Saturday, February 02, 2013
05:13 1 comment
“Oh God. Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Why? Why? Why is the entire world geared to make people not involved in romance feel stupid, when everyone knows romance does not work anyway?"
There are many thousands of people who will share Bridget Jones’ aversion to February 14th this year, as they're forced to contemplate a lonely TV dinner for one rather than a romantic dinner à deux. But the good news for any depressed singleton out there is that finding a partner has never been easier or more fun, thanks to the huge popularity of online dating sites. A study published last November by Metaflake revealed that more than 9 million people in the UK are looking for relationships online. Small wonder that the market is now worth a staggering £170 million a year!
Online dating has not only shed its stigma, but it is also now the most common way of meeting a partner other than being introduced by friends. People can filter potential partners by religion, race, income, intellect, eating habits or even hair colour. And don’t be fooled into thinking that it's only bright young things who are making the biggest splash in the online dating pool - internet dating among those aged 50 and above is up by 40%, and this demographic is now the fastest-growing group of internet daters.
One of the reasons behind the online dating phenomenon is that some of the old-fashioned ways in which people once found love are no longer an option. In some industries workplace romances are actively discouraged. Many local pubs have closed down, and friends and families are often scattered all over the world. As Ottokar Rosenberger, marketing director of online dating website eHarmony, explains, “Life is more transient and people move around more. That creates a need to find new ways of meeting people.”
The Metaflake study estimates that around 30% of new relationships now arise from the internet, but also offers a less comforting statistic, revealing that 25% of those combing the web for a new partner ("particularly men") are already in a relationship. Although most online dating services do vet their members, there are still those who will take a dishonest approach, either by misrepresenting themselves or harbouring ulterior motives.
Therefore, women in particular are strongly advised to meet in a public place and not to give out personal information, particularly their home address, too early in the relationship. Another wise move is not to dress too provocatively for a first date. For example, one of the elegant pencil dresses in the shops at the moment would strike the right balance between looking attractive and not appearing too obviously sexy.
Follow these simple rules and internet dating can open up a whole new world, leading to love, sex, companionship, marriage, or at the very least something to have a good laugh about with friends. So as Valentine’s Day approaches, now could be the time to take the plunge. Who knows: true love could be only a mouse click away.