Call me cynical: Online dating doesn’t make sense at this age

Over the weekend I saw Blue Valentine, and just when I thought the imminent holiday couldn’t get any worse — it did. This isn’t to say I disliked the movie and wanted my money back— no sir. I actually fell in love with it even without the happy ending I was praying for (I pretended that The Chicago Tribune’s review entitled: “Color this Dying Marriage Blue” might have been a metaphor for anything but what it was). Because for once, I felt like I was watching a movie where two actors completely gave themselves to their characters — entirely, without a sliver of self-consciousness. And I couldn’t help but think, how can one even attempt to find something so real, so rare via the Internet?

Okay, that’s not exactly the first thing I thought, but considering this column deadline was brewing in the back of my mind, I thought about it more than one might normally. And I’ve come to the understanding that online dating at our age is something that one should turn a tissue to when dateless on Valentine’s Day.

Despite feeling lonely and a little forgotten, online dating is not the solution for early twenty-somethings. We do not belong on Match.com. While the prospect of forming a connection when things seem so impossibly disconnected may be tempting, the reality is far from concrete. More often than not the Band-Aid over the bullet hole proves temporary.

Case in point: one of my best friends (and when I say friend, I assure you I do not mean myself — pinky swear). On pure fluke alone, she began to reconnect with and then date a boy on Facebook whom she hadn’t seen since 6th grade. And yes, at first it was exciting and new and all that stuff you see in romantic comedies before the dramatic conflict disrupts the montage of happy. But now, the bad pop music has faded, the flowers are wilting, and the fighting never ends.

Though she treads over the issues — the fact that they don’t really know each other as well as they thought and he’s six hours away — only makes me think that finding supposed love over the Internet can’t compete with sticking it out here on the street, with feet planted firmly on the ground and not floating off somewhere in a fantasy.

This isn’t to discount the few success stories I know have survived the online dating concept. My cousin is marrying the guy she met online this coming fall, and he definitely makes the grade. I’ve even read a few stories of people getting married after meeting through StumbleUpon.

But then again, these people are all post-undergrad, post-one night stands, and post-growing up. College kids on the other hand, aren’t post-anything. Post-puberty, sure, but honestly we still have a long way to go. So why rush through it searching online, sitting in your room and staring at your computer screen separating the creepy from the creepier on Omegle.com?

Because for what it’s worth online dating, in its purest form, seems an awful lot like settling. Even at its most basic, there is a barrier of contact that no amount of chit-chat will be able to break through.

In Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams meet for the first time through a sliver of a door-way, their faces inches apart. It’s that whole love at first sight thing. And with online dating, aside from such a glance to end all glances being impossible, it’s also improbable that at this age it’ll ever amount to something worth fighting for (man, did that movie make me cynical or what?).

Emily is a sophomore in LAS.