What Even Is Dating?

I’m no expert on the world of online dating. As a matter of fact, I’m no expert on any kind of dating.  And by that, I mean that I haven’t gone on a real date in probably four years.  At first, I thought there was something wrong with me.  But after seeing so many beautiful, intelligent, talented, and funny people dealing with the same shit as me, heartbreak after heartbreak, I realized it isn’t “just us”— it is our entire society.  We are all about technology, and it’s destroying us.  It completely changes the ways we function.  For example, we are so used to talking to people on the Internet or over text messages, but once we try to talk to people face to face, anxiety takes over.  Yet we still manage to let technology control us.

We have apps for everything nowadays, including dating, which tends to make things a bit complicated.  Dating is confusing enough to begin with, but add technology to the mix and it’s even more tricky.  The whole dating scene has changed as a result of online dating.  Everyone has different ideas of how dating should be done.  It’s rare to find people nowadays who will take you out the old fashioned way.  We don’t get to know each other the way people used to way back when. We don’t date the conventional way anymore, and we don’t use dating sites the conventional way either.  Everyone is on there with different intentions.  So while you might be on there looking for real love, many people on there are really just using it as a way to meet people and hook up, never looking for any further commitment.  Sometimes even meeting people is too much.  Some people get into “relationships” without ever even meeting in person.  How does that even make any sense?  How can you possibly have a relationship solely through a computer screen or text messages, having no physical contact whatsoever?

Tinder, for example, has become really popular recently. But I don’t (and I’m sure a lot of other people don’t either)  use it the way it is intended.  To be honest, I don’t really know its main purpose, other than the fact that you simply find someone you think is attractive who also finds you attractive and then you can message each other. But is it a dating app or a hook-up app? No one really knows, because everyone has their own reason for using it. For example, I use it as a game of sorts. When I’m bored and want to pass the time, I shallowly skim through tons of people choosing whether or not I think they are attractive based solely on one picture (because I’m usually too lazy to even check if they have more pictures).  Then when they find me mutually attractive, I feel slightly better about myself and continue skimming through pictures.  It’s really just a completely pointless time-killer (and ego-boost) because I have no intentions of meeting anyone on there. I rarely ever even talk to the people.  I’ve had a few decent conversations on there, but I never let it progress into anything further.  Although maybe if I did meet these people and actually give them a chance, my love life wouldn’t be so utterly pathetic. More than likely, though, they are just looking for a quick hook up, and I deal with enough sleazy guys at bars that I’d rather not have to be put in any more awkward situations.

However, as useless as my own personal experiences with online dating have been, I know a lot of people it has actually worked for.  Mostly older people, though.  People in their forties or fifties, who maybe lost their significant other from divorce or death, and they didn’t know how else to go about meeting people at that age. It’s got to be especially hard when you have kids and/or a full time job. So they went on dates with some people they met through Match.com or other similar sites.  And a lot of the people I know who did this ended up finding their current significant other that way. However, I think maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that they are a different generation.  They are more interested in actually dating and finding a relationship than this new hook-up culture our generation has become.  Maybe it’s just because we’re young.  Most of us aren’t looking for anything serious yet.  Although some of us are.  And some of us don’t know what we want.  Which is probably why online dating is so hard to analyze.  Maybe when we’re older, online dating (or any kind of dating) will become a bit more clear to us because we will know what we are looking for.  Or maybe technology has destroyed our chances of finding real love. Or maybe I’m just cynical, and you’ll somehow find the love of your life on there.

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