Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Wasted Night At The Bar: Legit Reasons to Think About Online Dating

So, there are lots of reasons to go to Bars. Drinking, dancing, de-stressing, chillin’ with your peeps, escaping your reality … whatevs.

But a big reason why people go to Bars is because it is a socially acceptable place to look for love (whether that be a night of lovin’ or the love of your life).

However, after a couple convos with friends, acquaintances, and a stranger or two, I’ve come to realize that while folks totally dig on bars, there are some laments in terms of finding quality hook-ups or quality love at bars.

So they ask me, “Becca, where do I go instead?”

And my first answer is always “Online.”

To which I am met with shock and despair. “Becca, obviously only desperate, sad, ugly, pathetic, losers shop for love online right?”

To which I reply, “What is this, 1996? Get with it, suckas. Not just the desperate are turning to online sources for anything from a hook-up to long-term love. Many totally healthy and well-adjusted folks have found that in an age where the only spaces just for young single people seem to be bars, more and more young, hot people are turning to the internet for quality connections.”

To which they reply, “I dunno, brah. Still sounds sketchy.”

To which I reply, “Well, here are some things to think about.”

#1 Alcohol
So you’re at a bar. You see a CRAZY hottie shaking their groove thang on the dance floor. You take another sip of your 4th or 5th drink of the night and you walk on over and ask if you can shake it with them. You guys dance a little bit, chat a little bit, and then at one point one of you asks the other if you’d like to go home with them. You’re passionately making out, you start to get naked.

And then someone’s dick doesn’t work, or someone’s clit isn’t sensitive enough, or shit is just plain sloppy, or you can’t get the condom on correctly, or you wake up the next morning not remembering how you got there, or you wake up the next morning and realize that the hottie was NOT actually a hottie. Another wasted night because of the bar.

Alcohol, as we know, both impairs judgment and actually creates physiological barriers where sexy messages don’t get to the brain as clearly.

By dating online, the decision making process (unless you’re getting wasted while surfing profiles), is sober. Which means that you’ll have more ability to be discriminatory when choosing whose ads you’re going to answer, or whose profiles actually strike your fancy. When you meet someone in person, you can even choose to skip the alcohol altogether.

#2 Shy Folks
So, you’re at a bar. You’re really shy. You have a couple drinks to try to shake off some inhibition. But really, you’re still shy after a couple drinks. You wait for someone to approach you. Nobody does. Another wasted night at the bar.

If you’re the type that, even with a few drinks in the system, has issues just walking up to folks and talking to them, an online venture may be perfect. You have time to carefully think about what you’d like to say, you have lots of time to think carefully about messaging the person in the first place, and then you have lots of time to decide whether or not you’d like to meet them in person. You can also be straight up and put in your profile “I am kind of shy, but I love responding to messages, so hit me up, brah!”

#3 Rejection
So, you’re at a bar. You see a mad hottie. You go up and introduce yourself, offer to buy them a drink. They laugh at you and say no. Or they chat with you, and you think you’re doing really well, only for them to ditch you for the first Jersey Shore lookalike (no offense meant if that’s what you look like. Good for you for scoring a hottie!). Not only did you get straight rejected, but now you have to watch the object of your advances grind up against another person all night. When you return to the bar next week, they’re there, and you have to relive the rejection. Another wasted night at the bar.

When you message people online, usually the worst thing that happens when you’re getting a rejection is people don’t message back. In the best rejections they do message back, but are polite about it. Sometimes people are blunt can say pretty f’ed up things when they reject you online. But, usually no one is there to witness the rejection. A huge bonus for folks who aren’t a fan of being rejected to their faces. Also, the chances of you ever seeing that person in the non-online world are pretty slim.

#4 Specific Needs
So, you’re at a bar. You figure, it’s a bar, there are bound to be a good variety of folks to choose from. You happen to be a sugar daddy and/or momma looking for a sugar baby with a Jewish background. You look around and proposition everyone in the bar. But all the people you talk to are either catholic or aren’t interested in being your sugar baby. Another wasted night at the bar.

Because many people are hooked into the internets, there are a variety of ways to find exactly what you want. Some sites connect you to other people through demographic specific marketing (like dating sites for the Jewish community). Some sites connect you to other people through relationship specific marketing (like dating sites for sugar babies and sugar daddies/mommas). Other sites are larger communities for people of all backgrounds where you can choose options for nature of relationships you’re looking for (casual, FWB, long-term, etc). And then there are even sites where you simply place an ad looking for EXACTLY what you want (someone who wants to give me non-reciprocated head while I sing the national anthem).

#5 Variety
So, you’re at a bar. Let’s say there are 100 people in that bar. Hella people from whom to choose the love of your life, right? Except, 50 of those people are not of your preferred gender. 26 of those people are already in relationships. Of the 24 that are left, 3 are not your preferred orientation, 15 are not of your preferred aesthetics, and 4 are not going to be interested in you. Which leaves you with 2 possibilities. Let’s hope they’re not D-Bags. Because if they are … it’ll just be another wasted night at the bar.

So, that’s an obviously exaggerated example, but statistically speaking you will find both greater variety AND larger numbers of people online. Instead of 100 people to choose from, you may be looking at up to 10000 profiles. And because the love of your life may not live in Manayunk (believe me, mine doesn’t), searching online may help you to find that person across town, across the state, across the country, or across the world that totally rocks your socks off. Statistically speaking, online dating gives you access to a greater variety and volume of people.

#6 D-Bags
So, you’re at a bar. You’re kicking it with friends, looking slammin’ and scoping the bar for hotties. But people keep being all up in your business talking to you. Offering to buy you drinks, asking you if you wanna dance. But they’re all douchey about it. You fend them off, but it’s get old telling people you’re not interested. So many douchebags talk to you, you just get frustrated and give up on finding an actual connection. Another wasted night at the bar.

With online dating, you have so much choice and control over who you talk to. People can message you and hit you up, but you have the option to not message them back. Also, in cases where people are persistent, there are often options to block people from being able to contact you. So instead of having to have your friends run defense, you can just have the website programming do it for you. (You can also put, “Don’t message me if you’re a douche,” in your profile.)

#7 Dealbreakers
So, you’re at a bar. You’ve totally hit it off with this major slammin’ hottie. They’re smart, funny, consume all the same media that you do (including Becca’s Sex Blog). They lean in, you get butterflies in your stomach, and they ask “Wanna go outside and grab a cigarette?” And you’re like “No. Fuck. Dealbreaker. Sorry.” You explain that your ex-partner had a terrible smoking habit and you just can’t handle kissing ash-tray mouth ever again. Another wasted night at the bar.

Don’t want a long term relationship? Don’t like cigarette smokers? Don’t want someone who has kids? Don’t want a pet owner? With online dating, you can screen for lots of dealbreakers ahead of time. When meeting someone at a bar it may be off-putting for you to be like “Hi, my name is Becca, you’re hot, but I’m not really interested in talking to you if you want kids in the future.” In the online world, that is both totally legit AND expected behavior. It’s cool to lay everything out in blunt, open terms, so that you’re not wasting your or potential partners times.

So then, my friends are like, “Ok … but are there any ways that they’re tied?”

To which I say, “Hell Yeah!”

#8 Rapport
So, you’re at a bar. You’re chatting it up with someone, and you two have great rapport! You decide to meet with them when you’re sober and your rapport is still phenomenal. And things are awesome. A productive evening because of the bar.

But, sometimes, you’re at a bar. You’re chatting it up with someone and two have great rapport! You decide to meet with them when you’re both sober, and it turns out that your rapport was aided by alcohol. And things are awful. Another wasted night because of the bar.

With online dating, sometimes people require lots of time chatting online, talking on the phone, and establishing a sense of trust before taking the plunge and meeting in person. However, online rapport, phone rapport and even webcam rapport can be VERY different than rapport in person. So sometimes, even though you’ve put a lot of work into getting to know someone via electronic means, when you meet them in person … it turns out be a waste of time because your in-person rapport sucks.

But of course, just like switching from drunk to sober … switching from online to in-person can be just fine.

And then my friends say, “So, I feel like dating someone you meet online is like buying a car without going to the showroom first.”

To which I respond, “Well, except for the fact that I'm not really a fan of that analogy, there is one big advantage to meeting people in a bar first. What you see is, sort of, what you get.”

#9 Senses
So, you’re a bar. You can see, touch, smell, feel, hear, and sometimes even taste your potential future partner. Biologically speaking, this is actually really important to mate selection (do I smell a post for a later date? Hell Yeah!). Although usually they smell and taste like alcohol, being able to do these things is, biologically speaking, important. Even though your judgment might suck, you get a good general idea of how the person physically exists. Sometimes, nights aren’t wasted at the bar.

With online dating, there is a rift between how a person exists online and how they exist in real life. If you’ve only seen a picture of someone, it doesn’t describe their 3 dimensionality (not to mention that sometimes people show up and can look VASTLY different than the pictures they’ve provided). Also, while you might like the way someone looks via a picture, you may hate the way their voice sounds. OR, you may like the way they look, like the way they sounded via webcam, and then show up and their scents (either artificial or pheromonal) may just totally turn you off. Another wasted online effort.

And then I always like to close with my favorite joke that only folks from Philadelphia will get (and my apologies to anyone who identifies as a Manayunkian. I know that when you’re not in the bars, you’re probably not as douchey).

#10 Manayunk
So, you’re at a bar. Either a DJ or a cover band is playing top 40 hits. Everyone around you is either a dudebro or a bitty (the dudebro’s female counterpart). Everyone apparently bought their clothing at that “I was in a Greek organization in college and don’t know how to move-on” warehouse. As a woman, at any age older than 26 you are a cougar. You attempt to talk to people, but they stare at you blankly when you use polysyllabic words. Another wasted night at the bar.

Online dating allows you to not date people who go to bars in Manayunk.

(Again, I don’t like to generalize, and it’s not THAT bad. And not everyone in Manayunk bars are like that. If you ever rock a bar in Manayunk, you might just love it.)

At the end of this rather long and detailed conversation, I like to end by saying, “Whether you decide that you still are going to find love in a bar or take the plunge into the world of online dating … I hope you’ve at least learned something. I also hope that you realize that there are legit and rational reasons for anyone to try online dating. So in the future, perhaps you can be less of a hater when talking about people who choose to date via the internets.”

Keep Thinking!

-Becca

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