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The Paradox of Internet Dating

In his essay, “Love, Internet Style,” David Brooks argues that internet dating can be a successful approach to finding a suitable love partner and that the process can be constructive, deliberate and honest. Despite the internet’s dubious image and the fact that it is a haven for many sexual predators, it is possible to seek and find true, meaningful and lasting love there. Ironically, the contemporary internet can foster a traditional dating approach that allows people to slowly and thoroughly get to know each other. Mr.

Brooks’ essay also makes some timeless points that apply to present and past courtship practices. Brooks states that “the internet slows things down” and “online dating puts structure back into courtship. ” Restraints are one of the keys to this deliberate dating structure. When couples meet online, they tend to get to know each other gradually. At the outset of a cyber-relationship, “small talk” can be engaged in without the potential awkward moments that in-person meetings, or traditional dates, can bring. And, with a simple image download, both participants can see pictures of their potential love interest.

In a flash, an online dater can assess the attractiveness of her potential in-person date and decide if she wants to move forward. If both parties decide to proceed, the online medium provides limitless opportunities for the exchange of ideas, interests and ambitions. Both parties can provide as little or as much detail as they want when they engage in online conversations. And, the writing style and content of the parties’ conversations can provide meaningful insights into the attitudes, desires and motives of the cyber-daters.

Brooks’ article reinforces some timeless principles of love and dating. Physical attractiveness has always been an important criterion for selecting a date, and the article states that “looks are twice as powerful as income in attracting mates. ” Women must beware of online perverts and predators, so a potential mate’s use of terms like “hooking up” and “hottie” should serve as a potent warning of less than honorable intentions. As in traditional dating, the timeless maxim holds that “women generally control the pace of the relationship.

” And, whether in person or online, “the heart, even in this commercial age, finds a way. ” This age-old idea for love and courtship will never change or waver. Online conversations tend to free people up to express themselves openly and honestly, and this openness is not always present when in-person dates occur. As Brooks states, “many people are better at revealing their true selves through the keyboard than through conversation. ” However, the online dater must be wary because exaggerations, fabrications and outright lies are known to occur in frequently in the cyber world.

Any person can portray himself in any way, and it is very difficult to verify or disprove a dishonest person’s assertions. But, as Brooks argues, the positives of online dating can outweigh the negatives. Long, meaningful conversations can occur over days, weeks, or even months before the parties decide to meet in person. And, the cost of getting to know each other in this way is virtually nothing. Costly, dead-end dates can be avoided as the couple converses and gains rapport and affection in the safe, comfortable confines of their homes.

Brooks’ article makes a logical argument on the benefits of online dating. Despite the known pitfalls of the internet, meaningful relationships can be started there. A couple can exchange ideas and pictures, and many potential bad matches can be avoided with minimal time and effort expended. As a couple corresponds over many hours and on many subjects, a bond can be formed and a foundation for in-person dates and relationships can be achieved. Thus the internet, with all its warts, can be Cupid’s medium.

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