ONE thing I have noticed about living in London is the large number of reality television shows that feature each night on the 50+ Freeview channels (more if you have Sky). Most recently I have been sucked into watching the variety of dating shows that have dominated the evening schedule such as Dates, Why Am I Still Single, First Dates and Mating Season. Like watching a car crash, I can’t tear my eyes away from the turmoil experienced by the participants as they fumble through first dates and are shut down in front of the nation.
My heart goes out to the elderly couple (one divorcee and one widower) who have just been set up on their first date, and I cringe at the crass lad who has been paired with the equally obtuse and somewhat orange blonde. After being drawn into the hype of the will-they-make-it-to-the-second-date drama, I have come to realise two things. The first was that hubby and I are lucky to have each other. The second was that the drama unfolding on TV was only half as good as the real thing going on right in our own living room.
With summer finally turning up late to the party, the warm (and drier) weather seems to have coaxed Londoner’s singletons out of hibernation. Over the last two months we have seen our housemates emerge, like beautiful butterflies — plucked, dyed, groomed and dressed to perfection in preparation for upcoming speed dating and first dates. The transformation has been amazing, but as a household we are slowly learning that the dating scene in London is grim.
There is a much higher proportion of single people living in London than anywhere else in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, only 47% of the 45.5 million England and Wales residents are married, a decrease from 51% in 2001, while around half the London population between 20 and 59 years are single.
There are many types of single women in and around London. They range from bra-burning feminism to the career-minded businesswoman to the heartbroken spinster who wants nothing more than to settle down into a life of snotty kids, unshaven legs and a paying off a massive mortgage. But with the chances of meeting a future spouse in the workplace or thumping nightclub quickly declining, how is a girl to meet their perfect match?
It seems to me that singletons of London are turning to ‘scientific’ internet matchmaking or time efficient speed dating for help. And why not?
The concept isn’t new. Personal ads have a history going back to the first matrimonial agencies of the 1700’s. According to match.com, 1 in 5 relationships now start online. There is even a television show about How to Find Love Online.
At first, internet dating was almost considered shameful or taboo, but internet dating has been a growing trend for a number of years. It is no surprise that internet dating is becoming the norm when we reply on the internet for everything else. Internet dating is just another form of social media that makes our increasingly virtual lives that little bit easier. Who doesn’t know a couple who started by winking at each other online?