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Internet dating is a known stalking patch for casual sex.But now it's mainstream, it's also forcing us to relearn a kind of dating most of us only know through American TV. Says Auckland singleton Janelle Wills: "It's this pressure that this is going to be a relationship. My female friends say, 'Well, you don't know what we put up with'.
She has clear rules of engagement, which, she argues, could provide a template for the new dating culture evolving from the online world.She even accidentally dated two brothers (the first still doesn't talk to her). A 28-year-old professional woman and hardened dater recalls a tricky pile-up: "Once I was dating three guys - and they all turned up at the house at the same time. I think women are secretly enjoying the single life.Thirty-eight out of the first 42 men she met asked her for sex on first meeting. One kicked down the door; one started crying and left. We've become good at knowing what we want and providing for it. Dating is difficult for women, but it's harder for men." Women want the impossible, goes the male complaint: they claim to want the metrosexual, enlightened nice guy but really want the brutishly confident, butt-grabbing rugby forward.Everything you say or do means so much more and that's really scary so you've got to drink to lessen that fear." The more common scenario for the teenage to 30s age group goes something like: get drunk to still the nerves, fall into bed on the first or second night, wake up and start figuring out whether you're lying next to a one-night-stand, a fling, a new friend-plus-extra, a potential life-partner or something we don't yet have a word for."It's like emotional Russian roulette," says Wills, a 35-year-old artist and conservator.