In a world of planes to travel across entire oceans, the internet to provide access to planets worth of information and at clicks of a button you can order yourself any conceivable meal. Regardless of your taste and preference, you can find a takeaway that gives you a taste of all the deliciousness around the world waiting to explode onto your taste buds; Mexican, Chinese’s, Caribbean or Indian, whatever it is the modern world can deliver it straight to your door step. Thus it is this very underlining emphasis on quickness and convenience that has come to define the 21st century, so as you would imagine it didn’t take too long before the principle was applied to the most equally tortuous yet most wonderful of human experiences, love and dating . However for most this was a convenient and logical leap, but one the other hand for an old romantic like me; forgive me for sounding a lot older than my years when I say this, but I feel that it was better in the old days.
If it was up to me this is what I would consider to be the perfect dating scenario; first I would with the help of a guiding hand from cupid find myself stepping into a random book store I that never knew existed before. Then once inside I would be surrounded by rows up on rows of all my favourite authors, then suddenly out of the corner of my eye is where I would see this Lithuanian and Brazilian blend of gorgeousness. Risking potential rejection and embarrassment, because in my mind I would be saying “Silva you can’t win the World Cup without kicking a ball”, so remembering what Neil Strauss and The Game taught me, with effortless confidence I would stride across the room and introduce myself to the lady, who just happens to be reading a Pink Floyd autobiography. Instantly we will bond on a shared appreciation for godly bands and then I would dazzle her with my award winning charm. I will then take her on a few dates, where we will talk, laugh and delight in each other’s company before not to long after, she will eventually fall madly in love with me and propose on the spot, job done right! Yes in the 90’s and early 2000’s that would have been a common occurrence, but fast forward to 2010’s and lets reimage the above scenario, expect instead replace cupid with a dating app like Tinder, and replace the confidence to talk to the girl up front, with an awkward babbling message on Meet Moi. Replace the joy of finding communalities through actual real world conversation with stalking through years upon year of the other persons FaceBook pictures and every status update. Then finally replace the enjoyable date with promiscuous, uninspiring and regrettable sex and you my friend have modern day dating down in a nut shell.
From the mid 2000’s to the very early 2010’s the landscape of dating had a seismic shift, no longer was dating online seen as something sordid and pathetic perpetuated by stereotypes of 40 year old virgins cruising the internet for 18 year old girls. Instead with the help in some part of the emergence of dating sites like EHarmony and Match.com, who take a much more serious approach to match making. Dating online has become increasingly the norm as the years have gone by until now in the 2010s when it wasn’t just acceptable anymore, it now was expected. This is further supported with the statistics that show that almost 67% percent of singles are aware of couples who meet through online dating, and that fact that both EHarmony and Match.com boost a combined total of almost 38 million worldwide users, the percentage seems plausible. But this is the realm of technology and from bikes to rockets, from computers that fill entire rooms to microchips and from walkmans to Ipods, technology is always rapidly changing and improving. Now with apps like Grinder and Down, you no longer have to go through the hassle of filling out personality questionnaires and the pain of argues and lengthy message exchanging in an attempt to get to know each other first online before you meet, instead now by simply taking out your phone and logging on the WI-FI you can meet other singles, with the view to not just meet and talk, but maybe even go on a date or if you’re really lucky possibly even hook up with a stranger during your hour work break. This new form of dating has made sex and relationship almost as quick and easy as ordering from your favourite fast food take away, why have Dominos and Pizzahut when Tinder can provide you with an all you can eat blond buffet instead.
To any millennial now the terms dating and hooking up has become almost completely interchangeable with each other. Gone are the years of the baby boomers who when faced with the notion of dating, quickly associated it with courting which generally meant going out on 5 or 6 dates over the course of maybe three months, even before they could even contemplate the idea of venturing into 2nd base (Heavy petting and groping). Whereas now in dating with a quick opening of Meet Moi which allows its users to use their geographical location to find singles in the area who are looking to meet up, then after the ‘dating’ process could be anywhere from 2 or 3 weeks, down to a mere 2 or 3 hours depending on how good your game is. Yet Meet Moi isn’t the only app that promises instant dates, another site that has grown in substantial popularity in recent times is Tinder, app that allows you to be matched with people in your local area, then it is up to you to either swipe left if you’re not interested or swipe right if you’re into them, and if two people swipe yes to each other they will be allowed to swap pictures and messages. The entire process is discrete because the other person is not alerted when you turn them down, then the only time you hear from anyone else is if you both swipe yes. My problem with these apps is that it encourages the majority of its users who are in the 18-34 year bracket, to make decisions based purely on what they look like and I feel this superficial and shallow approach to dating can really have negative implications on our dating lives because it distorts what we perceive as important qualities in a perspective mate, leading too unrealistic expectations especially now that we are exposed to a perpetual conveyer belt of available meat. Whilst old generations usually ‘thugged’ it out, even when it came to finding something they didn’t like in their potential partners, in the hope of seeing past the surfaced in search of something more important like shared ambitions and passions, while unfortunately on the other hand the modern generation is more likely to jump ship in search of that deluded sense of perfection.
While our standards are getting a lot higher, it has become more difficult for people to be able to find others who might be able to reach those standards, however ironically our dependence on our online clutches have lead to a diminishing of our social and communicational skills, like a astronaut in space, if you don’t use your muscles regularly, they get weaker. So even when we are able to find someone who fits are desired mould for a partner, we seem to be lacking the ability to have the necessary communicational skills to be able to help nature the relationship past the initial couple of months, which might go a long way to explaining the drop of total marriage percentages from 72% in 1960 to a mere 50% in 2011. I feel the decline in communicational skills occurs because once hidden behind a screen, you are able edit every single thing you say and second guess it before you post it to the world, whereas in real life conversation this won’t be possible, once it is out there is out there. Also when you use dating apps you are putting forward, not an actual representation of you, but an idealized version of whom you want people to think you are. But stepping out of this comfort zone can be extremely difficult as you get so used to people seeing a tiny distorted portion of you, so when it comes to the real world you are less likely to reveal your true self because of fear of disappointing the other person and not appearing as good as you did online. When asked about what men usually lie about online, the two most frequent answers were height and salary, while for women it was weight and age. Surely all this editing ourselves into something we are not is detriment to building honest relationships with other human beings, as well as being a detriment to our self esteem when we realize we can’t live up to these lies.
Because of the reliance on Facebook, these apps encourages us to be in constant contact with the site which may lead to people searching up every last microscopic of our proposed dates, even before we actually getting to meet them and know them. I personally feel this takes out all the fun out of getting to know all the little weird quirks that make each of us different and unique, because what’s the point of a date, when you can check online within seconds what their favourite types of music, what wacky things they get up to when they are drunk and who their ex partners were all in the less than 30 minutes, while in the mid 90’s during face to face interaction it would probably take at least three or four dates before this information would come out into the open.
However some would say that our modern reliance on dating apps has made the war field of dating an equal battle between men and women. Because instead of begin the hunted, women are now able to just take out their phones which act like modern day spears and they can snag a stag they have grown a liking too, and no app personifies that idea better that Lulu. A app created specifically for women to rate men they are dating or used to be dating for the benefit of other women, so depending on the rating other women will know if the men should be jumped on or should be stood well clear off. Once first logged on, you must fill out a multiple choice questionnaire on the male to determine such things as their sense of humour, the presence of manners, their ambition, commitment level, and appearance, however on the surface the rating system may be comprehensive, but actual this is a very one dimensional representation of men because it condenses their entire begin into a few statistics, thus forcing me to consider that this app is not just utterly sexist and shallow especially when you consider women can hash tag a guy with such tags as “AfuckerandChucker”, but can possibly be dangerous in the sense that a women could easily lie about a man ratings, effectively ruining his chance at love with any other women who searches him up on the app. So the app ends up beckoning the question is it really fair to degrade one gender, just too empower the other?
While dating site do actually try to create long lasting relationships between people, by linking people mostly based on their interests which 67% of people also declared shared interests as the key to love this of course then leads to better quality match ups. Yet unfortunately you have apps such as Grider and Down which pretty much encourages both men and women to have more promiscuous sexual encounters, because the only base information you have for these encounters is someone’s looks, their availability or if they are “up for it” and their location. With statistics showing that 33% of women have had sex with someone they meet on a dating app and 53% of people in general admitting to dating more than one person at a time, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that we are not even using the apps for the pursuit of long lasting relationships or even love, but instead of quick and easy sex. Overall I feel that particular apps such as How About We that groups people on their desired first date sceneries, creating a much more profound match up. Dating apps if used only as an aid to helping us find love, instead of a sole means of finding love, or an avenue for meaningless encounters. If used right, dating apps seem like a great inclusion into our lives, but they also at the same time have the potential to make life more difficult and less enjoyable in the long run.