The dumber – and darker – side of dating

Dating news review: week ended 28 sept 2012:

Sometimes dating sites aren’t all they’re cracked up to be – and sometimes they’re downright dangerous, as this week’s news stories reveal.

First up this week we have the extraordinary story of the principal of an American grammar school arrested on drug charges after he contacted an undercover police officer on a gay dating website. Montague Elementary’s principal, Eric Dean Lewis, was arrested this past week on charges of offering to furnish narcotics and on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell once the 42 year old began to chat with the undercover officer through the dating site, and was soon arrested at a ‘date’ he arranged in order to furnish the officer with unspecified narcotics, sources say.

Say what you want about the American educational system and the sort they allow in to shepherd the nation’s youth on their path towards higher education, at least no one was actually hurt – well, besides the reputation of the California grammar school where Lewis was principal. And lest you think that here at home we don’t have lunatics and madmen populating our online dating sites, think again: this week, news broke concerning how one man from Northumberland has been jailed for the indefinite future after meeting multitudes of women on a dating site only to assault and rape them.

Ultimate ladies’ man, Joseph Oroszlan, began a relationship with one woman he met online, only to have a rather strong reaction to the news that she wished to break off the relationship. So strong, in fact, that he met with her face to face after the break up, held her captive, and raped her not once but twice – only to make contact with another woman on the same dating site whilst out on bail for the initial attack!

Unfortunately, this second relationship ended quite abruptly as well, even though it had advanced to the point where Oroszlan and his new girlfriend had moved in together. Once she discovered the rape and assault accusations, she confronted the man, resulting in an additional rape attempt – apparently because, well, it had worked so well the last time for the bloke, hadn’t it?

Thankfully, a judge recently locked Oroszlan up indefinitely in order to protect the public after ruling the man a danger to the public Under the terms of the indefinite sentence, he’ll be behind bars for at least six years and will be a lifetime member of that exclusive club – the sex offender register.

Nothing like good advice – and this is nothing like it

Dating news review: week ended 21 sept 2012:

Everyone needs a bit of good dating advice from time to time, and there’s nothing like it – but sometimes you get nothing like good dating advice as well, like this past week!

One particular online dating service, a particularly low-class outfit going by the name of Shag a Gamer – for, you guessed it, no-strings attached sex with video and computer game players and the women who pretend to love them – has gone to YouTube to launch a mini-series of advice videos for lonely, hapless gamers looking to lose their virginity. The initiative was launched after a Shag a Gamer poll found that more than one out of three survey respondents were still virgins – though the jury is still out on what percentage sport scraggly neckbeards and still live at home with mum and dad.

The videos feature ‘gamer babes’ with dubious credentials giving advice laced with horrible double entendres and gaming puns such as ‘you’re not going to win any trophies by hammering away at any old button’ and ‘sometimes I need someone to overload my buffer.’ This is, of course, both patently offensive to men and women while at the same time pandering to the sweaty gamer virgin demographic, so it’s almost guaranteed to be a hit.

If that’s too much for you, there’s always the other bit of advice from Match.com that equates dating to a business relationship, thanks to Dr Cecilia d’Felice, the dating website’s resident clinical psychologist. Dr d’Felice (who must obviously be an expert since she’s got an advanced degree, right lads?) came forward recently with many ‘excellent’ tips on transferring your business skills into the dating world, turning the whole thing into a transaction instead of a romantic encounter.

The good doctor recommended such activities as ‘researching’ things before a date, much as you would undertake research prior to a business meeting. She doesn’t come out and say you should gather information on the man or woman you’ll be meeting with by stalking them on Facebook, but the implication is there.

Other gems such as ‘self-promotion’ and ‘negotiation’ were given dating analogues as well, with Dr d’Felice offering tips on how to market yourself to a prospective mate by showcasing the sides of your personality you feel are required to seal the deal, and how to gently and subtly steer the date and towards ‘your desired outcome,’ whatever in the world that may be. It’s a better tactic to take than Shag a Gamer with their blatant sexualisation, but it’s closer to Glengarry Glen Ross than it is an actual date.

 

Must men and women be at odds in every relationship?

Dating news review: week ended 14 sept 2012:

The old saying goes that behind every strong man, there’s an even stronger woman – but why does there have to be an adversarial arrangement in every relationship?

The Battle of the Sexes is nothing new, but this time it’s taken a new tack when it comes to how men and women get along, according to a panel recently organised by the Evening Standard. In news that could certainly shake up the status quo, one journalist said that when the relationship is reversed, there’s not a stronger man behind a strong woman in the limeight, but a ‘beta’ man behind every ‘alpha’ woman.

So apparently we’re all just a bloody pack of wolves now when it comes to men and women living together. Does it have to be a relationship that means one person has to put themselves in a domineering position over the other, or can you actually date someone and have a relationship rooted in equality instead of conflict?

Whether you’ve been just dating for a few weeks or if you’ve been together for years and years, the best relationships tend to be when there’s more equality than there isn’t. It shouldn’t be about which one’s the alpha wolf or the beta wolf, as we’re not animals – well, we are but we go about wearing clothes and we’ve given up on the whole ‘walking on all fours’ bit, and if you’re in a relationship that you feel may be relegating you to a second fiddle position, you need to go and take steps to resolve that.

However, if you live in Bideford you may be out of luck if you’re looking for relationship counseling, as a charity in the area is scrambling to find a new home. Formerly operating out of Bideford’s TTS House, relationship charity Relate can no longer offer relationship counseling once a week on Wednesdays for three hours at a time after the building closed.

Relate representative, Veronica Beckett, said that long-time users of the service have had to travel to Barnstaple for now in order to continue their counseling for now until Relate finds a new location. The charity is in urgent need of a new site in Bideford in order to prevent people from having to travel, and as they only had two days’ notice before the building was shuttered, they were caught out and are hoping against hope to find someone willing to provide a free private room with attached waiting facilities.

New ways to solve an age-old problem

Dating news review: week ended 7th sept 2012:

Well, it’s been a bit of an interesting week when it comes to dating and relationships, as two new approaches to the age-old problem of finding your soulmate have come forward.

It’s never easy finding that someone special if you’re looking; there’s a lot of fish in the sea, you have to kiss a shedload of frogs before finding your prince, and all those other rubbish sayings. Well, if you’ve lost patience with the whole online dating routine, here’s some news for you: you can pay £15,000 to a new headhunting agency to find you your soulmate, satisfaction guaranteed – just don’t forget you’ve got to pay VAT.

The weighty price tag means that most individuals using this service have some serious money to burn. It must be nice to be able to just kiss goodbye to the equivalent of a brand new Vauxhall Astra on a dating service for the super-rich; most of us have to use more plebeian sites that don’t charge the cost of a new motor in order for the chance at love and happiness.

Still, good on you if you can afford that kind of money on your love life. Lend us a tenner until the end of the week, won’t you, mate?

Back in the real world, where the real problems are, there’s some good news: older Brits are starting to turn to online dating sites in a way to combat loneliness in their golden years. It can be tough after your kids have all flown the coop and you’re left in a big empty house, so it’s only natural to consider finding a bit of companionship that doesn’t include watching television every night alone.

Some might find it a bit shocking if Mum (or even Grandmum) is out looking for love in the untamed wilds of the internet, but it’s the 21st century, so come off it already. You don’t suddenly stop wanting to spend time with someone simply because you grow older, and it’s especially hard on single parents after their children are grown and out on their own: for all the years they put up with you and your cheekiness, they deserve a break, and who are you to say what they do in their own time now that they’re not changing your nappies and making sure you’re off to school on time?

Nothing like a few wrong myths to ruin a perfectly good date

Dating news review: week ended 31 August 2012:

Seems there’s nothing but bad news for people who like old folk wisdom when it comes to dating this week, as more than a few old tales have gotten turned on their head recently.

First up, it looks like gentlemen may prefer blondes, but not by that much to be really statistically significant. New research into the old relationship myth conducted by a dating website found that the difference between men who choose blondes over brunettes was a paltry 3 per cent – so yes, this marginally means the myth is true, but barely so and not really to the point where there are shedloads of forlorn brunettes sitting at home and crying into their perfectly coiffed hair every night.

In actuality, the biggest revelation from the survey had nothing to do with hair color at all – 27 per cent of men said they prefer women with an overall attractive figure, with ‘curvy’ women being the most sought-after. Seems that Marilyn Monroe would have been popular with today’s lads no matter her hair colour!

Next we found out this week that not everyone is looking to start a sordid office affair with you if they sign an email with an X. New research indicates that more often than not receiving an email that’s been ‘sealed with a kiss’ is nothing more than a desire to appear friendly, believe it or not, – some even sign emails to their bosses with little X’s – though there was a strong minority that still interpreted a long line of kisses as a flirtatious come-on.

The research study pointed out that this friendly connotation begins and ends in the UK, as other English-speaking countries are much less familiar when it comes to an innocuous kiss. Our “slightly” Puritanical cousins across the pond in America would be absolutely mortified to receive a missive dripping in X’s, as the accepted custom in the US is to only include such terms of endearment with your closest of loved ones and family members.

It’s a bit odd to think that our ebullient, sometimes even overwhelmingly loud former colonists are so scared of a bit of harmless affection in an email. Let that be a lesson to you if you’ve ever got to correspond to a work colleague across the Atlantic: unless you want to confuse them and make them incredibly uncomfortable, leave off the X’s.

Unless you fancy their accent over Skype. In that case, go ahead and flirt away – but don’t expect long-distance dating to be easy!