Internet dating SHOULD be done in your PJs or underwear!

OK, the title isn’t relevant to me obviously as I have The Man at home, and am quite happy with him.  I am referring to an article in The Telegraph last week which read:

Many businesses are suffering due to the snow, but here is one that is thriving – Mysinglefriend.com, the online dating agency founded by TV presenter Sarah Beeny.

According to the company, the first Sunday of 2010 saw a 140pc increase in people signing up to its service, compared to the previous weekend. By last Sunday this figure had increased to 290pc. Beeny says that January is always the busiest month for the site but describes the current surge as “unprecedented”.

“Who knew the snow could ignite our passion for love? Perhaps it’s the thought of snuggling up to someone you fancy,” she says.

Traffic to Mysinglefriend increased by 55pc last week, with browsing time peaking at 3pm rather than the traditional post-pub 10pm. This means one of two things – that more single people than usual were off work last week because of the weather, or that people have started to log-on to the site at work. I suspect the former.

Further, Beeny said that sign-ups last week built steadily over the course of the week, a reversal of the normal trend whereby sign-ups tail off on Fridays and Saturdays as people head out the for night.

Although pubs are no doubt suffering because of the cold snap, Mysinglefriend.com is clearly making hay while the snow falls.

Now, in my time I became pretty internet dating savvy – at least I’d like to think that I did!  It’s something that I did from the mid-late 90s, and how I met The Man and also The Girl’s dad.  Of course, there were a whole host of other guys that I met with varying degrees of  ‘success’ – but I have always prided myself on never being surprised by someone being different in person to exactly how I thought they would be.  Of course, that doesn’t just go for the dating side of things, I’ve made quite a lot of friends from the internet over the last 15 years or so too – and the only freaks I’ve found are ones that I have met in a group situation that I would never have met one-to-one.

So, if I was single, would the snow be more likely to make me join another dating site – hell yes!  If you’re stuck indoors, you’re going to try out new things, and that might just be trying out a new dating site compared to ones that you’ve been using in the past, or just trying internet dating for the first time!  Also, the fact that last weekend (not the one just gone) was the first full weekend that was likely to be more sober after the New Year would probably have soemthing to do with it, I reckon.

In a survey conducted by CitySocialising at the turn of the year, found that 22% of people making New Year’s resolution listed ‘Find true love’ as one, making it the 5th most popular resolution choice – rising to 4th in Londoners.  I suppose it would be higher for Londoners as it’s very much a young city with more single people than the rest of the country I guess.

So, not surprising that the first full weekend, more people would be turning to dating sites is it?

I’m glad that the stigma attached to internet dating finally seems to have abated really – when I was first doing it, people were still really shocked that I met ‘normal’ people – but I always stood by my idea that the people meeting freaks on the internet were the people who met freaks in pubs, clubs or anywhere else – they were just crap at filtering out the nobs and weirdos.

In 2000, I was contacted by a journalist and featured in an article about internet dating in Ms London (remember that free mag Londoners?) and I even wrote a weekly column for a women’s magazine website called Chocolate back in the same year about internet dating.

Ahhh, the good old days.  I do miss the thrill of it all.  It was a really exciting time, and reinforced the fact that I love meeting people (even though new groups give me the jitters as I mentioned before, I still put myself through it), and I am very very very happy being single.

Of course, I stupidly ended up meeting someone on uDate who I knew within 3 seconds of meeting that it was going to be for good, and I had to deal with the sinking feeling of knowing that my dating days were going to be over, just buoyed a bit by knowing I was going to have a bit of stability.  and yes, for the unbelievers out there (of which I am one), yes.  It really really was that instant.

And that was 6 years ago.  I guess that I am officially ‘out of the loop’ when it comes to current dating knowledge!  Am I allowed to wish that I was still ‘on the scene’, or does that just sound bad?

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