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SOSC 6

Online Dating as a Modern Matchmaker for Relationships

Porter, Catherine Anne I. Modequillo, Meg S. BS ChE 4

Submitted to: Ms. Maria Victoria G. Chavez August 12, 2011

Interviewees Profile Name: Linda Age: Gender: Female Civil Status: Single (with children) Occupation: factory worker

Place of Interview: outside interviewees house Date of Interview: August 10, 2011 Time of Interview: 9:45 pm Duration: 42 minutes

FIRST TRANSCRIPT Why do you engage in online dating? -I am looking for foreigners, hoping they would marry me and help me financially and my children. How long have you been doing this? -I started 2 years ago What social networking sites do you usually visit? -dateinAsia.com, pinalove.com, christiandatingforfree.com and sometimes on facebook. You mentioned you have children, are you married? -No, we lived together for 5 years with a guy named Ronel but the relationship didnt work. Before our relationship started to get complicated, we wanted to get married but financial problems made it impossible. Now Im just glad the marriage didnt happen knowing our relationship just ended up badly. I wont have any problem if an American (they refer to all foreigners as American or Amerikano) would marry me. No troubles on annulment processes. We have 2 kids though and theyre with me. I heard hes living with someone else now, I dont know. How did you learn about social networking? -I have a friend who was doing the same thing as what I do now. She even taught me how to use the computer. I used to know nothing about computers. I was enticed from the amount she earned. She was able to buy things that a minimum wage earner cannot afford. She is married now with a Canadian citizen. They own a big house in Cordova. How much time do you spend on social networking site?

-At least 2 hours, I guess. It depends if I have enough money to pay for hours in the internet caf. I dont have my own computer at home, I only access internet from Eyens. (neighbor who owns an internet caf) How much would it usually cost in a day at the internet caf? -I always allot at least 30 pesos every day. Thats already good for 3 hours internet access. Sometimes it can go up 60 pesos, if I win in tong its. Why are you so interested in this kind of activity? -Just so youll know dai, its easy to get money from these people, because they are rich. I am a single parent and I am sending my two kids at school. I dont earn enough as a factory worker, we are paid in minimum wage, and Im not even a regular employee. I can lose my job anytime. I have already friends who got lucky and found someone from the internet. They stopped working now. Who would want to when their partners are capable of giving them comfortable lives without working? Im hoping Im next to get fortunate. Why not a Filipino husband instead? -The Philippines is a poor country, so Filipinos are poor too. Amerikanos have lots of money. I already experienced relationships with Filipino guys which I took seriously especially with the father of my kids, but just hurt me in the end. I learned my lesson. The next relationship I want to have is something I and my children can benefit from. So, how do you meet people online? How does it start? -Actually, I use social networking sites to find people. I send greetings to random people, if someones interested, I add them to my yahoo and we chat privately there with our web cameras on. What kind of people do you usually meet online? -They vary a lot. Some are rude. Some are perverts. They would ask you to show them your private parts before theyll send you money. Some are kind and sweet. Others talk a lot about themselves, thats when it really gets boring. I dont like long conversations. I usually run out of English *Laughs* Do you have preferences to what kind of person you want to converse and eventually have relationship with? -I dont like Indians and Arabos (Arabs). They dont give money, just a waste of time. Most of them are not as wealthy as people from London, America, etc. I dont really care about how they look, as long as they can send me money. I have no problem with that. How about age range, any specification? -I prefer people who are at least 20 years older than I am. Old people are gullible. Its easy to ask money from them. They want someone to take good care of them because they are old, so they are the ones who are more interested on getting married.

How much do you usually earn? -The biggest amount I received was 10,000 pesos To the person who gave you that amount, are you still in contact with him? Are you planning to get married? -I dont know where fate puts that person now. We were chatting for a while. He sent me money because I was asking for his sympathy. I told him the financial problems I have. It was actually just a play of words. He must have felt pity on me and at last decided to send me money. He kept on sending at least once a week, around 5,000-10,000 pesos. Things in my life were starting to get better that time from the money he sends me. I thought he was my luck, the one who would marry me. But after two months, we suddenly lost contact with each other. For the reason I do not know, he deleted me on his contacts and I cant send him message anymore. Things ended up so quick that it was almost impossible. I dont have a stable relationship now. People come and go. But I am not giving up, thats why I am still searching for people online. So you never had a successful relationship yet? - I almost had one, besides the one I just mentioned to you. I once had a foreigner boyfriend who really came to meet me herein Philippines. Hes from London, 67 years old. He was divorced so I was hoping our relationship would work. But there was one problem; I didnt tell him that I have kids while we were still chatting. I was delaying it, hoping he would understand if I wait for him to come to Philippines and tell him personally. When I finally told him, he was not angry, but he decided not to proceed to marrying me. He cant accept my children. So that ended our relationship almost 6 months ago. So do your children know about all these? Or do they have any idea that you are searching for a new father for them? -Yes. But theyre just children and they dont really know whats happening. It is just that I dont hide these things from them. It is funny because every time I get home from the internet caf, they ask me Naa nata money mama? or kita naka amerikano mama? Did it ever come to you that these actions may cost you your pride and dignity? I mean, there are other jobs that doesnt really involve on asking help or taking advantage from other people. -My highest educational attainment is high school education. It is not easy to find job that could give me enough money these days. If I marry someone wealthy, I dont even have to work hard to earn. Others judge me about what I do. Dignity and pride cant bring food to our table. These cant feed my children and send them to good schools. I am doing this for them. I dont care about what people say, I dont get money from them.

Interviewees Profile Name: Vivian delos Santos Age: 24 Gender: Female Civil Status: Single Occupation: unemployed

Place of Interview: outside interviewees house Date of Interview: August 11, 2011 Time of Interview: 1:30 pm Duration: 37 minutes

SECOND TRANSCRIPT Why do you engage in online dating? Pretty much for what its made for. To be able to connect and reconnect with people. So I can know what theyre up to, where theyve been, etc. But its mostly to find interesting people. Whats your definition of interesting people? Oh, nice guys, I guess (laughs)someone kind whos willing to support me and my family financially. What do you do on these sites, anyway? On Facebook, I entertain men who come up to me through private messaging. On Fildate and Cebuanas.com, I spend most of my time chatting with different foreigners. What sites do you usually log into? Facebook, primarily. Oh, and theres also fildate.com and cebuanas.com. How much time do you usually spend on these sites? Umm.about 3 hours a day, on an average, I guess. Okay. So how do you benefit from this activity? Ill meet people, of course. People who can spend on me. That way I can help my family. Either Ill be able to receive money from overseas or Ill finally be able to go abroad because of dating foreigners online. Theres also connections, I think. I gain a lot of friends online. Whats fun about it is that Ive also learned a lot about other countries cultures and customs. Some foreigners even teach me how to speak foreign phrases. You mentioned helping your family. Why, what about your family? Well, were not exactly rich. We do what we can to survive. My father works at MEPZ and my brothers are too young to work. I want to be able to help send them to school. Ones 14 the others still 7, and the youngest is 5. Hopefully, theyll grow to be our breadwinners. I dropped

out of high school so my 14 year-old brother could at least learn to read and write. I didnt go back because I decided Id be better off working. I see. So how did you start with this online dating? My cousins also do it. I heard it from them about a year ago and tried it myself. Cris, one of my cousins, already got lucky and was able to marry an Italian! Shes living overseas with her husband already. It can really change your life, you know, marrying a foreigner. I remember when we were kids, we used to throw stones at each other while sitting in mud. Now, shes living like a princess while Im still stuck here. Have you had any luck of your own, then? A bit, yeah. A Briton had sent me 15,000 once. We started chatting on pinalove.com and eventually got to know each other pretty well. He pitied my story and family background. I dont think he was used to the fact that people like mot Filipinos live in the conditions they do. We still chat sometimes now, but not as much as before. Maybe its because of that new woman hed been talking about before. But its okay, I dont mind much. I also have other people for back -up (laughs). Does your family know about this? Yes. My father even encourages me to do it. Since Im a girl, he doesnt believe I have to work. My husband will take care of me. The trick is to finding that husband. Im working on it. Im afraid Ive never been to a dating site. How does it work? Well, one website I first used is one where you could browse through the profiles of all the men that were available. I remember thinking it was like shopping. So it was fun. I found several profiles of guys I might like and emailed them. I received a lot of responses and began to chat with them by email. I let a couple of them videochat with me and some are regular chatmates already. Have you met any of your dates in person already? Ive only done this for a short while, so no. But one of my dates IS coming here to Cebu for me during his winter vacation this December. His names David, from Australia. Hes sent me money a few times before too. Around 10,000 pesos each. Well be spending around a week together. Im really excited. Did it ever come to you that these actions may cost you your pride and dignity? I mean, there are other jobs that doesnt really involve on asking help or taking advantage from other people. Im quite used to it. My relatives are quite used to it. Its a normal thing for us. I mean, yes, I do get ashamed every once in a while. Not everyones used to the idea of going online to look for foreigners and use romance as a tool to earn a living. But Im doing this to live a life with better opportunities. The one I have right now is limited. Hopefully, Ill be able to help my family with more money.

SOCIAL NETWORKING Functionalism Online dating and the search for the elusive Amerikano. Aside from being a door to opening relationships, it is also a source of possible financial assistance. For the foreigners side, it is a possible source of security that someone will take care of them in their old age. The bottom line here is social survival, by all means necessary. For the interviewed women, the basic structure in focus is the family. As defined, the ideal structure of a family is a husband, wife, and their children. We can call Linda's case as that of a modern family -- a wife without a husband; the children without its father. And since each member of the family has functions to accomplish, the mother has to work twice as hard to meet the needs of her children, and as a whole, the larger society. Vivians case, on the other hand, exemplifies that of an elder sister out of educational credentials wanting to do what she can to help. With only her father employed and five family members to feed, shes chosen to ask for help from the people shes heard can help her. Without her real mother, shes forced to play the role of the mother of her brothers. Linda is the mother and the father. Thus, she needs to be both Body and Soul. Body because she provides for the physical needs of the family: food, shelter, education, and income. As the Soul, she has to meet the emotional needs of family members by being nurturing and smoothing out problems in relationships. Vivian is a daughter and a mother. Since her father is away at work all day, she is left to care for the household, along with her three brothers, who are struggling for an education. In a structural functionalism view, Linda and Vivian, bearing the biological and evolutionary code of motherhood, is predisposed for indoor work. The greater physical strength of men leads them naturally into the provider role. A provider that Linda and Vivians hopes will be an Amerikano. For now though, the search is still on. A not-so-obvious function of online dating, would be, as evidenced in Vivians words ...Ive also learned a lot about other countries cultures and customs. Some foreigners even teach me how to speak foreign phrases., would be the spread of cultural knowledge from one ethnicity to the next. The online world has served as a door for globalization for many. Conflict Theory Both women are concrete examples of girl power and the modern woman. They have to adapt to economic poverty due to the harsh conditions. Family structures are changing. But even as we redefine what "family" means and unconventional arrangements become more commonplace, a number of people still believe that single motherhood is bad for society. However, as Linda said, Others judge me about what I do. Dignity and pride cant bring food to our table. These cant feed my children and send them to good schools. I am doing this for them. I dont care about what people say. I dont get money from them. Filipinos, when they think of single mothers, do not think of a woman who is financially secure, who has the time and the social support to provide the children with a safe home and an education. They're thinking about a woman abandoned by her husband who may love her children deeply, but because of the need to make a living, can't devote as much time to them as perhaps she should, or want to.

The conservatives and the more religious people might say to online daters that the end doesnt justify the means. But for Linda, being a single mother is a reality. It is a way of life brought on by divorce and choice, when her husband, and the father of their children, was deemed unsuitable for a lifelong romantic partnership. A woman certainly knows there is a clear line that separates being alone and being on your own. Knowing this difference is the key for Linda and Vivian to make her own happy ending.

Symbolism For these women, dating sites like DateinAsia.com, Pinalove.com, and Christiandatingforfree.com and the social networking site Facebook are the tickets out of poverty. And the Amerikano is their knight in shining armor. Many old foreigners also take advantage of this, as they opt to be out of senior homes and instead look at women online as caretakers and companions in the future. Its a win-win situation for both parties.