IN DEFENSE OF DATING Apps
The swiping struggle is real, but it can be worth it.
There’s more to them than unsolicited dick pics.
Tinder, Happn, Okcupid, and other dating apps get a lot of flak. For one, they get dragged for being superficial—you can’t possibly showcase your whole personality using just a few photos and X number of words…but why should you? When you meet someone in person, you don’t hand him your dating resume or whip out a “Why You Should Date Me” presentation… right? And while the swiping fatigue is real—sometimes you have to go through a hundred lefts before you get one right, and even then there’s no guarantee he’ll swipe right back—it’s those few good matches that redeem dating apps
juuust enough for you to swipe again. (Sounds eerily similar to offline dating, doesn’t it?) Or, if you’re really lucky, that one swipe right was, against all odds, actually Mr. Right. This isn’t that kind of story, sorry to say, though that happily ever after is becoming more and more common these days.
Equal opportunity for all
No, this is the story of a girl who has been using dating apps for almost three years now. I am 28 years old and have never been in an adult relationship. My last boyfriend was in high school, and I spent half of college infatuated with a boy who turned out to be gay. (We’re still good friends to this day!) For the past eight years, I have worked in a female-dominated industry where most men are not available, into other men, or just not interested. I find it difficult to maintain eye contact with strangers, much less approach guys in bars, so dating apps have sort of leveled the playing field for painfully shy people like me who don’t know how to go about meeting people and can use a confidence boost. You like him, he likes you, this is already going SO well.
Choose your own adventure
You could say that matching with someone is just the start of the battle, but it doesn’t have to be one if you’re both on the same page. Looking for someone to show you around while you’re on vacation? Would rather meet in person than exchange texts? Not into hookups? Those are the things that should go on your profile. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t match with people who are looking for the complete opposite—or show up stoned and fall asleep in the middle of the date (true story)—but it’s one way of attracting what and who you want. A lot of people put a premium on finding the elusive unicorn that is true love through dating apps, but there are plenty of other equally magnificent things to be found like chemistry, an inspiring connection, or just a damn good time in bed.
There’s a perception that dating apps offer a buffet of choices that can overwhelm even the most levelheaded person. But everyone has prefer- ences, and having all these options helps you narrow down what you actually want or even discover new preferences. Of course, not every person will like you as much as you like them, or want the same things as you, or even stay in town long enough for a second date. All my best matches are travelers just passing through—some come back, but it’s never the same. Dates with them turn into hours or even days of movie-worthy adventures (IMHO) that almost always end with a painful goodbye. They’ve made me realize that if I were to be in a relationship, it can’t be long-distance. Without the help of dating apps, I would’ve never had the confidence to talk to them and have those crazy good times, much less come to realize a relationship non-negotiable.
At the end of the day, dating apps are just another way to connect, one that comes with its own perks and problems. Used with the right mindset and expectations, they can lead to some very interesting times and even restore your faith in men, romance, and yourself.
Having all these options help you narrow down what you actually want.