Online dating has become the darling bastard child of our media empire this decade. Whenever it's a slow news day and enough people haven't been exploded in the Middle East to warrant an in-depth investigation of the canned peaches being served to these soldiers in exclusive behind-the-scenes journalism labeled "too hot to handle" by a professional firefighter who recently lit his hands on fire in a tragic boiling vinegar accident, the media outlets always fall back on some played-out "love in cyberspace" story and its infinite negative permutations we've seen countless times. More often than not these stories revolve around specific examples detailing how online romance went sour and resulted in either rape or murder charges, with the quasi-minority anchorperson attempting to pass off these isolated incidents as behavior indicative of all Internet encounters. The teaser for such news items will aim to strike fear and horror in the hearts of all fat, ignorant, sloth-like soccer moms across the globe who suspect their precious little 14-year old Billy just might be using the Internet to meet 50-year old sex offenders instead of doing something more productive such as calling people "gay faggots" during heated Counter-Strike matches. They're always outrageous lines along the following:
"Internet online cyberspace information superhighway web romance goes sour and now a local area man is left asking, 'where is my left testicle?' Learn how to protect the testicles of the ones you love tonight on the Channel 7 News at 10."
"A relationship turns to murder when a Hartsfield woman learns her husband was having an online affair with a Sun Fire V480 server and repeatedly engaged in lewd sexual conduct with it, producing fifteen illegitimate PDA offspring which he kept in his parked car and died after prolonged exposure from the heat. Learn how to protect your illegitimate PDA offspring on the channel 12 news at 10."
"Online love falls flat when a Grugsburgh woman discovers the level 63 wizard she was dating secretly held online sex chat orgies with up to 20 different wood elves... at once! Learn how to protect your heart from e-cheats on the Channel 11 News at 10."
"A local Chaw County man is arrested for sending pictures of a naked photo depicting a drawing resembling a naked photo of a child sketching a nude child's drawing, shocking his friends and family. Learn how to protect your crippled orphan Jesuits from Venusian space attacks on the Channel 3 News at 10, which has recently been moved to 11 so we can show even more fucking reruns of 'Fraiser'."
From the image painted by the media, online romance and dating is riskier than financing a new "Tomb Raider" movie. In one aspect, this is true, as there are a lot of people online and all of them are insane and take anti-depressants. I'm not exaggerating when I state this; over 80% of men who use the Internet regularly consume anti-depressants, and over 105% of avid female Internet users admit to taking prescription anti-depressants at least three times a day. Of course these statistics may be a tad inaccurate, especially since I just made them up, so I'm sure the actual numbers are slightly higher for both categories. If you ever meet somebody online and they claim they aren't on anti-depressants, then they're either lying to you or they're abusing anti-anxiety medication or they're chatbots who haven't been updated since the late 90s. Either way you probably shouldn't hit on them unless they promise to buy you that "Fight Club" DVD on your Amazon Wishlist and it seems like they really mean it.
One of the greatest obstacles blocking the social acceptance of online dating lies in the blatant misinformation and lies spread by the pro-online dating scene. That's correct, I believe that the organizations and individuals attempting to legitimize this social interaction are the ones hurting it the greatest by dishing out faulty information, advice, and tips which do nothing but lead to embarrassing situations and manslaughter charges. For example, I just did a search through Google and stumbled upon a website named "Dating Tips Advice" which not only offers online dating tips and advice, but additionally features hyphens between every word of its title. I don't want to unfairly critique this site, especially since I haven't read practically any of it nor do I have the intention of ever doing so, but you should never take any of the advice here and should additionally assume that the sole intention of the author is to get you either critically injured or critically killed. Let's just take a look at a few of the many, many popular misconceptions and half-truths that this so-called "advice" site perpetuates to deceive you:
"On joining one of the bigger online dating services, the world truly is your oyster. If it's Ski-loving 20 year olds, who love football, are up for anything and live in Colorado, then a few clicks of your mouse and a dating service might return a list of those type of people."
First of all, nobody on the Internet loves to ski. The closest anybody here has come to doing absolutely anything in the snow was when a particularly computer-savvy Internet user in Colorado purchased a copy of Amped and threw the box into the pile of festering garbage outside his window after realizing he got it confused with SSX Tricky. Now if you're looking for oysters, which the first sentence implies, you'll probably have decent luck searching for your dream lover here on the Internet, as many users enjoy shoveling entire toughs of seafood down their greased-up throats on the rare occasion they were blackmailed into leaving their basement for dinner. Also please keep in mind that these shellfish-slurping wads of loosely compressed bison slabs excel at spreading the myth that they are the person you are searching for when, in reality, you probably definitely are not. For example, nobody in their right mind would want to ever date or get near me, either because of my rotting disposition or tendency to fill bathtubs with my sweat in under an hour, yet I could potentially pass myself off as a ski-loving 20 year old who loves football and is up for anything and lives in Colorado and is retarded enough to use an Internet dating service. How would I accomplish this? Well I imagine I would subscribe to some kind of online dating service and then post an ad explaining "I am a ski-loving 20 year old who loves football and is up for anything and lives in Colorado." I'd leave off the "retarded enough to use an Internet dating service" part because that's just assumed in this scenario.
"When you go to singles bars you really do have to scrub up, don that expensive suit, and make an impression before any words come out of your mouth. Then you have to keep that person's interest with your witty repertoire of one-liner's. It's hard ain't it? On the net, you can sift through profiles of singles looking for the type of person you'd like to get to know, without the disadvantages of having to make that first impression count too much. And you can do so from the comfort of your bed, wearing whatever you want and so forth."
This is just another way of saying "it's perfectly acceptable to be an ugly hog wreck if you're on the Internet" and further perpetuates the false stereotype that we're all online bulbous greasejockeys who wear glasses and Darth Vader t-shirts, which isn't true at all; some of us wear contact lens instead of glasses. We must abolish the mindset which encourages people to search for online love while looking like an unkempt bed after a nuclear apocalypse, especially since one of my grade school teachers used to say, "other people will only respect you when you respect yourself." She's dead now, so may this also serve as a reminder encouraging you not to die. Simply put, if you dress like shit then you do not have any respect for yourself and obviously don't care if you look like a two-bit harlot who recently escaped from a Charles Dickens book about haggard English hobos who clean chimneys and freshen various guvnuh's tea. Before getting on the Internet, you should shower, shave, get your teeth cleaned, do your hair, wash your clothes, and put on a silk outfit which costs no less than $5,000 total and has platinum-laced buttons manufactured by the King of Prussia himself. If you cannot afford such a luxurious garment, then you do not deserve to date people on the Internet and should be put inside one of those giant Mad Max paper mache hats while being led into the desert to meet your fate.
"If you ain't good looking, well you can use charm and impress the opposite sex with your witty emails, thoughtful answers and get to know them before revealing that photo. Of course, by then they might be willing to cut you slack if you ain't God's gift. That's got to be good, hasn't it?"
Let's take a look at that first sentence: "you can use charm and impress the opposite sex with your witty emails." Now I could spend the next 15 updates picking apart everything that's wrong with the concept behind attempting to charm and impress people of the opposite sex with emails, but I won't because I have to write about very important subjects such as my dog and why organized religions are wacky. I'd just like to take this moment and touch upon the stark contrast between "witty emails" and "emails that real people actually send":
WITTY EMAIL: "Our cyber-love shall be broadcasted like a LinkSys wireless router dispatching packets to the PCI cards on its network of romance."
WHAT NORMAL INTENET USERS WRITE: "hi lets get it on i got a big dick i wan 2 stick in ur pusy aol me at bigcok2003 i like sprots"
WITTY EMAIL: "We the willing, following the unknowing are doing the impossible. We have done so much for so long with so little that we are now able to do anything with nothing."
WHAT NORMAL INTENET USERS WRITE: "do u have tits?"
WITTY EMAIL: "Times have changed since a certain author was executed for murdering his publisher. They say that when the author was on the scaffold he said goodbye to the minister and to the reporters, and then he saw some publishers sitting in the front row below, and to them he did not say goodbye. He said instead, 'I'll see YOU later'."
WHAT NORMAL INTENET USERS WRITE: "asl????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????"
Let's face it; in this fast-paced era of fax machines and automatic washing machines, some of us don't have the time to be witty or intelligent, and this couldn't be more evident than by examining my writing style. Additionally, others of us have the IQ of paste that's been sitting out in a field for the past week. Combine these two facts together and you've got the recipe for a stew of brevity, not one which encourages insightful, eloquent, intellectual jabs at the Bush administration. LOL, I just wrote "BUSH"!!!!
"You're not restricted to just conversing with one person. Keep interested in several people and get to know them via email before committing to that first phone conversation, or first date."
Oh, so suddenly we logon to AOL and we're the talk of the town, the cock of the walk, the big man on campus? The ability to get online provides us with an excuse to hustle our digital hips around town, picking up hordes of shady strangers throughout the digital information cyberhighway? Just because you have an Internet connection and the raging hormones of Kevin from that one episode of "The Wonder Years" where he really tried to bone Winnie Cooper doesn't mean you can go around gallivanting your shapely eHips like an iFloozie! Let me tell you something you cyberwhores: the moment you press "SEND" and ship off your first email to HotPants38127 on MSN, you've entered an exclusive relationship with them and you do not have the right to strut your stuff throughout town! Communicating with somebody via email holds the same commitment as proposing to them, so you should treat this momentous occasion as such:
YOU: "hey babey u should date me id treat u rite> plz emall me back so i can stick cock in your throte."
HER: "What? Who is this? How did you get my email address?"
YOU: "here is ur ring:o. we r now maryed. make a baby u slut"
As you can see, all this advice being offered by these so-called "online experts" is nothing but hogwash and claptrap. Wait, I meant to infer that the "Dating-Tips-Advice.com" people were the ones offering the hogwash and claptrap, not me. All my advice has been intelligent and reasonable facts accumulated after years of important research which consisted of such things as washing my hands and watching "The Net" which starred Sandra Bullock as somebody whose identity is stolen by Bonzi Buddy and she's forced to fight in hand-to-hand combat with Norton Firewall to get it back. She eventually does, but it was all dinged up and had a bunch of extra miles on its odometer at that point. So before you head out onto the digital loveline and proceed to make a tremendous ass of yourself, please keep in mind my simple points of advice which reveal the shocking truth behind these so-called "helpful" dating sites. Good luck and happy hunting!
Shot through the heart, and you're to blame!
Ryan "OMGWTFBBQ" Adams here, running out of ways to say "yes it is me, the guy who does the Comedy Goldmine updates."
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The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.