Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Why dating sites are bollocks

In the past I've mentioned in these pages that forming a new relationship isn't really an option for me unless I've decided to damn myself for eternity.  Despite this, I'm human and as liable to develop a crush on somebody as the next man.  Precisely this happened to me not so long ago and (sadly) resulted in me having a bad case of the rebounds.

Predictably, while rebounding I set up a few profiles on various dating sites and paid two monthly subscriptions.  I also put a couple of apps on my phone.  By Sunday just-gone my natural temperament had reasserted itself and so I deleted the lot of them.  Nevertheless, I did glean a couple of useful insights that I'd like to share.


Photographs

Don't be mislead by the TV ads for (say) eHarmony.  When people look like that, they don't need a singles' website.  On that subject, if you've set up a profile, maybe have someone review it for you.  More than a few times I looked at the profile picture and thought "if that's the image you went with, what were the ones you passed up?!"

If your profile pic makes you look like Donovan from the closing scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, maybe reconsider
Fake Profiles

Even on semi-respectable sites like Coffee-meets-Bagel, a lot of the profiles seem to be computer generated by the site to boost traffic (you completed a degree in economics at the University of Florence and you're a physiotherapist in Melbourne?  Totally plausible).  Warnings about scammers should be redundant but, in case you're out of the loop, know that if someone says "I am want big love with good man", you should probably doubt their claim to be a graduate of Yale (although you can probably assume they have a Russian-English dictionary).


Fake Alerts

The sites themselves are almost comically dodgy, and no more so than when you're in a position to know.  When one site tells me "you have fifty potential matches in Fawkner", it may be correct.  When it says "you have fifty potential matches in Moorilim", I'm naturally suspicious: Moorilim is a rural district southwest of Shepparton with a population of under 30 people.


Danger (this one matters)


This one isn't a matter of personal experience, but it's perhaps the most important insight of all: online dating is fucking dangerous.  To condense Hollingworth J's sentencing remarks in R v Dinsley [2013] VSC 631 -
Sharon ... was a 29 year old mother of a four year old son .... After [her] relationship with [his] father ended, she started using internet dating sites, as a way of meeting other people.
 

You met [her] through a dating website called “ Plenty of Fish ”. After communicating through the website, the two of you exchanged frequent text messages, for a period of about one week, in mid-January 2013.

You also met once in person during that period. On that occasion, [she] met you at the Ballarat train station, and you went back together to the house she was renting in Doveton Street, Ballarat. Apparently not wishing the date to continue, [she] texted a friend of hers, and asked him to call her, to say there was an emergency with Aron and she had to go to the hospital. The friend did as she asked, which ended the date.

[She] later told friends and family about your date. She described you as filthy, with dirty clothes; she said she was embarrassed to be seen with you.

There was no further contact between the two of you from 19 January 2013, until the night of these offences....

On [6 April] [y]ou awoke around 2.00am, suffering from what you described as an anxiety attack. You decided to go for a walk towards the Ballarat city centre, to relieve your anxiety.

As you walked along Doveton Street, you recognised [her] house from your visit some 2½ months earlier. You told police that, when you were outside her house, you started thinking about all the times you had been rejected in the past, and “it all just bubbled up.” You said you were “fuming”, and decided you “had to do something”.

You turned around and walked home – a distance of about 2.7 kms – to find a weapon with which to “punish” [her]. You spent about 10 minutes looking for a suitable weapon, before picking up your cricket bat. You then walked back to her house with the bat.

At first, you tried to get into her house using a small pocket knife to open the rear metal security door. Unable to open the door that way, you removed three glass louvre panels from a window next to the security door, and placed them beside a bin. You climbed in through the window, into the back room, carrying the cricket bat, and intending to assault [her].

At this point, you were confronted by [her], and the two of you argued. Within a very short space of time, you “just flipped”. You threatened to “beat her head in”, and hit her head with the bat, causing her to fall to the ground. You continued to hit her with the bat, swinging it from above your head with both hands, as she was on the floor, screaming. You put your hand over her mouth, and told her to “shut up”....
 

Once in the bedroom, you demanded that she lean over the bed and remove her pyjamas. You were holding her hair with one hand, and a knife to her throat with the other. She sustained a knife wound to the throat, at some stage during this part of your attack.

You let go of her briefly, in order to put on a condom. However, you were unable to get an erection, and put the condom back in the packet. [She] was yelling and screaming throughout your attempted rape.

You told police that you were “pissed off” at not being able to get an erection. ...

You then picked up the bat, and swung it downwards from above your head, hitting her again. She tried to get out of the way, by climbing across the bed to the other side of the room, but you continued to pursue her with the bat.

By this stage, she was on the ground, completely defenceless, cornered in the room and unable to escape. You continued to strike her repeatedly with the bat. You could not say how many times you hit her at this point, just that you “didn’t stop”.

[She] died from the multiple blunt head injuries which you inflicted....
Conclusion

If you're looking for love online, do yourself a favour: turn off the laptop.  Put down the phone.  Go do something else until the feeling passes.

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