Night on the Town

Night on the Town

Deana Smith

Dating can be quite the kick to the head.

The awkwardness is overwhelming, the stress can knock one flat and the overall unpleasantness of some experiences can be remarkable.

So, in the grand, developing tradition of taxes and office supplies, there is a Web site to make it a little easier.

However, these Web sites might put the user on a path that does not lead to happily ever after. The preface to this article would be to not assume that the author is a bitter spinster of some kind, but an observer of society in general.

Sure, it would be nice if marriages and other relationships happened like they do in the movies. Boy meets girl, boy and girl like each other, sappy montage and misunderstanding but in the end, there is usually happiness. It does sometimes happen like this, one can suppose, but not often. I have yet to hear any kind of montage during my day.

If one types “dating website” into Google it returns about 6,340,000 results. That’s a lot of dates and a lot of compatibility questions to answer. The first link under the sponsored links is a site called It is a site for “online dating minus ugly people.”

Apparently some predetermined set of rules, which includes “red hair and too many freckles,” concludes that a majority of people in the world are ugly and do not, in fact, deserve love. While the site does get some points for being upfront with its customers, it still makes it terrible.

Other sites are not so obvious about their biases. ran a series of ads that attacked for rejecting people for various reasons. While it is the right of a privately-owned Internet dating service to decide to whom they are and are not going to cater, it is important for them to actually say this in the initial stages of the process.

Despite all of this, the idea of matching two people who have never met but seem to have the same interests or hold many of the same values is bothersome. It is not bothersome that people want to find someone to spend Friday evening with, or indeed the rest of their lives with. Everyone who cares to should be able to find someone to spend time with. However, it is of concern that these sites are so easy. What is to stop someone from not trying the dating scene at all and going straight for the compatibility Web site?

Recently, on a trip to New Mexico, I was in that limbo period between takeoff and when they say I can turn on my iPod. So, I read the magazine that is available for my perusal. In the magazine there were no less than four executive dating services. These are for people who are young, successful and do not have the time to take care of a houseplant, much less get in on the dating scene. They plug in their information and wait for some other young, successful single and then the happy couple can start a jet-set lifestyle.

Just because you are compatible does not mean you can or should be together. Sometimes one’s polar opposite can be the final result of the dating quest. The idea of putting people together simply based on compatibility goes against nature. There is also a potential slippery slope of pairing people based on a test. What is to stop the possibility of requiring a matching test before marriage? Or, in the most frightening of Orwellian worlds, to require people of a certain type to marry other people of a certain type?

Relationships are messy and difficult, but can be worth it for many people. Dating services are not necessarily bad, but one might look not necessarily for someone who is the same person with a few minor differences, but for someone who has just enough differences to keep it interesting.