Wednesday, November 02, 2011

It All Started With That Dagnabit Telegraph Machine

As usual when I nitpick about something on Dr. Laura's radio show, I'll state that I love her show and books and agree with almost everything the says. She's made my life better and that of so many others.

On to the nitpick.

Dr. Laura's made no secret to her listeners of her concerns about technology. She had made comments about grown, married men being on Facebook ("even though" she tells her listeners to comment on Facebook). She recently noted what our technology is doing to our personal relationships and culture, and I think some (not all) of her concerns are like being concerned that the invention of the spear was cutting down on fathers showing their sons how to hunt without a spear.

On this past Friday’s show, she talked about "online dating". I don't think people really date online, though. They may communicate, they may have exhibition/masturbation sessions, but the issue that was really being addressed was finding a date online.

She tends to put research into her commentaries, and this was no exception. She said "1 out of 10 sex offenders uses online dating." My initial reaction to that stat: Is that all?!? I would think most sex offenders, like 7 or 8 out of 10, would use online dating, the rest either being too old to "get" technology or not wanting to violate probation.

This also brings up the question I always have with the phrase "sex offender". Are we talking about a 35-year-old man, now a model citizen, who, when he was 18, was prosecuted for having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend? That's a far cry from someone who rapes a stranger or molests his relatives. It's like saying "sexual harassment". There's a difference between complimenting a woman on her new hairstyle and telling her you're going to fire her unless she does you.

I'm confident more than 1 in 10 sex offenders walks the aisles of supermarkets, so if someone asks you for your number or e-mail address when they meet you in a supermarket, look out!

Then Dr. Laura, based on that stat, made a common statistical error by saying it means that "one out of ten guys you find online is a sex offender". Nope! At least, not based on the stat she cited. That one in ten sex offenders uses online dating sites does NOT mean that one in ten guys on those sites is a sex offender. I won't bore you explaining that, but if you don't see what I mean, just trust me. Or ask someone who understands statistics.

She went on to say that online dating industry is bigger than the porn industry (which is good, because we all know that porn can lead to terrible things, like... dancing).

She cited a stat that said one of three women who meet men online, have sex on the first encounter. I do not think that has anything to do with online dating. The use of websites in general, and online dating in particular, are so common now that it is safe to say that these women would be doing this no matter how they met guys. Dr. Laura's comment reflected her overall attitude towards fornication: "Men are making out like bandits." That, as I've said before, implies that women don't enjoy fornication or get anything out of the dates. Yes, women tend to enjoy married lovemaking more (as do men), but many of them are getting orgasms, attention, ego boosts, free meals, or other things they want that they would not be getting if they weren't fornicating.

Anyway, the tips Dr. Laura went on to give about online dating, such as meeting in a neutral location, were very good. Even the best matchmaking services are simply ways of meeting people, and may be a way to keep in touch while dating. Nobody should assume that what someone has said about themselves is true or that the personality that comes across through the online communication is a thorough representation of the person. It takes spending time in person together in different circumstances to get to know that other person and see if they are what you need in a girlfriend/boyfriend, partner, or spouse.

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