Remember when online dating first came on the scene in the early 2000s? Those dark times when friends and family would harshly judge you because you made an OKCupid profile. It was seen as the last Hail Mary attempt before spinsterhood. What do you have to lose when there are currently cats taking up 68% of your apartment?
But today, it’s different. It’s normal to make dating profiles. There is no more stigma on meeting a partner online. This change could be due to the fact that we are utterly obsessed with the internet, constantly connected to our phones, and maybe lack some of the social skills that human beings used to have before we only talked through screens. I think partial credit to this shift is due to Tinder, the first of the apps. While EHarmony and Match were around much longer, they promoted finding your soul mate. Tinder, on the other hand, had no such promises. They showed you people of your preferred sex, asked you if they were hot or not, and then if you both liked each other you could communicate. While it’s the most shallow of all the platforms, on some weird level, it works. It’s more and more common for people not only to actively use this app but to find someone to actually date on it. I have even heard of stories about people getting married who met on Tinder. While of course there are thousands of people to scroll through, and hundreds who say vulgar things, and a handful who just want a free meal, there are some actually decent human beings on there. The problem, simply, is getting to them.
It’s a numbers game. I’ve heard this from people not only talking about Tinder, but dating in general. Because our opportunities for a relationship are at an all time high, why settle for someone you only like when your soul mate might be out there?
Bumble, another dating application much like Tinder, always gives me notifications. It tells me when someone matched with me, when a match will expire, and when there are more suitors in my area, and that they are “waiting for me.” The waiting for me phrase creeps me out. It makes me think that all of these men are just on their phones, looking at my picture, hoping that I will message them a simple, yet elegant, “hey.” I don’t need notifications from a dating app. It feels like my mother popping on my phone, telling me to put myself out there, that I’m not getting any younger, and maybe I should settle down, that the man of my dreams is just a swipe away. It feels like it’s nagging me. And I just don’t need that shit in my life right now.
My last straw with notifications was on Tinder, though. Usually, Tinder only beckons me when there is a message or a new match, which I’m fine with. But the other day Tinder told me, and I quote, “3078 people liked you since you last checked Tinder. Swipe right to find out who.” What the fuck? Literally thousands of people, thousands of opportunities, just waiting on the other side of that screen.
That shit terrifies me.
Yeah, it’s supposed to be flattering. Thousands of people were interested in me. Cool, right? No. When does it become too much? What is our limit before opportunity stops being exciting, and starts to paralyze us? Could you even imagine if there were 3078 men standing around you, waiting for you to talk to them, asking to buy you drinks at a bar? It’s way too much for me.
I don’t want to sift through 3078 potential suitors. I don’t want to make small talk about things I don’t care about, repeating over and over again about who I am and what I do. I don’t want to have hundreds of those men say extremely vulgar things to me, that beat me down, and make me wonder where humanity is heading. I don’t want to have lame conversations about your car; because I swear to you I do not care. I don’t want to get my hopes up about a guy, who seems to actually be nice, who on paper is everything I am looking for, only to have him ghost on me. I don’t want this anymore.
I stayed on those apps, those sites, just because it felt like the only way to put myself out there to the possibility of dating. But I just cannot do it anymore. How do I put myself out there IRL? I don’t know. But I certainly can’t do it while attached to my phone, swiping through the thousands of people on Tinder. .
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