It’s 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. I’m sitting across from my friend looking at the intricate design on my vanilla latte as his thumb compulsively swipes left on his phone.
Tinder: where choosing right over left could be the only thing standing between you and your future soul mate. I don’t believe that to be the case, but it seems to be the latest of many dating crazes. You create a catchy blurb about yourself, post your most flattering filtered photo and within seconds you begin to get notifications on whether someone is a match for you or if they aren’t.
Apps like Zoosk, Elite Singles, Match and eHarmony are being marketed as the top dating sites in 2019, but whatever happened to chance encounters? Those random moments where you accidentally bump into a cute guy or girl in the grocery store, reach for the same bottle of wine or end up having an amazing conversation with the other single sitting at the bar in your favorite restaurant?
“Do you think she’s cute?”
I grab my friend’s phone and look at the brunette, wearing heavy eyeliner, whose tagline is “Enthusiastic dog-walker who loves watching reruns of ‘The Office.’”
“You don’t even like ‘The Office.'”
Before I realize it, I swipe left and start laughing.
“I’m sorry, I’ve just always wanted to do that.”
My friend and I begin another conversation about his dating life, or lack thereof, and I wonder where society dropped the ball. When did so many people become dependent on allowing an algorithm to dictate compatibility between them and a total stranger? I’ve never been a fan of blind dates, either, because the unknown aspect makes me anxious.
Call me old school, but I think that dating should be left to chance. Of course, we could skip the awkward questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” or What do you do for fun?” Instead, ask me something weird like, “Do you think aliens look like the ones from ‘Signs’?” Take me on a date to a bookstore and let’s sip tea and get lost between aisles. It sounds bad, but I think those days are gone, because everybody seems to want things immediately now, at the touch of their fingertips and that’s what these dating apps allow. You can be whoever you want to be behind a computer screen, which, in my opinion, makes it all the more frightening, because how do you know you won’t be catfished? Isn’t that the premise of that show? People create fake online personalities, partake in long-term relationships only for them to finally meet in person and someone always gets hurt because one of them isn’t who they post to be.
I’m not saying all online dating situations end up in disaster. I’m sure there are some people who have found romance and are now in blissful relationships, but how many times did they have to swipe left before one of their matches ended up being the right one?
As my friend and I place our orders and put our phones away, I wish the world could do just that: disconnect, put away their phones, log off of social media and just spend the day making genuine, human connections that don’t require filters or a bio about who you are. I think we’d all be surprised what we’d find out about others and ourselves.
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