< SWITCH ME >

Rain pelted against the slabs of rock. The water poured down outside Sarah's flat where she was completing her masters at the University of Saint Andrews. With just weeks to go before Sarah's dissertation was due, her anxiety was at its highest - her fingers flying across the keyboard, configuring the last fragments of theory that would fit into a 25,000 word count, condensing 19 years of her education into one final but highly symbolic (not to mention expensive) paper.

Needing space from the stress of it all, Sarah's aunt came to whisk her away to Paris. Here, in the city of love, she would try to find some clarity as she bound together the last threads of her education. Yet ironically it was in the world's most romantic city that as one part of Sarah's life cumulatively came together, the romance of Sarah's life fell apart. Sarah's boyfriend of six years spoke the words no girlfriend wants to hear.

girl computer night

Photo: mislav-m (CC BY)

Dating websites can do wonders for your ego

'I cheated on you.'

'He said that he went to church that morning and prayed,' says Sarah. 'God told him it wasn't working out. After I pressed on, I found out that the reality was that for two years, he had been cheating on me with the girl who was his best friend.'

Not only did the bloke decide to tell Sarah on the cusp of her dissertation due date, Prince Charming decided the perfect venue for doing so was email. Classy, Mutherflubber. In an instant, there went six years of everything Sarah believed in. Yet more than the betrayal, more than the heartbreak, more than the shock, Sarah found that the heaviest thought on her mind was something else.

'I missed the glory years of dating.'

At 25 years old, Sarah hadn't been on a real date in six years. So Sarah decided to make up for all those lost years. She wished her (ex) boyfriend the best on his voyage, and hoped for the sake of the other passenger on board that their journey would be exciting enough to keep him from docking his ship in other ports. Then, instead of feeling sorry for herself, Sarah did what many young adults are finding themselves doing nowadays. She got online, and she got herself a date. In fact, during the month of January, Sarah got herself 31 dates in 31 days.

Instead if feeling sorry for herself, Sarah did what many young adults are finding themselves doing nowadays: she got online and got herself a date.

'I dated an aspiring UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter, a model, a surfer, a tweaker, a guy who made guitars, a manager at a game store, a security guard, a life guard, a teacher, a few guys who were 'finding themselves'. I dated a lawyer who couldn't find work, a lawyer who was practising, a lawyer who quit and decided to be a blogger, and a guy who stood on the corner in a lady liberty costume selling tax refund things.'

Perhaps the most hilarious of Sarah's encounters was one guy who was really into World of Warcraft.

'He told me I reminded him of an elfish queen with flowing red locks and ask if he could see my wings later.'

Online dating: a democratic business

With over 32.1 million monthly users in the Europe alone, the old stumble-into-a-club-make-eye-contact-with-first-passerby-leave/exchange-numbers, cold call isn't just old fashioned….it's a real gamble. Online dating allows you to find out a rough idea of the basics – what a person looks like, what they are interested in, if you both have similar outlooks on life, etc., - before you make that cold contact.  The best part for those of us living in a cyber generation who find human contact (and rejection) a bit daunting, all it takes are the buttons of a keyboard to find out whether or not we have liftoff.

Further, online dating is a billio- dollar industry that offers multiple platforms for each person to find their niche. Platforms have become so diverse - such as, nerd passions, fitness singles and the infamous grindr - that there's really something for everyone. From hookups to relationships to even the casual relashopping (a term used for people who casually browse online dating profiles) there are multiple areas of dating culture to delve into. Intriguingly, online dating has become an extremely important space for people in underrepresented communities to meet and identify with one another.  

An opportunity for the lgbtQ community

Danielle, a 25-year-old social worker who identifies as bisexual agrees, 'I found OkCupid useful in my experience because it lets people know that I'm queer… you end up seeing a lot of the people from OkCupid in real life because the queer community (can be) small.'

Travis, a 24-year-old who hails from America - the land of the free which still infamously struggles to accept its LGBTQ population socially and legally - agrees.'From a young age, there has been a hesitancy to ask strangers out and to basically act on my nature. There's a fear that a heterosexual guy will overreact to being hit on by a gay man, either ending up in a verbal or physical overreaction for being perceived as gay.'

Online dating has become an extremely important space for people in underrepresented communities to meet and identify with one another.


For the LGBTQ community in America, especially those living in areas where openly identifying as gay or trans can result in oppressive isolation online dating provides a safe platform to connect with others and more so, a steadfast reassurance that there are others like you.But just because online dating provides multiple venues where you can find your niche, that doesn't mean it's always an easy shop around in the journey of finding your partner. In other words, there are the horror stories.

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