You walk into a bar with your close friends and volunteer to grab the drinks as they make their way over to a table. Of course, you ask the bartender for something obscure and annoying. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone order that other than me”, says the cute and mysterious man sitting across the bar. You engage in a sexy banter that quickly transitions into magnetic chemistry. He takes you on a tour of the city on his vespa and you watch the stars together until he returns you back to your friends, but not before he asks to see you again.
Perfect, I know.
In movies, dating is depicted as a magical rollercoaster of perfect emotions, butterflies, fireworks and uncontainable excitement. The meet cute is an unpredictable encounter that was simply destined to happen. You were meant to meet this random person, at this random point in time, at this random grocery store, on this random Tuesday afternoon.
Take a look at Notting Hill – out of all the stores Anna could have walked into, she walks into William’s bookstore and he is infatuated by her presence. And then, soon after, William bumps into Anna again in the street spilling orange juice all over her. Their story is set from there and it is a perfect one at that.
But I hate to break it to my fellow hopeless romantics out there, it just does not seem to work like that anymore. And there is only one thing to blame: The ever-growing popularity of dating apps.
Social media and dating apps have created a whole new world of courting, which is definitely interfering with my plans for the perfect meet cute. Rather than having romance randomly emerge, these apps offer a controlled look at partners in a controlled setting, in which you look at carefully curated profiles. Destiny is shoved to the side as you decide who gets a swipe right based on a person’s looks and a 200-word bio. It feels like a low effort, online marketplace where you can shop for human companionship.
Getting to know someone through a screen isn’t the same as getting to know someone in person. While there are countless Tinder success stories out there, there is something to be said for dating someone you meet organically. Whether it be a random guy you meet at a store or someone you meet through friends, getting to know a person over a few dates instead of engaging in a texting banter is far more exciting.
With this, dating has become casualized and somewhat confusing as various stages have been created in between meeting someone and dating them. “Talking” to someone is actually getting to know someone but over text. An article by The Atlantic puts it perfectly, “Apps had effectively replaced dating; in other words, the time other generations of singles might have spent going on dates, these singles spent swiping.” Communicating on Tinder feels like dating because people are spending hours on end texting someone and scrolling through their matches, but this isn’t true dating. Dating is actively going out, meeting new people, and spending time with them in hopes that it will turn into a committed relationship. Talking to a Tinder match is hardly that.
This copious number of choices paired with a lack of true human connection has turned online dating into a chore. We are searching for someone based on our idea of a perfect profile rather than deciding we like someone after engaging in a conversation with them. Once we decide someone is not worth our time, we move on very quickly. Where is the romance in that? Our dating culture needs some old school influence. A real date with a friend of a friend that you think is cute, rather than going out with someone you swiped right on solely because he is the first guy in a while who didn’t list American Psycho as his favourite movie.
The bar feels like it’s on the ground.
When I was a young teen, I looked forward to my dating life as I imagined talking to my close friends about the guy I met at a coffee shop. I would be swooning over how fantastic the date went or even laughing about how bad it was! But instead, I am listening to Tinder horror stories. The bar is so low that I feel excited when I don’t get an unsolicited picture of a naked stranger.
“Maybe chivalry isn’t dead!” I think to myself.
With online dating people are able to hide behind their screens and say things they would never say to someone in person. People entertain conversations for the sake of it and forget all the courtesies people typically show in person. There is no formality and manners associated with dating – every behaviour has become so casual and normalized.
It feels as though people no longer are looking to meet a partner in person because dating apps are easily accessible and matches are readily available. Rather than going up to someone in person and asking for their number, people turn to social media and slide into DMs. What happened to being bold? I need everyone to channel their inner Jacob Palmer and just go for it!
Dating is an experience filled with a rollercoaster of emotions that either ends with personal growth or a life partner. While this can happen through finding people on dating apps, it just does not feel authentic or right. I feel like I am missing out on meeting someone right in front of me because I am too busy swiping for this perfect match I am told is hidden somewhere in my algorithm.
While this phenomenon of online dating has worked out for some people, this current dating climate just does not live up to the expectations that I have always had. None of my favorite love stories started with a Tinder match.
Maybe I am just naive, but I believe that my meet cute is waiting for me. If the cynical romantic, Miranda Hobbs could do it, so can I.