Internet Dating

Dating was complicated even before you had to figure out how Microsoft Windows worked.

When I was on the hunt for a wife, at the turn of the century, life was a bit less complex. Liezl and I met, we dated, we married. Later we had kids. Seems the 21st century comes with a few more choices though doesn’t it? Not necessarily good nor bad, but challenging none the less.

After spending an hour chatting about the-things-that-make-the-world-go-round with a good friend he asked the question, “Mark, what’s your opinion on internet dating?”

Truthfully I hadn’t really ever given it much thought. Over the next 20 minutes however I had the opportunity to give it some consideration. We discussed the technologies, the pros and cons, privacy issues, security, real life people, love and such like. Really fascinating stuff.

Because the hour was getting late and I was tired I asked the one question that had been on my mind since we had begun the conversation, “Have you met anyone interesting yet?”

“Well yes. Her name is Sandy *. She was born in Holland and now works in Nigeria. We have similar interests, passions and concerns…” My friend rattled off a number of mutually compatible qualities and conversations that they had had. It was all quite sweet really.

“The only problem I have is this”, said Phil * with a concerned look on his face. “Every time we chat, in my head, I’m balancing this perfect woman on the one hand with a nagging feeling that this is a Nigerian 419 scam on the other.”

He was completely serious, brow furrowed, deep in thought. I stared at him for a moment and then we both collapsed into laughter.

As our laughter subsided an image of a big dark Nigerian man named Eniola sitting in front of a PC in Lagos came to mind. As he’s filling in the “looking for what?” question on the internet site he turns to a fellow conspirator and asks in Yoruba (a native language of Nigeria), “What’s the English word for Husband again?”

This morning I was thinking of courtship, culture and how life changes around us. Listen to parts the romantic love story between Isaac and Rebekah.

It starts in Genesis 24 verses 1 – 4 were Abraham is arranging a marriage for his son, fairly unconventional in our modern Western day and age:

1 Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4 but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

Then there’s a process that involves bangles, camels, deceit, negotiations, lebola and stuff. Finally a climatic movie scene ending at the end of chapter where the two lovers meet, love’s seed planted in a lingering eye lock. Sounds a bit Mills and Boon doesn’t it? Here’s the text:

63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself.
66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”

Have any feelings about dating, internet dating or Nigerian 419 scams?

* I changed the names to protect the innocent.


3 thoughts on “Internet Dating

  1. I’ve met boyfriends on the internet before. Frankly, it seems to work better than the bar scene. You just have to be smart about it. My generation is far more accepting of it than any generation ever has been before.

  2. I was chatting to some friends about this very thing over coffee today. The internet dating that is, not Nigerians.

    The opinion seemed to be that it is not that different from trying to pick people up in a club, with the obvious advantage that you know (s)he is also looking, so you are not bothering someone who just wants to be left alone.

    Until they pass a law that women need to have their status, and what sort of guy they want, stuck on their back at bars, I think I will be giving the internet dating the benefit of the doubt.

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