The Handbag | KCET
It's Cyber Monday and I just bought a pair of Dansko, Mary Janes in black, size 36. Exactly what I wanted. This same purchasing process is also how millions are made off of Online dating and the need for the perfect "fit".
When you shop for a handbag, you have an idea of what you want; clutch, leather with gold clasp. When you look for a partner, is it as easy? In the past before the "internet", you relied on friends, parties, weddings and the occasional outing to the bars with friends to meet someone; now you can do it from the comfort of home without even changing out of your pajamas. From the simple gender selection check box to the 50 page questionnaires, you can "shop" for your significant other by choosing how many hoops you want to jump through and how much you want to pay.
Mix and Match
Like the handbag, you can choose area, gender, height, weight, athletic ability, hair color, and if they like sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with a glass of Pinot Noir or walking hand in hand on a beach during the sunset to digging through $2 bins of DVDs at the Best Buy. There are even some matchmaking sites that rely on "science" to match you up; in my mind I picture someone shaking test tubes and growing a "match" in a petri dish and then presto, you have your own Dr. Frankenstein's Monster Date made up of requested parts, your dream mate.
Point of Purchase
Once you get past the emailing and the long phone calls locked in your bathroom giggling while your room mate bangs on the door; you make the decision to meet your date at the local Starbucks. Clutching the image of your date in your left lobe, you scan the green and brown decor of the Starbucks. There he/she is, sitting waving at you. Dang. That must of been a photo from high school or they have mad Photoshop skills. You sit down. Both of you look at each other smiling. Are the eyes smiling? That's a hint if it's a real smile. Your eyes aren't smiling and you wonder how fast you can drink that extra hot Venti Latte. It's the same voice, the same personality, just the image doesn't match up, well it does if you fast forwarded a decade or two. Will you make that leap and say "it's the personality, not the vessel" and stick with him/her? Or will you decide that it's not the handbag you were looking for and you are going back to look for the one with the silver clasp?
Chemistry is not created by keystrokes nor is it made real by two dimensional images, it is through eye contact, scent, sound and eventually the touch of a hand. You can return a retail purchase without penalty, the handbag has no feelings, but when you "return" a living being, you leave a trail of unrequited desire. My word of caution when traversing the world of online love, is to take into consideration the human feelings of the other, it is made of flesh and not binary code.
Image: Ophelia Chong/ Flame
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