Online Dating Playgrounds

I’ve never used Tinder. I don’t have it in me to swipe through photographs as though I’m shopping for wallpaper on eBay. I have a friend who’s harnessed the site for what it was first intended: to find sex right now, at the bar on the corner, but only if she’s blonde and waxes religiously. That kind of dating has never been my thing, much as I wish it was.

I once spent three boring weeks on OkCupid before I forgot my password. By then, I’d realised that I needed my relationships to evolve organically. Shopping for romance among strangers made me feel as though I was turning love into a series of job interviews. In the real world, we meet as friends and evolve without pressure or expectations. Dating sites obliterate that. If we meet, it’s to find out if we’re compatible, and if we aren’t, bye, Felicia. It was good meeting you, but your relevance in my life has expired.

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There are thousands of people who feel comfortable with that, and I am not one of them. OkCupid also made finding kinky people well-nigh impossible. I had to find all kinds of obscure ways to display my BDSM interests and page through endless messages from men who were too vanilla to fuck.

Enter: Fetlife. Here, you and I fly our freak flags proudly. The site is Twitter-ish enough to obliterate online dating pressure, so I can connect with people on a platonic level before I consider more. It even comes with events so I can meet people in groups.

Fetlife is the perfect dating website because it’s not a dating website. I know I’m not supposed to use it as such because that makes the BDSM gods weep and gnash their teeth, but I do. No animals were harmed during the planning of my last date with the sexy, greying guy with the spectacles. That’s because I don’t step on the toes of people who are here for platonic connection.

I fit into the culture of the site, and I don’t assume others are reaching out for true love. The Common Dudebro of the Toddler Genus isn’t that sensitive. He ploughs through boundaries because he gives no fucks about anyone but himself. He is entitled to send leery messages, and that’s all you need to know about him.

Love is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There’s no sin in finding it on Fetlife–or at last week’s cooking class or the dog park. When women complain about this issue, it’s not because you were hoping for romance, but because you behaved like an asshole in the process.

Every website has its own culture. At Tinder, it’s quick and dirty. At OkCupid, it’s all business. On Fetlife, it’s mostly platonic. I don’t wreck Tinder hook-up culture in my hunt for platonic rope tops or share my bloodiest fantasies on OkCupid. In the same way, I hope you won’t bring your Tinder hook-up efforts or Chaturbate wank fests to my Fetlife inbox. Few things are sexier than respect, and few as ugly as entitlement.

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