Happiness is just a 'swipe right' away
Where did you parents meet? School? Gig? Pub? Work? Somewhere which involved one of them crossing the floor and saying ‘hello’, I’ll bet.
When you yourself eventually copulate and produce your own mini-me, will it bother you that you and your spouse met via the sadistic medium that is online dating?
Before I go off on one, I admit: I am on Tinder. I am on Grindr. I am even on Badoo (the Bebo equivalent of dating). So, I really can’t point the hand of judgement and lambast people who use these sites.
I can, however, lambast online dating culture and the perverse instant gratification it endorses.
For journalistic purposes (and to spend a night away from Netflix), I went on a Tinder date last Friday, with a guy I’d been chatting with for a week.
Our online conversation took an age to go anywhere; long gaps in between the generic ‘How are you?’ or ‘What do you study?’
The awful robot generated questions which you use to get the ball rolling.
Through our conversation, we’d both ascertained that we had some kind of mutual interested to scrape
into a face to face conversation, that and there was evidentially some mutual attraction.
To be truthful, on the way to meet him, I was quite excited at the possibility that this could be the start of….something. No.
As with many of these dates which are constructed online, we had very little in common.
Sure, you can talk about how you both used to watch Waterloo Road in year 11 and that the uni is pretty good but your second choice was blah, blah.
We only talked for an hour, but that was fine. After the awkward goodbye I assumed that was that.
An hour later he sent me a picture of himself naked from the waist down.
I guess I got lucky.
Despite my distrust for these sites, more and more people (including myself) are on them and are becoming addicted to them.
Why? Because they create both a false self-confidence and also give you instant gratification.
On Tinder, you judge someone purely on their aesthetic value. You spend, at most, ten seconds on their page looking at their pre-drinks photos, or maybe the odd autumn morning selfie.
Not satisfied? Swipe left. Found someone you like? Swipe to the right.
Do that enough times and you’ll eventually find someone ‘liked’ you too.
The short term ecstasy it gives you is no more than the rush you get when someone likes your Facebook status, but it’s enough to keep you going back for more.
And I admit, being ‘liked’ feels good; it’s an up, and we crave all the up’s we can get.
Online dating culture has grown as 1) we rely on the internet to make choices for us; 2) have become to need instant gratification; and 3) traditional meeting places have changed.
Clubbing has become the main venue for young people to meet; a venue which encourages people to just bob up and down in close quarters, with the occasional lewd grope or shout to ask where the loo is.
I’d argue that gigs, or concerts, or even house parties are much better places to meet potential dates. It seems people have come to rely too heavily on an app to fix them up.
And sure, there are happy endings. People who’ve met online can have perfectly happy and fulfilling relationships.
But admit it: ‘we met online’, still evokes a certain stigma. I’d argue that it’s a stigma with legs on it; online dating de-humanizes people, and purely puts an emphasis on looking your best, rather than talking your best.
People’s innate goodness or attractiveness can’t be demonstrated online; the only thing that can is their #nofilter photos or washboard stomachs can.
But like I said, I’m on the band wagon too, because at the end of it all, people are losing the ability to communicate face to face.
So, then, how do you meet people if not for Tinder, Grindr, Badoo, match.com?
The next time you see a person who you’ve liked for a while, ask them out for coffee. Just ask them, using your words.
Words are a better turn on then a selfie.