“I’m going on a date,” my friend Whitney told me the other day.
“A date!” I said. “How exciting. Where did you meet him?”
Long pause and then she said, “Plenty of Fish.”
“Are you in a fishing club?” I asked. I scrunched my face in confusion.
“No.” she laughed. “I met him online. Plenty of Fish is an online dating service.”
Long pause. I didn’t know what to say. We are in college. Do college kids join dating sites? Don’t only weirdoes and freaks sign up for that stuff? My friend isn’t a weirdo or a freak though. She’s young, attractive, and one of the coolest people I know.
“You really joined a dating website?” I finally asked. I regretted my response immediately. From the look on her face, I could tell she sensed judgment in my tone. Was I judging her?
“It’s always been on my bucket list to meet someone online, and I haven’t had a boyfriend in awhile,” she said defensively.
Yep, I’d definitely upset her.
“You know 58 percent of women use online dating services in America,” she added.
Statistics. Why is that always the first thing people jump to when telling their friends about online dating? Shouldn’t it be more about “the site is so convenient, and it is a way to truly see if I would be interested in a person so I don’t waste my time going on a date to only find out we have nothing in common.” But no, they defend it with research and facts.
I wished my friend well on her date, and apologized for the judgment. Who am I to tell anybody how to date? It’s not like I’ve been raking in the men lately. As a matter of fact, I haven’t had a boyfriend in two years.
A day later, I found myself seeing Plenty of Fish ads online. Every site I was on, there it was—Facebook, Blogcritics, etc. I couldn’t escape it. Instead of realizing that advertisements are everywhere and inescapable, I took it as a sign that, yes, I am fated to join this website. I have been socializing online since I was in the seventh grade—MSN messenger, Myspace, and now Facebook— it makes sense to use an online dating service. Right?