As I’m sure you’ve noticed in my writing on The Frisky, I’m guilty of speaking in what I call “Gossip Girl”-ese. Example: It’s totes obvs that I like to shorten words for no real amazeballs reason. But whatevs. I have no doubt that this is seriously grating to some people, but on the blog — which I consider my online home — and amongst friends, this is the way I speak and how I write in emails and text messages sometimes. Amongst friends, I specified. When I’m getting to know someone new or conversing with someone professionally, I, of course, leave the “whatevs” and the “WTFs” and the “totes” out of it. I wish others would do the same, but unfortunately, I’ve started to notice modern web, text, and pop-culture lingo infiltrating the online dating process.For example, I recently started messaging back and forth with a nice-seeming, attractive, interesting dude on an online dating site I use. I’ve started to look forward to his next message and think we’ll probably grab a drink next week. However, there is one thing about him rubbing me the wrong way — he peppers his messages with “lol.” A lot. Now, I have been known to, for example, write “ROTFL” to Susannah when she IMs me something hilarious. I’m also a big fan of “WTF?” But during the initial getting-to-know someone dance, web and text speak just seems so lazy and juvenile to me. Are you really “laughing out loud”? I want to know what someone’s laugh sounds like in person before reading it on my computer screen. Seriously, unless we are actually discussing LOLCats, I would prefer to not see an “LOL” or any variation of it in a message from a possible suitor.
I was discussing this with a friend last night, and she said that online dating, in general, has killed a lot of the polite behavior we previously expected of the courting process. Many online dates result in a split check; that’s fine, but let’s face it, dudes paying for dates (at least the first one!) used to be a given. There’s no formal calling and asking anyone out; it’s “So, should we finally meet in person or something?” with all the details worked out via email. And if you go out a few times and then he suddenly loses interest, well, you figure that out yourself once he stops responding to emails. There isn’t a conversation where one person says to the other, “You’re great, but I think I’m just getting a friend vibe.” Instead it’s day after day of “You Have No New Messages.” The person you thought you were clicking with just vanishes — and it’s not even like you necessarily have their phone number to call to make sure they’re not dead!
A few “LOLs” is minor, of course, and not at all a dealbreaker, but it is representative of the revolving door meaninglessness of many of the relationships — short and long — formed from online dating. I mean, more and more extreme versions of “LOL” have been “invented” as the original came to mean, um, nothing. When someone writes “LOL” to something I’ve written/said, I feel like my joke failed. ROTFL? Now we’re talking. ROTFLMAO? I am the next Sarah Silverman! Honestly, LOL doesn’t even really indicate a hearty laugh to me anymore — it doesn’t feel genuine. Similarly, you can feel like you’re vibing with someone you met online, and then suddenly they’ve dropped off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. Were those vibes ever genuine to begin with?
“LOL!” Did you really just laugh out loud at the joke I made? Are you actually interested in getting to know me better or will you forget about our tentative drinks plan in favor of the girl who wrote “ROTFLMAO!” in response to one of the funnies you cracked? This is why I wish people left the web, text, pop culture speak out of dating until we’ve gotten to know each other better. I want to know I actually can make you laugh out loud in person first and trust that when you type it — along with everything else you might say — you mean it.