I have been asked to explain why I don't like internet dating sites. As I cast my memory over my own days chatting up and being chatted up by invisible strangers over the internet, I can find a lot of material.
However, I even more clearly remember an amusing afternoon chatting with my pal Aelianus, whom I met through blogging. His friends Berenike and--darn it--now that she has a nom-de-nun, I can't remember what her nom-de-blog was--anyway, these two nice young ladies were big fans, and so Aelianus had a look at my blog and, beginning what is now a four year habit, castigated me for my heresies.
Touched for his concern for Catholic truths and immortal souls, I eventually became his pal and, in a moment of unseraphicness, groused to him about being Single. His Facebook page was open to me, and I asked which of his Facebook friends were eligible.
"There's Such-and-such," said Aelianus--over Skype, I think. "He was at God's Own University with me."
"Oooh," I said, squinting at Such-and-such's photo. "That sounds good."
"He was sent down for [egregious behaviour]."
"And there's So-and-so," said Aelianus, as I went down the list. "But he got arrested for [egregious behaviour]."
And so on, until Aelianus asked me if I would like to live in a Historical House. One of his pals lived in a Historical House and was definitely in need of a wife to save his soul because women just flopped before him, etc., etc.
This was the first time I ever heard of B.A. I can't remember, but I must have had a look to see if he was among Aelianus's Facebook friends, and if he was I must have been turned off by the photo, because I hated all the photos of B.A. people started sending me, although his eyebrows were kind of cute, he had eyelids like subjects in Holbein paintings, and he appeared to have a merry personality.
It cost me exactly nothing to have a Skype conversation with Aelianus about his bachelor pals while we looked at their photos on Facebook. And it would cost all of you nothing to have a Skype conversation with a trusted, intelligent and morally astute male pal about his bachelor pals--or a female pal about her bachelorette pals--while looking at their photos on Facebook.
One thing a dating website can never do for you is give you the inside track on the men and women whose photos linger there. You simply have no way of knowing who the great guys and girls are, and who the great guys and girls aren't, and you probably skip over all kinds of amazing dudes and chicks because they don't LOOK amazing and they can't spell as well as you.
But friends can tell you all about their friends, memories prompted by the sight of them on Facebook, and trusting that their friends aren't going to care that much what they said to a stranger about them--or at least that they are unlikely to find out, unless they get married one day. So now B.A. knows what Aelianus said about him, but it doesn't matter because I am charmed by the idea of having snaffled someone Aelianus thought was a lady-killer. (B.A. says Aelianus was exaggerating.)
So there you go. This is a blog about feeling happy while being Single, not about ceasing to be Single. But I know that most Singles who read this blog hope to marry one day, so I have to respect that. And respecting that I can tell you that you don't have to pay $75 to stare at a lot of photos of strangers. You can just call up your best opposite sex pal and ask him or her about his or her pals. And while you are thinking about what you have been told, he or she can nudge his or her spouse-hunting pals in your direction.