Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dating 40 Years Ago vs. Now

Okay, so at first glance you won't read that title and think this has anything to do with intercultural dating but I assure you it does. I'm going to start with the 'now' part because if I don't you may not get what I'm trying to say.

A lot of girls in the desi/pardesi community (as well as many other communities no represented by this blog) met their sweethearts online. Some through dating sites, others through instant messaging programs or social networking. We get a lot of 'are you crazy' type looks when we discuss this with people and I've seen a lot of girls shy away from the topic. I'm here to explain to you why you shouldn't be embarrassed, nervous, etc. about sharing how you met your love online.

Online dating sites are gaining quite a bit of respect in the US. Since we invented the internet it's no wonder we would pioneer most of what happens there. Americans have almost perfected online dating with scientific formulas and all sorts of protection for users. We've basically become quite good at it. Thousands of people meet online every day and find true happiness. There is no shame in wanting to find something new and different from what's available in your local area and the internet has made that easier than ever.

I'm sure most of you understand that without me delving further into details of how and why we look for romance online. Most of my readers are web-savvy enough to already know this information.

But did you know how people met 40 years ago? Sure, most met people locally but there's a comparable comparison with some dating practices from 40 years ago to today's internet dating. We don't think about them because no one talks about them. Why? Because 40 years ago these methods were just as taboo/scandalous/different as internet dating is now. The people who found love this way were scrutinized just as hard as internet daters are today.

  1. Mail Order Brides - this is not a new concept and I think pretty much everyone knows what it is and has an opinion of it. This is very similar to online dating. People looked through physical catalogs then and now they look through online directories. See the similarity now?
  2. Mail Bag Brides - What's that you say? Well that's where random church or women's groups wrote to soldiers overseas. They didn't know who they were writing to and the recipient literally pulled a random letter out of a mail bag. Surprisingly, quite a few of these resulted in marriages. Compare that to the random PM or facebook comment you got that intrigued you enough to spark up a conversation. 
  3. Travel - While no one would openly admit it, many people in early interracial or intercultural marriages traveled for the purpose of meeting people not like themselves. This practice still occurs and no one ever seems to frown too much on someone who met a potential spouse while on vacation. Now with the internet, you can go to exotic places without leaving your home and so people who can't afford expensive plane tickets simply log on. They still meet random people from other countries this way.
If anything, people should respect online dating just as much as they respect blind dating, speed dating and other similar services. Just like in real life, it's just as easy for a stranger to lie to you or be completely open with you online. That is based on their personality. People lie online just like they lie to your face. It takes a personal involvement for someone to want to be open and honest with you no matter where you meet them.

So don't be ashamed, embarrassed or nervous about sharing how you met your sweetheart. There is nothing wrong with online dating and the only thing different is your physical location when it happens. At least online there's no physical danger (not until you meet personally) and you can cut ties with the person before meeting if anything seems fishy. In ways, it's safer to date online as long as you don't share too much personal information.

Tell the world. Enjoy your status as a pioneer in the field of dating and marriage. You're fine-tuning the process for the next generation just like your parents generation did for you. Not everyone will understand it or accept it but you're not wrong in any way to do it.

8 comments:

  1. nice topic and well written.. I can understand.

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  2. Oh yes I got a fair share of are you crazy? When I satarted dating a guy I met online...I'm married to that guy now and happy...who was crazy?

    In Switzerland online anything was taboo, it also came from the fact that our immediate neighbor : France launchned the Minitel 30 years ago (the service just got unplugged last June) it was a kind of mini computer thing that went on the phone line long before the web reached Europe, and the Minitel was famous for creating the "pink messaging" system, with the first love/erotic chat rooms and message board in Europe, so the online dating was known to the French, but still laughed about big time, interacting with a person via key-board rather than in person seemed un-natural, and still does so to many persons in the older generation today.
    What we had in Switzerland until the World wide web in the mid-90's was personal ads in the magazines and newspapers, they were equally made fun of back in the days, because "good family" people don't put ads in papers, my mom lectured us on no end on how these ads were not for us to read as kids (even though there was nothing dirty and erotic to them) and told us only desperate people use that service.
    Nowaday I wonder if the classified still work or exist, the world has moved to online dating site, but there are still those who will think those who do it are crazy, or desperate, or must have something wrong about themselves not to meet new people in real life first.
    Interesting though that in India people have nothing wrong against classifieds and online matrimony services, it probably comes fromt he fact that culturally arranged match are the norm and online services just make meeting prospective brides/groom so much easier and give more options than relying on the immediate community. I also never encountered anybody in India who thought that my meeting DH online was weird or crazy.

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  3. I read somewhere no too long ago that 20% of married couples in the US met online. 
    I think that's about right, I have 2 girlfriends that met their husbands online. 

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  4. I think that just anything new is generally something that the older generation shies away from. There really are so many things about my Internet forged, inter cultural, inter generational, and inter political marriage that people could find fault with but I have fortunately not met those people yet. I have noticed here that most people are more intrigued rather than put off when I tell them hubby and I met online and then continue to recount several other marriages they know of that began via the web. Maybe it's the region I live in though. The Pacific Northwest is know for its diversity and pioneering spirit. I am moving to Texas next month though so I will see then how well these types of relationships are received *insert nervous giggle and awkward smile here*.

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  5. Thank you! I appreciate your compliment!

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  6. Very good perspective. I wasn't looking for love at all but I think if I had been, I definitely would have been looking online. I knew long ago I didn't want to spend my life with any American man. I'm very happy with the way things worked out. I can't imagine it any other way.

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  7. That sounds about right. I have several friends who met online. My old supervisor met her husband online and they've been married a long time. No one disrespects their relationship anymore.

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  8. I wasn't looking for love either, I just needed to meet new people with a broader perspective on life than the same old Swiss ideologies, love was accidental, pretty much like it would have been offline, I had many online friends accross the world back then, still do.

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