There's a clever expression in Hebrew. When you see a woman smoking and drinking you say to her... "if you're not careful, you'll start going out with men..."
I love it... the implication that nicotine, alcohol and testosterone are equally addicting and detrimental and that one naturally leads to the next.
I would compare this whole internet dating scene to smoking. And I say that with fondness for both cigarettes and men, as an ex-chain smoker and a serial dater.
For the most part, all the internet sites have the same men, just like all the kiosks have the same cigarettes. But wait! Another shop just opened up and they have different brands. And the packaging!!! SOOOO much better than my regular brand.
One, two, three cigarettes. New packaging. Same old taste. By the time we (i.e. I) are on our 4th and 5th cigarette we gag and get nauseated. Yet we keep coming back for more.
In time, we may have stopped smoking, but addiction to internet dating sites has replaced the habit, with its own set of gestures and insatiable urges.
Rather than reach for cigarettes we wake up in the morning and reach for the laptop. We have to have a look at the sites with our first cup of coffee.
And we take a break at work and sneak a look. And we look again when we get home, and again when relaxing in the evening.
The routine is always the same. Open up the same sites, look at the same faces, reject the same idiots, be rejected by the same men of our dreams. Face the same sensory onslaught until it becomes more than we can handle. How many rejections? How many disappointments?
We swear we will not do this for a while; just like the myriad times we stopped smoking.
But even if internet sites won't give us cancer, it doesn't mean it isn't too much. There's too much input. Too much expectation. Too many options. Too much quantity over quality. We become no better than our children whom we kept away from the video games. We may even be worse as passiveness overtakes us. We sit with all sites open, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for our lives to change.
Yet, at least from internet dating sites, there is a glimmer of hope, an off chance that something may come of it at the end. So if I have to have a "bad" habit, let it be this one.
At least it doesn't smell up the house.