you even sit down to put that first mouthful of Spur ribs in your face.
The dominant school of thought is that a woman will know if she will sleep with you in the first five minutes of conversation (or the first few seconds depending on who you talk to). It seems now the time has now been whittled down to before she even meets you.
It is almost clairvoyant in nature.
But is the knowledge we can mine from these platforms really gold or just killing the romance?
Well, this phenomenon is so widespread it’s been called “pre-dating”.
According to a Match.Com survey of 5 481 singles, 48% of women used Facebook to check out potentials. And further stats showed that 49% of women would cancel a date because of something they uncovered online.
But question is does this not take away some of the mystery?
As a former “academic type” I am all for research.
Going into the trenches blind in this jungle we like to call “modern dating” is seldom advisable. There are some real dubious types out there.
Facebook can alert you to certain “stalker tendencies”. When she likes every single one of your photos and sends you an inbox message, a wall post, throws a sheep at you and invites you to play vampires and aliens, maybe dial it back.
When he spends the day retweeting tweets that say “I don’t love women they love me. I only love my Jack Daniels and my ferret, Jimmy. #RodentLove” maybe it’s time to unfollow and lose his number.
If they instagram pictures of their culinary masterpiece — Doritos, Niknaks, cheese, eggs, chakalaka, pap and wors on a greased baking tray, and add the caption #MadeEnoughForTheWeek best to order in a meal for one.
LinkedIn will show you where you are possibly going for dinner and possibly where your kids will go to school, financial planning is key with a possible recession always round the corner.
Now the only thing we need is MediSnaps a digital platform that allows you to view someone’s complete medical history. Can you imagine the time and effort it would save when having those awkward “pre-sex conversations”.
I understand it, we live in a digital age and knowledge is power.
But what does that do in terms of getting to know people? What does it mean for chemistry?
These platforms offer a representation and not the person itself. Sometimes you come off better and sometimes you come off worse.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve interacted with people on the internet, thought they were amazing only to find they’re not.
It’s hard to judge these things.
People publish photos of themselves at a party getting drunk but do not show the photos of them reading to small children in the public library or giving blood, or going on a fun run.
There are many sides to people and only so many of them can be put on the internet before people start to call you out on possibly having multiple personalities.
Google yourself and judge whether someone looking at the results could claim they know you.
There are certain things you may be open to after you get to know a person, that you would have dismissed had you not had the subsequent knowledge of how funny/caring/generous they are. Looking at an online persona possibly limits your ability to open yourself up to other dimensions of this person’s personality.
Also hormones cannot be uploaded onto your Facebook profile and cannot be tweeted — they play a major role in this mating game.
Eli Finkel, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, has researched online dating and shown that there’s no real way of figuring out if you will have a connection with someone by checking out their online profile.
All in all knowing a little something can be helpful but too much can be harmful. Those “pre-date data” nuggets can help you but knowing too much can have you coming in with preconceived notions that skew the interaction. Getting to know somebody is daunting but it can be exhilarating too.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Image – AFP