I’ve recently re-downloaded bumble and hinge. Two dating apps which I had previously broken up with. I was tired and bored of the repetition, the endless swiping and the relentless dead ends.
I had also come full circle with a guy that I met over a year ago on one of those particular apps. We had been on one date, junk yard golf, drinks, it all went very well until the end. He asked to come back to mine. I said no. I am a strong believer in the fact that this is not to be assumed, just because we met on a platform that facilitates and aids one-night stands. He persisted. I said no. We snogged. He asked again, and finally he got the message. He walked away and it was only a few minutes later that I realised I had no idea where he had left me.
With the help of google maps and Faye on the phone, I made it home. He had intrigued me, I wanted to see him again, but he had other ideas. He didn’t want to see me, he wanted to see the ceiling of my bedroom. Totally fine. As I’ve already said, this is what dating apps provide a platform for, they create a shortcut to adult fun. Without the bars, the small talk and the graft.
I miss the graft.
I just felt that he should have at least pretended to be interested in knowing me as a person. Maybe this is naïve, maybe this is self-indulged but I refused to apologise for demanding a little more respect.
Here we are a year later and he’s lying on my bed, dishing out red wine and preaching about dating apps.
“I’m giving up dating apps, and one-night stands…”
“How’s that going for you?”
“Yeah, not that well”
However hypocritical he appeared in that moment, he got me thinking. Do we really know the effects that dating apps are having on our perception of how to find love? Constantly being able to swipe left or right, based solely on looks and sometimes a name, like the conveyor belt at the arrivals gate.
The instant satisfaction of saying no or yes to whether someone fits the criteria of the person that you’re looking for. Not to mention the fact that you’re only really getting to know the version of them that they have put forward. I don’t upload pictures of me on a Sunday morning with a hangover and a bad case of ‘bed head’. Of course, vanity has not been created by tinder. It’s the same premise, you see someone out and about and you only give them the eyes if you’re physically attracted to them. Dating apps aren’t to blame for that initial judgement.
I also don’t want to give technology too much credit. I understand that it’s often humans driving the technology rather than the other way around. But, could replicating the dating sphere on a screen be a step too far? I love nothing more than asking my Grandma, over and over again how she met my Grandad, and then how she met Dave, her current partner. I sit at the kitchen table at Faye’s house and listen to the same story that I’ve heard 100 times before, because I love to hear how Sal and Simon tell it. My Mum explains how my Dad was exactly what she needed in her life at the exact moment that she met him, as if it’s a bedtime story that is guaranteed to settle my mind.
What will our generation have to say?
I don’t want to disregard this as a way of meeting someone, I know so many people that have met on tinder or bumble and are extremely happy. They met someone perfect that they never would have met otherwise. You can’t deny that the world is enormous, and these apps take us to places that we wouldn’t have the time to go. I just worry, that like all social media, it makes us a little lazy. I could ‘meet’ triple the amount of men that I ever could in a bar on one night, from my bed. ‘Amazing’ you might be thinking, and you’re right. The car gets us from A to B much faster than a horse and cart. That’s all that dating apps are, a Ferrari in place of a horse.
Although, cars don’t dabble in emotions. Cars don’t make you feel like you’ve swiped right to 20 people and not one has ‘boomed’. Cars don’t not turn up. Cars can’t look different in person than they did on a screen. Cars can’t take up your day with endless texting to somebody you don’t even know.
The virtual world must be entered with care. Until you meet that person, at the bar or the junk yard golf, none of it is real. You’re not a person with feelings and emotions, you’re one of a list. No one knows the intentions of the people that they’re talking to initially, (often it unravels pretty quickly with a horrible innuendo about wetness) because you don’t have to reveal it. You don’t have to reveal anything over text.
Having said all of this, you’ve got to be in it to win it. I have re-installed these apps because modern dating is hard. Whether I like it or not these apps exist and it’s universally acknowledged that it’s far less effort swiping right than approaching someone in a bar. How can you complain about being single when you’re not in the world of dating? Perhaps it’s a case of: if you can’t beat them, join them. I’ve got a date on Friday that I definitely would not have if it weren’t for hinge. (Sounded a bit showy-offy then, sorry.)
I’m a romantic, so I would much prefer a meet cute. A completely out of the blue, whirlwind, swept off your feet, love at first sight encounter. But who’s to say that bumble isn’t just pointing you in the right direction for that moment.
I highly doubt it but, I live in hope.