It’s no secret: dating is hard. How do we meet people in a world where face-to-face contact has become alarmingly uncommon? Due to our ever-growing reliance on technology, virtual dating has become the social norm of the millennials. But as technology advances, our attention span diminishes. Thus, the idea of promptly finding a romantic partner through your mobile device was born.
However, technology’s rapid advancement does not come without its consequences. True to form, our various cultish Apple devices are spiraling out of control with the amount of dating apps available to us. There are too many options and it’s overwhelming. Which app do I choose? How do I know which app will reveal to me the person I’ve been looking for? Where do I invest all of my snap-judgmental energy? These are questions I often asked myself while curiously scrolling through the App Store. For those in a similar situation, allow me to divulge a quick overview of my experience with three of the most commonly used dating apps:
First, the notoriously mocked, Tinder. Tinder users are, to put it eloquently, DTF. You’re safe to assume that. But in reality, all Tinder has really done for me is brought to my attention how many men named Jasper live in my neighborhood. I have also found that the vast majority of men on this app are so obviously potential date-rapers, that I literally can’t swipe left fast enough out of fear that they could infect my iPhone with their undoubted STD ownership. Having said that, the ability to stamp “NO” across someone’s face who doesn’t meet your approval does give one an indescribable sense of great satisfaction, and for that, Tinder will always hold a special place my heart.
However, this power can quickly backfire: muscle memory in the index finger becomes your biggest enemy as you jump the gun, or get “swipe-happy”, dismissing someone who actually sparked your interest with your .00001 second viewing of their picture before you mistakenly disposed of them. (Cue to the slow motion scream.) These swipe-mistakes spark sleepless nights of “what if?” scenarios taking hold of your consciousness, wondering what other images might have been on their profile. You convince yourself that they own a nonprofit, teaching blind children to read brail while providing a safe haven for rescued dogs. What would our future be? How many children would we have? Would we summer in Beaujolais and spend Christmas in Vail? But I digress, for these are merely dreams. All hope for our fairy-tale ending has been dashed with a single finger flick. Just kidding, no one on Tinder thinks like that.
Enter: Hinge, the app reserved for those a little more “serious”, feeding the delusional promise of finding a “real connection” through their service. While other dating apps give you endless potential matches, Hinge limits your exposure to only ten prospects per day. If you’re like me, you’ll fly through those options rapid fire and be left empty handed in a matter of seconds. Then what? Guess you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what else is out there! Just as it sounds, Hinge is SUPER lame. It has become the third wheel at the virtual party, who can’t take the hint that they’ve overstayed their welcome. Go home, Hinge. You’re embarrassing yourself.
The latest trend in dating apps is Bumble. This app quickly earned the reputation of having the best looking male users and as a result, it is the most commonly used dating app among my female peers. My experience has proven the “more attractive” theory to be true for this application; I am swiping right far more than I am swiping left. The incentive with Bumble is that the woman must be the one to assume the responsibility of initiating the conversation, or else the “match” will disappear within 24 hours. It is somewhat reminiscent of The Little Mermaid: if you are interested and would like to pursue this person, you must “find your voice”, if you will. Otherwise, the window of opportunity will close and you’ll lose your soul-mate to some fake skank named Ursula who roped him in with her overly face-tuned selfies with doubled up Instagram filters. Except, instead of having until the setting sun on the third day to seal the deal, you have 24 hours. In other words, if you don’t act fast, your opportunity for a connection will turn into a pumpkin. (For those more comfortable with Cinderella references.)
[UPDATE: Hinge has now implemented Bumble’s aspect of limiting the time you have available to pursue a conversation with your match. This proves even further how much of a poser Hinge really is.]
Throughout the various dating apps available, one aspect remains consistent throughout: they all encourage us to be instantaneously judgmental. We were all taught growing up never to judge a book by its cover. However, society embraces the opposite. Have we lost our morals or our attention span? Through frequent use of dating apps, you’ll find that the ten seconds it would take to view a person’s profile in its entirety is far too time-consuming. Hence, you’ll find yourself subconsciously forming “deal breakers” to immediately disqualify potential matches, ensuring your ruling is as fast as possible. Is their profile picture is a shirtless selfie? Next. Their bio is more than a few sentences? Stop wasting everyone’s time. This isn’t eHarmony. Oh cool, you’re still wearing Aèropostale? You’ve made this decision very easy. NOPE.
From this insight, it may seem that the world of dating apps is a vast moral wasteland. Nevertheless, there are glimmers of hope in all realms of darkness. Some users truly do find the connection they were looking for and go on to happily enjoy their relationship. Unfortunately, the majority get completely drunk with their judgmental powers and it trickles into their behaviors in reality. For those about to embark on their virtual dating journey, heed warning: as you aggressively swipe your screen, know that someone is doing the same to you.