And the simple nuances of online dating
I was doing the Daily Google, when I came across a most amusing advertisement on Craigslist, from a 22 year old in Utah, that goes:
“I know this crazy, but I am looking for my Mr. Darcy… yes, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice! I am looking for someone educated, who loves to read, is interested in politics and social justice, is loyal, caring, and a real gentleman. I want to be with someone who is a Christian and strong in his faith. I am looking for a long term relationship. I don’t have any height or looks requirements, I just want you to be taller than I am! If you think you could be my Mr. Darcy, email me back with a pic and we’ll get to know each other!”
Before I can no longer resist the temptation to pull this person to shreds about their assumptions regarding Mr. Darcy, and give in to the irritation I feel upon read this (you can’t say no height or look requirements, and then ask for a photo and for them to be taller than your unspecified own height), I just have to say to whomever this is- ‘Aren’t we all, sweetheart!’ The fact is, there are plenty of women looking for Mr. Darcy (A term often used as interchangeable with ‘Mr. Right’) but there are less of them that are an embodiment of Lizzy, and even less of them that are willing to realise that even Darcy seemed like a prat at the beginning. But that is, of course, entirely my opinion.
Women’s profiles seem almost desperate. If anything, they are like Mrs. Bennet- constantly advertising their want for a husband. One Lost In Austen fan said: “Looking for Mr Darcy – “for every heartbeat I will not forget”. And then there are people who even NAME themselves (yes, that’s right) something along the lines of “Mr. Darcy where are you?” but without spaces and some bizarre form of text speak. When I did this search, all I typed in was ‘Male’ seeking ‘Female’ anywhere in Australia with the keywords ‘Mr. Darcy’ and I immediately got about 60 results. SIXTY. Look, if I was going to make one of these profiles, I would most likely put in something about Pride and Prejudice, (and for those of us who are statistically inclined- that’s what 478 other females did in their profiles according to the search) because it is my favourite book and important to me, but this is a bit much. Perhaps they should have read one of the billions of repetitive how-tos for online dating or they could just follow my instructions further on in this post.
Mr. Darcy. Yes. The rich, marriage-appropriate, mansion-living, accomplished gentleman who manages to profess ardent love eloquently. When viewing this list, I hope you can well imagine that seeing a profile calling for a Mr. Darcy could be a bit daunting for any guy I would have thought, particularly when all he has to prove himself is a 200 word bio and three photographs. It’s a little bit cruel! A lot of the profiles from women are even completely clueless about Darcy and Pride and Prejudice, even admitting they haven’t read it (but loved the movie), while spelling the characters’ names wrong.
What’s even worse is that guys seem to have caught onto this search for Darcy. And, after having a look on RSVP (Australia’s largest dating site) and being incredibly scarred in the process I came across many men using phrases like “Could i be your Mr Darcy? Did that catch your attention?” (poor grammar included). Or even the Queenslander who, wearing a suit as his profile picture, declared “Consider myself as a Mr Darcy type of chap, without the mutton chops! : )” Or, even, the Sydneysider who asked “If the character most women would like to date is apparently Mr Darcy, why don’t I understand why?” well, Sydney-resident, maybe because even a fictional Mr. Darcy can actually string a sentence together that makes sense.
Is it fair to expect a man to fulfil your Darcy expectations? Particularly if you resort to online dating- “In vain I have suffered…” just doesn’t have the same impact when it has been typed. Similarly, being snubbed online isn’t quite as harsh as it is in a public ballroom. If Lizzy herself was dating online, I doubt she would have said “seeking rich man/comfortable home/potentially fictional.”
In order to give myself some authority on this topic, I thought I would do the initial set up stages for a bogus online dating account (on RSVP) to see how it would work in terms of Pride and Prejudice. On RSVP the first setback was the fact that the names LizzyBennet and ElizabethBennet were taken. I then found out that you need to give yourself a headline. I considered it for a moment, and then decided “I dearly love to laugh” would have to be it for the 159 characters. It then asks for ‘body type’, and I assumed athletic or slim for Lizzy, and then whether you smoke or not, which is obviously a no. I would assume that smoking for Lizzy isn’t an important thing in a man, I can’t imagine it would have been of bother to her.
Then it gives you a whopping 1799 characters to talk about yourself (far more than most profiles), sections to discuss what music, books, sport etc you like and what is ideal in a partner, so I put all this into one and all I could come up with was:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that girls are silly enough to want husbands. Unfortunately, it is less universally acknowledged that the girls who are not silly, and in fact are even told they have wit, may not wish to marry because it is convenient. And will certainly not marry a man who cannot make them happy. In fact, it would be a happier situation to not marry at all than to be wed to someone who constantly over flatters and is indelicate, ungentlemanly or proud in any circumstance. If I was to sum it up, it would be this. I need no man, but if I were to want one, he would be a keen dancer, like myself, an even keener walker and most certainly down-to-earth and genuine. Whether this comes with riches in tow, or not, is of little consequence to myself (although of rather larger importance to my mother, I would imagine, particularly as it was she who forced all of my sisters and I to begin creating these profiles for virtual courtship). I am not my family, and dislike being associated with the ridiculous things they do, however my older sister Jane, who is everything lovely incarnate, and I are very close and I dare say that anyone who hurts them does a severe injustice to all of us. I enjoy long walks through the meadows, alone, and I often read- which is called solitary by some, but is, in truth, rather a peaceful sort of escapism. ETC”
I can’t imagine Lizzy would get many hits online, to tell the truth.
What do you think? Has online dating (and people wanting the perfect Mr. Darcy at the click of a button) gone too far? Is getting a ‘Mr. Darcy’ even possible? Is the answer for finding Mr. Darcy online? Do you have any online dating experiences? I’d love to know.