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I’m a big believer in efficiency when it comes to dating. Y’see, online dating can seem for folks, especially people who have a touch of approach anxiety or hate the bar and club scene but don’t necessarily want to try hitting up strangers at Barnes and Noble.
In practice, however, we have these tendencies to expend a lot of our time and energy on aspects of dating which prone to wasting your time with online dating than you are trying to meet women by making a cold approach at a bar or making small-talk with the cute librarian you ran into at Starbucks.
Why do all of that when you can meet women without leaving your house?
Almost every online dating site out there has some form of a low-stakes “hey, so and so wants you to talk to them” notification – often given a cutsey name like “wink” or “flirt” or “send a flower” to make it seem more acceptable. Most dating sites let you set up a profile for free but require that you pay money in order to be able to message people.
Some, back in the early days of online dating (lo those dark days of the late 90s and early 00s), were evil and would sell a limited number of messages; if you sent out a message and didn’t hear back, well, tough shit Charlie, you just blew a buck (or whatever the per-unit cost was). were intended as a way of trying to get someone to message so that you could chat without wasting your hard-earned money.
Needless to say, it was kind of an insult even back then; nothing screams romance more than “I’m interested in you but not enough to actually to join the site.” Fortunately most sites seem to have wised up and charge a subscription fee instead, but the vestigal organ that is the “wink” hangs in there like an appendix and does nothing but cause trouble.
Here’s the thing: everybody knows exactly what it means when a guy sends one of these.
It’s a way of saying “I know you’re probably not going to write back to me, so please notice me noticing you and do the hard work for me…” If you’re interested in them, send an email already!