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Because it’s 2017: Online dating the norm as Valentine’s Day approaches

CityNews | posted Monday, Feb 13th, 2017

Welcome to Valentine’s Day! (It’s a full week this year.)

We’re kicking off five days of love and sex, starting with Monday’s theme of online dating: who’s doing it, who isn’t, and how successful they’ve been.

We also want to hear your horror stories. What’s the worst online dating experience you’ve ever had? Tweet it to us using the hashtag #CitySex, and it could be featured in Monday night’s news.

On the big day, Tuesday, we’ll take a look at the secrets to love, from a couple who’s been together for decades, another couple who made it despite the odds, and a group of Grade 1 students. The six-year-olds, despite their lack of experience, were quick to offer adorable definitions of what love is.

On Wednesday, we’ll delve deep into the sheets and reveal exactly what Toronto is up to. Generation by generation, the results may be surprising. On Thursday, we’ll take a look at love after love. Whether they’re dating after divorce or death, we’ll speak to single mothers who are back on the dating scene, with a few significant changes.

Finally, on Friday, we’ll have an expert in studio who can answer your most pressing love questions, while online, a Toronto matchmaker reveals why she doesn’t use photos — and the best questions to ask a potential partner.

Enjoy, read on, and weigh in.

Dating is hard, said Kennedy, a 24-year-old woman, and being online makes it a little bit easier.

“I work for Google so I’m working a lot and I travel a lot. Online dating is the way to go,” she said.

Approaching someone in person can be intimidating, she said.

“It’s the age of technology!” she said, laughing.

“What happens if you approach someone at a grocery store? You say ‘hello’ and they look at you like ‘oh my gosh, someone’s talking to me, what do I do?’”

Behind a computer or a text, it’s easier to be yourself.

While Kennedy says she hasn’t met “the one” yet, she has made plenty of friends. That’s something Jacquie Brownridge, who runs an in-person matchmaking service, sees quite often.

Brownridge is the president of It’s Just Lunch Canada. She often sees clients who find that while they haven’t made a match, they have expanded their social network.

“We do match people based on certain attributes, and there’s a lot of great friendships that come out of this,” Brownridge confirmed.

Eva, meanwhile, was not looking for friends. She had plenty, and they were the ones who convinced her to try online dating. She met her boyfriend of two years on Tinder.

“We are long-distance. I travel every two months to Vancouver to see him,” the 28-year-old said.

She did not grow up online dating and there were two qualities that made her current boyfriend very attractive.

One thing that stood out, she said, is that he made the first move. Secondly, he didn’t say anything inappropriate.

The fear of saying something inappropriate, or pressuring a woman, is top-of-mind for 20-year-old Mayhar.

He says he was reluctant to start online dating, but was very happy with the results.

“Recently, I decided to explore the ocean. There’s fish everywhere!” he laughed.

His approach is direct, he said. After a brief message, he prefers to meet in person as soon as possible. That, he says, can go one of two ways. Either women like a direct approach, or they think he’s coming on strong.

“Just to say, ‘let’s go out’ can be a little awkward,” he said, acknowledging that some women feel he’s moving too quickly.

“That first message is either hit or miss. It’s so much pressure [for me],” Mayhar said.

Channa Bromley, a professional matchmaker at It’s Just Lunch, said that pressure kind of pressure is common for both men and women, no matter the age.

“The etiquette is so complicated! I had to tell my mom [who was looking at my profile] we don’t do that!”

“There’s a lot of intrigue, but there’s not a lot of follow-through. We see a lot of initial contact, perhaps a hook-up, and it never leads to full-blown relationship,” Bromley said.

And that’s not just for twenty-somethings, Bromley added: Everyone is online dating.

“The boomers are hooking up! I had a woman in her 70s telling me that men are looking for hanky-panky! And that’s the word she used.”

It’s not all candy and roses (we’ll leave that for Tuesday), but online dating is full of those who have found love, those who have found friendship, and those who are still looking.

Just as it was before Tinder came along and swept us (right) off our feet.



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