Jack Tame: Seduced by web of love for sex in city

Carrie and her fictional friends beat everyone with their dating success. Photo / Supplied
Carrie and her fictional friends beat everyone with their dating success. Photo / Supplied

As a new resident of New York City, I'm still about as far from Carrie Bradshaw or the Sex and the City girls as it's possible for someone to be.

For one, last I checked, I'm a man. I only own half a dozen pairs of shoes and one measly pottle of foundation (strictly for work purposes, of course). And perhaps most noticeably, I'm pleased to report that after a month in America I've thus far staved off that look of rigor mortis on certain sections of Sarah Jessica Parker's face.

Still, there is one domain in which Carrie and the girls most definitely show me up. It's alluded to, rather unsubtly, in the title of their show. And while it's hardly surprising fictional characters should top me with their success in dating and relationships (given most non-fictional people do as well), in a city of eight million people I haven't many romantic prospects.

"Soup for one and the City" wouldn't have had quite the same ring. Carrie Bradshaw didn't win over her readers with "hanging out at home by myself, eating burritos and watching ESPN and the City" either.

But that's about what I was doing when I first saw an ad for the internet dating site Christian Mingle.

"Find God's match for you," said Christian Mingle in a warm, soppy voice.

Really? I thought. That's a bit full-on.

I asked a particularly gruff colleague about it, expecting him to lambast the concept and crack up laughing.

"I met my girlfriend online," he said, completely unashamed. "Everyone does. And she was the only one who looked like her picture."

In New Zealand, he might have been embarrassed to admit it. In America five years ago he might have felt the same. But alas, no longer. In the US at least, internet dating has kicked its stigma, and boy, is it popular. Figures released last month by the University of Rochester suggest the web is now the second most common way single Americans find partners. One of the most popular matchmaking sites claims it is responsible for 5 per cent of all new marriages in America.

"When you think about it, it makes sense," said my colleague.

"This is a transient world. It's hard to meet new people. Besides, really it's no different from hanging out in a bar. You're still shopping for love."

He's right, of course. The internet has effectively become a giant market, a convenience store, a Bunnings Warehouse of love. And what it might lack in traditional notions of romance, it more than makes up with its ease of use and practicality. internet dating in the modern age makes sense.

And Christian Mingle isn't the only dating site to cash in on America's diversity. African American Passions, J-Date (for single Jewish people), SingleMuslim.com, Pink Cupid, Jehovahs Connect - every definable American social group can refine its dating search to match.

If you just happen to be a 55-year-old single Jewish African American lesbian with a Jehovah's Witness streak and Muslim leanings, America's the place to be and online's the place to go. You're surprisingly spoiled for choice.

Personally, though, for the time being at least, I think I'll just sit tight. Bide my time. It's only been a month; things will turn up. ESPN needs watching, burritos need eating. And besides, what would Carrie say?

- Herald on Sunday

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