How we’ve become a nation of lazy daters

Let's face it. New Zealanders never put much energy into looking for love to begin with.

This is a lazy age. We’ve gone from hunter-gatherer, to boil in a bag, to drive-thru, to ‘drive it straight to my house because I can’t be bothered getting off the couch’. Someone else squeezes our fruit for ripeness, bags it up and brings it over; we’re too lazy to go out for a movie: we Netflix in bed eating Rice Bubbles without milk (too lazy to walk to the fridge) instead.

We’re lazy when we write – the height of romance these days is cut-and-pasting someone else’s poetry. There’s no such thing as plagiarism any more, just clever borrowing.

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines…” Never mind that Fitzgerald never actually said this, no one under 30 has heard of him.

Evolution is to blame for this slothful attitude of life-hacking ease. In the absence of things with sharp teeth chasing us, our hardwired drive for comfort has created an environment that allows us to do so little, doing anything feels like an effort. Peel me a grape, would you?

New Zealanders never put much energy into looking for love to begin with (this is a country which used to find love at the pub, after all) and now that we know what dating is, we’re lazy daters.

Well, not me, but only by accident, after I set the Tinder distance-o-meter to 100km and ended up meeting an Oamaruvian. It’s hardly bone idleness to make a three-hour return trip to see the Nookie Monster. Two years later, there’s still no room to relax, as the younger man has some kind of mountain-related ADHD. “Let’s stay home and read the paper,” I say. Two hours later I’m up the top of Ohau skifield wearing snowshoes Sir Ed would struggle to see as stylish and wondering how I’m going to get down.

But you don’t have to put such an effort in. I once knew a man who dated his next-door neighbour because it was convenient: he just had to knock on the wall that divided their flats to signal his intentions. He’d be an internet dater now, knocking on his keyboard.

For those aiming to find love IRL, making it impossible for that overweight World of Warcraft devotee to pretend to be an animal-loving part-time model, the pool of human, datable men possessing their own teeth and hair is shallow. So it’s only natural to want to dip into the easiest pool of them all, which is, of course, the people you already know.

The TV show Friends, whose characters all went out with or at least slept with each other, could be a documentary about my friendship circle. To wit: Mr B is now dating Blondie, and when last I looked he was living with the wee brunette who used to go out with Mr Lawyer, who’s now married to Sally… hang on, I’m going to get some thumbtacks and coloured string so we can make a wall chart.

Relationships (block your ears children and the recently married) today are short-lived. Few are prepared to wait for death to part them. People you’ve known for 20 years, who like the same things as you – no need to take up challenging new hobbies involving snowshoes – who’ve already been vetted by your inner circle, do make plausible potential mates.

And lazy dating is very green, of course – recycle and reuse and all that – but I worry about the pillow talk: secrets of the powder room are bound to get blurted when a chap gets with sister subsets of a superset. Not to mention it’s a form of double dipping, and I think that might be illegal.

Ah well, all’s fair in love and the war on loneliness, and it’s only because I left town that I ended up dating someone who I hadn’t sat opposite at a dinner party.

If there’s a take-home lesson here it’s that the super loud chewer opposite at your next dinner party might just be your best friend’s future husband. You could get all het up about it, but eghh. Save your energy for spooning Rice Bubbles. Those wee suckers bounce all over the place when they’re not wet.

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