Mobile phone dating - Love may be just a text message away

Mobile phone dating has been catching on, over the last few years. Hundreds of millions of users own mobile phones worldwide. Many matchmaking services have started their own mobile phone dating services. Getting a date is as easy as ordering a burger from McDonalds with eligible singles on demand. The anonymity of mobile dating is advantageous to many who seek to protect their privacy, atleast until they get to know someone a little better. All messages go through the provider and the dating service which means your phone number also stays hidden with mobile phone dating.

Most mobile phone dating services aren't free, however. There's generally a monthly fee of $9.99 and a few cents each time you send a message. Some offer free trial offers. Some others offer a few dozen free messages, every month.

Typically most singles who find someone they find interesting, chat for a few weeks and then decide to give out their phone numbers and meet the person they're chatting with. Many singles chat with multiple people, taking their time to decide who to meet and who not to. This applies to both sexes. Says Alan, a 19-year-old from Queens, New York who found love through his cell phone, "I'm generally shy with girls and find it hard to go ahead and chat them up. Mobile phone dating dating has been very useful. I signed up for a dating offer and exchanged messages with eleven girls, eventually met three of them and am not dating Sue, who I met through this service."

It's not only the shy but also the busy professionals who've taken to SMS dating. Professionals who don't have time to sit in front of their laptops with glazed eyes, searching through profiles on dating sites find it convenient to chat, sending text messages via their cell phones, on the move or when taking the subway back home or when out for coffee.

The anonymity is a big plus. You don't need to be conscious when you're giving someone the brush away. He or she doesn't know your number or your real identity. On the other side of the table, the fear of rejection is no longer there because the real identity of the person who gets rejected isn't known to the one who walked away.

It's different with video phones though. Many users provide a brief video of themselves as part of their dating profile. This usually gets a much better response. Some users preferring to remain anonymous, avoid placing pictures of videos. Some are just too lazy to place their videos online. So the users who do include a picture or video clip, have an edge over the less enthusiastic ones as the response to profiles with snaps and videos us much better.

Patricia, an 18-year-old from PA who was never really short of guys chasing her, thought of trying out mobile phone dating, just for a lark. "I signed up and started getting chat messages almost immediately. This guy sent me some really cute poetry..and I was floored. He shares my zodiac sign. We've already been talking on the phone. He lives a day's drive away and I hope to meet him this weekend. He's a computer geek and I know I may never have run into him otherwise. He's really sweet and even if this goes nowhere, I'll be glad I met him. It's a welcome break from the usual dating sites where one gets a lot of winks/nudges or finds too many fake profiles."

Virginia, a psychologist from CA feels that people are generally more honest when texting or using email."It's easier for people to talk about themselves honestly to a stranger whom they perceive to be non-judgemental, rather than someone they know well."

Of course, much like internet dating, it does happen that the person you eventually meet doesn't resemble the person in the picture, thanks to air-brushing in photoshop or other graphic design tools.Video dating diminishes the possibility of this happening. It's much tougher to enhance a video and isn't within reach of an amateur. Someone you see in a video on a dating profile, assuming it's recent, is more likely to be close to your image.

SMS dating has been gaining popularity and acceptance worldwide in USA, UK, Africa, UAE and most of Asia. Japan has especially caught on to it in a big way. A report from Juniper Research estimated that over 250 million people will be using mobile dating and chatroom services by 2012. The increasing number of 3G cellphone handsets is expected to increase mobile dating exponentionally. Japan and India are seen as huge mobile dating markets. India is adding millions of cell phone users every year.

Serial-mobile-phone dating has emerged as a new phenomenon. With dates available so easily, some people refuse to work on taking any relationship ahead. At the first sign of incompatibility or a minor tiff, they would rather drop their date like a hot potato and start searching for partners again. The serial-dating syndrome seems to be moving from the internet to mobile phones. The more things change, the more they remain the same.