Ah, March Madness, you’re so eventful. Not because of the sports – oh, eff that, I don’t watch sports – but because of the herds of men that come together like hungry wolves ready to take on a carcass.
I was sitting in a packed bar last weekend, when I noticed that the girl next to me was messaging a guy on OKCupid. She was an attractive girl, a busty, brown-eyed brunette, and I wondered if she was talking to Adam Levine on that thing, or if she was really that oblivious to all the subtle hints from interested men nearby.
That’s the thing about online dating: despite the preconceived notion that it’s desperate, it’s not. It is, however, lazy. For those of us who don’t just Tinder on the toilet, it distracts us from making tangible connections in the real world. Connections that could have turned into something more worthwhile than an OKCupid paragraph demonstrating dwindling interest the more back-and-forth it contains.
On all these sites, personalities are subjugated by looks, yet we all know this isn’t the way it works in real life. What drew me to the last guy I fell madly in love with was his big appetite for life, despite his having a big nose, and even still, I continue to only swipe right for the hot guys, because there are no rules on how to navigate these things.
So how do we choose? What if I swiped past my soulmate because he had an Owen Wilson nose? How do we filter who’s date-worthy from who’s not? It’s common knowledge that someone who’s good on paper can be horrible off the paper, and vice versa. And at some point, any less-than-marvelous date becomes synonymous with other less-than-marvelous dates, and if you’re like me, eventually you begin to lose interest in going on any more online dates. It’s exhausting and time-consuming.
What I find faultiest, though, is that the mere existence of online dating assumes we should date for dating’s sake. That we should fall into a relationship for the sake of having a boyfriend, not fall into one because we fell in love naturally, and because it was right.
Thanks to the online dating sphere, we can’t tell for sure if we like the person for who he really is, because we’ve fallen in love with an idea before we’ve even stepped out the door; the idea that we’ll come home with a boyfriend. Someone, anyone. It’s that: the implication that we should be coupled up at all costs, not just in the future but also now and forever, god forbid I would rather enjoy the company of my girl friends than a mediocre connection with a mediocre man, or willingly wander into the MoMA alone on a Saturday afternoon.
Despite all these critiques – critiques not of the users, but of the medium, itself – I’m in company of friends who’ve endured long-term, successful relationships due to internet dating. I personally am not fully opposed to it, and will most probably continue to go on them sporadically, if not for research purposes, though I’ll be taking a break for a while (the last guy I went out with asked to double dutch on the bill. WTF? Is this typical guy-looking-for-girlfriend-so-he-goes-on-too-many-dates-and-can’t-cover-every-girl behavior? Look for a blog post on splitting the bill in the near future).
What’s the takeway? Online dating is mostly unromantic and contrived, and I encourage those in our generation to be more unafraid. Why not sign up for a cooking class, or go to a concert with a single friend instead of reaching out to a stranger on the internet? An online first date doesn’t paint an accurate portrait of our dates; instead of falling for the intricacies of their mannerisms – the habits that really give away who someone is – we end up finding out surface information, interview-style. Observe what I can learn within 5 seconds of knowing an online date, versus someone I met out and about:
“Hi, nice to meet you.”
“So what’s good here?”
“The pie, I’ve heard. I really like pie.”
I learned this guy likes pie.
Guy I met at my first bartending job:
“You’re holding the bottle wrong.”
“Lemme show you how it’s done.” He puts his hands on my hands and guides them.
I learned this guy is Type A, street-smart, confident, and charming.
Tinder away, folks, but real world guys always win.
“Hi, I’m ****,” he said. My heart raced. I was hooked.