National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Apr 8 2009 at 8:25:03 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine
GayNZ Logo & Link
Wednesday 08 April 2009

Online dating: "Why I deleted myself"

Posted in: True Stories, Safe Sex
By James Warke - 24th December 2008

The world of online dating didn't work for 25-year-old Aucklander James Warke, who made the choice to delete his profile and attempt to date the ‘traditional' way. He tells us his story.

There is a certain type of website out there, perhaps you've visited one, or even several. On them you can search through pages and pages of listings looking for something you want; or you can narrow your criteria and get quite specific on some of them if you're feeling a little more choosy. Some of the listings have photos to help you make your decision. All of the sites are a little like trademe, with one important difference, you're not looking for a new coffee table or bargain price car, but rather a potential new partner (be it for something long term or... casual).

As with trademe though, such sites can be very hit or miss; sometimes you can pick up something that's just perfect and might last you a lifetime; and sometimes you get something which is just not how the ad described it and has clearly been used a lot more than you were led to believe.

Now I do believe I am somewhat of a rarity in that I'm a gay male, I'm in my mid-20's, and I'm not on any of them. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people using such sites, I've tried them in the past, but the world of internet dating has never quite worked for me.

I first tried it back when I was 20, and for a young gay guy, particularly one who hadn't had any experience on the gay scene (I was somewhat of a late bloomer in that respect) it was a hugely attractive option. There were so many guys on there; it took away that "he's cute, but probably straight" (a huge relief when your gaydar is crap) problem; and best of all it took away (mostly) the fear of rejection. I could message whoever I liked and if they weren't interested, most would just not reply, or I could just stick a profile up and see who messaged me. Clearly I would find the man of my dreams within a matter of hours... five years later I have a slightly more realistic outlook.

I found that no amount of conversation on the internet will ever allow you to truly know a person. I had many perfect five message long conversations with people that led nowhere. Photos were also a problem; while I wouldn't say I'm shallow and I truly believe looks are entirely subjective; they are important in that if you're not attracted to someone physically, it hinders a potential relationship. There have been a few profiles on there where I have found the photos attractive and then seen them in real life and not been so enamoured; and yes, ok, sometimes for slightly shallow reasons such as the person looking a lot older than in their photo, or their head is just too damn big for their body. It's just demonstrative of the fact that there is no foolproof substitute to real life experience. I have no doubt whatsoever that I probably proved a disappointment to some of the people I talked to as well.

And so I made the choice to delete my profile and attempt to date the "traditional" way. But while I don't like to play the martyr card as a homosexual, traditional dating seems to be a shit load harder for us friends of Dorothy.

Let's examine a dating scenario. You're out driving and get a little bit lost, so you stop to try and get your bearings and get offered directions from a prostitute who you end up hiring for the night, then the week and during that time you find out they are an intelligent and lovely person, you fall in love with them. Hey... it worked for Richard Gere in Pretty Woman! This was effectively the view of dating that we are brought up with, too many rom-coms with an implausable happy ending, and it is not until you get older that you find the real world is nothing quite as easy. As a homo, I don't have the luxury of being able to go to any one of hundreds of bars and clubs around Auckland to meet people, I am confined to about 3 or 4. It's not quite as easy to just hit on anyone I might be attracted to either, as to be frankly honest, I'd feel mortified if I asked a guy for his number to have him tell me he was straight. In a perfect world, it wouldn't be a problem, but we are still in a time when such a thing would be hugely embarrassing for him and in turn also for me. The dating pool for us is a lot smaller and I'm sure I cannot be the only one who feels these same sorts of restrictions.

So I don't judge people who do use internet dating as a means of meeting people, and while I have yet to meet a relationship success story I have no doubt they are out there. I do still sometimes question whether I should have given up on the internet dating option; but both the traditionalist and the romantic in me still hopes that when I am in future asked how I met my partner, I can have a slightly better story than "on the net".

Do you have a true-life story for We welcome contributions - contact us via the link at the bottom of the page.

James Warke - 24th December 2008