I recently invited a straight male friend to a party I am throwing for myself (I know, friends just aren’t the same as they used to be) . He replied that he couldn’t make it to the party due to the fact he was currently online dating, the hours were bad and apologised for his absence.

Well, I was truly shocked. Statsitics show, though that millions of people seek out meaningful relationships online.

My house mate recently found herself a lady in virtual reality. She says she is in love. She says they have even had cyber sex but they have never met in the physical reality. I was confused. She is confusing, but that’s a whole other story.

They say their 5’5”, slim build and above average in looks. They send you a pic. She looks gorgeous. Your smitten. You ask her what her tastes are in reading, music, movies and your satisfied that she is your type. You obviously have loads to talk about, having spent hours online chatting or whatever else it is you can do online and for all intents and purposes your dating. In cyber space. How do you know what you’re really getting? (a psycho in my housemate’s case, but that too, is another story).

And so, like prefecy synchronicity, it just so happened that the other day I accidently started chatting with a stranger. ‘Accidently in the sense I thought the person was someone I knew. It was, instead, a case of mistaken identity,, to say the least. And well after the initial embarrassment, we got to talking. I admit, I was interested. I wondered how far I could actually go with this random cyborg stranger. But I made a big mistake. I made a whole heap of assumptions about this person, for whatever reasons, and I made the biggest mistake you could possibly make and after, perhaps a week of on and off chatting, I discovered that the person who I thought was a she is actually a he.

How the hell was I supposed to know? Was in the name? Was it in the tone? The picture profile? Was it the kind of conversation we were having? He just seemed so much like a she and a gay she at that (well make sense now as he is a HE). His tastes, his approach and over all response to me appeared suspiciously like… a lesbian! Had I stereotyped? Perhaps just wanted to believe I was talking to a girl (lesbians live in a world where everyone is a lesbian)? Been maliciously misled perhaps? He claims he didn’t know I thought he was a girl. Why would he?He was equally shocked, but not offended. He asked me if I was repulsed now by his sex. I said, of course not. But obviously he was no longer invited to the Friday night drinking sessions at the Boathouse.

It was like living in a Jeanette Winterson novel – be who you want to be, anonymous and sexually undefined, liberating yourself from the social constraints of gender and sexuality, creating new identities for yourself free from other people’s perceptions, baggage, ideologies and judgements. I guess that’s what you call a dating utopia.

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