Pew is at it again. They have taken a break from all of their published research on the fallout of our presidential election and on current political trends, in order to focus on what really matters to people: online dating. This will have two benefits: First, it will, unlike politics, bring people together. Second, it will provide unlikely fodder for POTUS’ all night Tweet extravaganzas.
The behemoth research center first polled people on online dating back in 2005, when, according to them, “few Americans had online dating experience.” This was especially interesting to Life in the Boomer Lane, who first jumped onto the newly emerged online dating phenomenon long before Match.com was invented in 1995. Back in the Dark Ages of online dating, sites consisted of LBL and a bunch of men who called themselves “Ralph.” LBL had no hesitation to go online for dates, as it provided a reason for her to go online. Unlike everything else connected to computers, this was fun.
Humans have tried to connect with each other since they discovered that there were other humans to connect with. The first personal ads appeared in Britain in 1690, several years before LBL started placing personals in the Washington Post and the City Paper. Having thus already communicated with strange men, as well as men who were complete strangers, LBL didn’t hesitate to jump into online dating when that option became available. One of the first was love@aol. The early sites were a bit crude. Questionnaires were kept to a minimum, mostly consisting of “I am a man/woman. I am looking for a man/woman. Contact me.”
In this day and age, online dating has become more sophisticated, as well as more popular. Questionnaires have expanded, so as to make better matches. Now they consist of “I am a man/woman/other. I am looking for a man/woman/both. I like/love/adore anal.”
Back to the research. Here are five facts about online dating, uncovered by Pew:
1. Online dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.
LBL heartily agrees with this. Back when she started, LBL’s friends told her that anyone she met online would either stab, bludgeon, or strangle her, not necessarily in that order. They didn’t elaborate whether LBL and her online date would first have some real fun, before the mayhem started.
Pew reports that “today 15% of U.S. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.” LBL personally believes that the actual percentage may be closer to 87.
2. Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.
LBL can’t attest to whatever those unruly kids are up to, but she does have opinions about the oldsters. While Pew says that “today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report ever using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013” LBL thinks the number may be much higher. It’s simply too easy to sit and troll prospects while wearing one’s pajamas and spooning ice cream directly from the container..
Online dating has been a boon for those over age 50. The only drawback is the ongoing conundrum that women have about revealing their true age on sites. According to Huff Post, early 20th century newspaper posts included the following:
HOUSEKEEPER: 18 to 30 years of age, wanted by widower, 40. Have prominent position with the rail company, have 75-acre ranch also house in town; object matrimony if suited; have boy 13 years old, would not object to housekeeper having child. Can give best references.
Needless to say, there were probably some frustrated and pissed off women, aged 31-40+ who rolled their eyes at that ad and then thought about responding with a phony age.
3. One third of people who have used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites.
This doesn’t surprise LBL at all. Many people view online dating in much the same way as online shopping for luxury goods. A world of merchandise is out there, and, as long as you don’t actually do anything stupid, like buying something, it can propel you into a fantasy life of your choosing. You can also “Watch” items on eBay, giving you the feeling that you are actually considering plunking money down on any number of high-class goods. As long as you don’t click “Make Offer,” your money is safe and can then be used on the mortgage and utility payments.
4. One-in-five online daters have asked someone else to help them with their profile.
This makes perfect sense to LBL, as 80% of males online either #1 show photos of themselves bare-chested in front of computer monitors #2 show photos of themselves with a cropped, extended arm that was previously draped around a now-defunct woman 3. use phrases like “If you turn out to be the woman of my dreams and we get married and I share my hefty retirement with you…” 4. Use any variation of the phrase “I’m not into playing games/I’m not looking for anyone who wants to play games” (It’s pretty much guaranteed that folks in this last category will spend the entire first date talking about their bitch ex-wife or bitch ex-girlfriend)
5. 55% of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online.
So, according to Pew, 15% of people have gone online but 55% of those in marriages or relationships have met online. LBL has tried to do the math on this one. Let’s say that there are 100 adult Americans in the US (100 being the maximum number LBL can deal with, without getting confused and leaving the computer and checking out the refrigerator). According to Pew, 15 would have gone online. Then let’s say that 75 of those adults are in relationships or married. Fifty-five percent of that would be 41. Fifteen and 41 do not match in anyone’s book, except perhaps in the book that the current administration totes around.
In sum, this brings LBL back to her contention that way more people than 15% have gone online (See #1). LBL has been vindicated. For that reason, this blog post ends right now and LBL leaves on a high note and contemplates going to Disneyland.
Renee Fisher has a home in Bradenton and has her own on-line column, “Life In The Boomer Line” and also writes for the Huffington Post.
Photos from Deposit Photos