Yeats said that romantic Ireland was dead and gone but it appears he just didn’t live long enough to experience the art of online flirting.
Although Yeats might be happy to know that, much like himself, most Irish are afraid to say it in person and would rather just say it with words.
While Yeats wrote volumes of poetry for Maude Gonne, it appears that nowadays we are all busy flirting via instant messaging. Some 70pc of Irish people aged between 14 and 40 said they were more confident typing sweet nothings than flirting face-to-face, according to an MSN Windows Live dating survey.
The survey showed that the majority of people, armed with an instant messaging application like MSN Messenger and a keyboard, felt less intimidated than they would if they were to flirt with the object of their affection in person.
“It’s much more personal than email because the conversation is live – and the research released today shows that as we become more involved with online services and the internet in general, many are beginning to prefer it to real or telephone conversations,” said Brian Kealy, Windows Live regional marketing manager.
The survey was carried out all over Europe and the findings indicate that while messaging was instant it also gave people time to think of chat-up lines, double entendres and clever responses, avoiding the embarrassment of being tongue-tied.
While the Irish people who took part in the survey said the best way to meet new people was through friends or in bars, 71pc admitted they had used instant messaging to chat someone up or be chatted up themselves.
Meanwhile, dating agencies were not seen as a popular choice with only 2pc of respondents rating them as any good for getting potential dates.
Stranger findings in the survey revealed that just under half of respondents have used instant messaging to flirt with a work colleague, while the same number have used it to chat with an online stranger.
If flirting in person comes hard to the Irish, so does professing love: half of those surveyed said they had used MSN Messenger to declare their love.
When asked what were the worst chat-up lines they have had to endure online, it seems not much has changed: the same tired old lines are being trotted out since time immemorial.
Just one of these gems: “Are you tired? You’ve been running through my mind all day.”
By Marie Boran