Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 05, 2007
Internet chat rooms change dating rituals
Sites help Catholics find Catholic partners
Me and My Church
By KIM HALDANE
My granny often tells stories about going to church parties as a young person. Growing up in rural Edmonton (yes, that's right rural Edmonton), she and her six siblings would walk to the church hall on Saturday night and attend whatever function they were having.
The church functions were an opportunity to meet her friends and socialize. You knew everyone at the party or, if you didn't know someone, one of your friends or family would know them. These functions were a time to exchange stories, sing, play cards, dance, drink wine and have fun.
Some people also found their spouses there. In a lot of ways, I think that has some advantages. You'd know if your spouse came from a good family, you'd know that your spouse had the same beliefs. There would be less guesswork.
In a lot of ways, I think this is why Internet chat rooms have flourished. We no longer have these Saturday night functions, or if we do they tend to be attended by teenagers or seniors.
The alternative for people in their 20s and 30s not interested in spending Saturday night with teenagers or with Granny is going to clubs or pubs. But at the clubs, it is rare that you will know anyone or that anyone will know you. In a lot of ways, going to clubs is riskier than chat rooms because you know nothing about whomever you meet.
Chat rooms, however, allow you to surf for a partner, first by reading his or her profile. If you are interested, you send an email through the server. Then once he or she gets your message, he or she reads your profile and decides whether you would be a good match.
Dating doesn't start instantly. Usually, you send a few emails and then maybe add the person to your instant messenger. But it takes time. Eventually, you decide if this person is "datable."
Online, you may play games together, chat, exchange stories and have fun. Instead of relying on a friend or family member to tell you about this guy or gal, or risking meeting someone at a club, you have to do the sleuth work.
You often hear horror stories of men pretending to be ladies or people misrepresenting him or herself. But overall, the people you meet in these chat rooms are guys or girls looking to have a meaningful relationship.
Specialized chat rooms
Chat rooms have also specialized; a quick Internet search reveals that there are sites devoted to helping Catholics find Catholic partners. One site, www.catholicmatch.com, had 177 Albertan singles (aged 25 to 35) looking for relationships. The site boasts that many of its members have found their significant others and/or fiancé there.
These chat rooms and/or Internet sites are slowly changing the way young people date and begin relationships. Is there still any merit in your aunty trying to set you up on a nice date with this boy from her church or are young people, thanks to the Internet, better equipped to find the right partner?
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