The setting: an adorable coffee shop. Our scene starts with the sound of coffee beans grinding, Feist’s 1234 humming in the background, and the occasional “skinny iced coffee for Katie!”. You walk up to the cash register and order an oat milk latte with a cranberry scone. Suddenly, your order is called. Walking to the counter almost as if you are moving in slow motion, you grab your scone at the same time as the most gorgeous man you’ve ever seen. Laughing as you realize that you are both cranberry scone aficionados, you steal a glance. “Is this love at first sight?” you wonder as you exchange numbers and depart.
That is the ideal meet-cute. And I believe it is dead. Yes, meet-cutes have been the source of countless romcoms, books, and TV shows for years (see: When Harry Met Sally, Titanic, Dirty Dancing – the list goes on). But do they translate well into our real and messy lives? No. I believe that the age of the internet and social distancing has killed our interest in meet-cutes. Consider this, if someone asked for your number in the grocery store, odds are you’d be more creeped out than charmed. You never know how these non-consensual interactions could go. With the rise of dating apps, it seems more unlikely to meet your future S.O. “organically” rather than on Tinder or Bumble. Although there is a little bit of a stigma surrounding meeting people on dating apps (and lying about how you met to your friends and family) it truly is nothing to be ashamed of. While the intrigue of going on a date with some sexy stranger is the stuff out of movies, it isn’t safe. Even if the internet has basically ruined our capacity for social skills and focus, it has given us a way to get to know someone without meeting them. Not to sound all Joe Goldberg-y, but if you ever feel unsafe or unsure about meeting up with someone, a simple social media or Google search can let you know if you should even go on the date. Their online presence can let you know if they are legitimate and possibly show you some red flags before you meet with them. Meeting people on dating apps lets you focus on people who you actually want to get to know, who have similar political beliefs, interests, and values. This cuts out all the people who might just want to meet up for a quick fling or who you know you wouldn’t mesh well with. Not to mention, many dating apps now offer a way to show if you are vaccinated or not. In the age of COVID-19, being with someone who has similar beliefs about health decisions and taking care of others is especially important.
I still believe that you can have a meet-cute and start dating someone organically, but I would argue that meeting someone on a dating app is our new normal. While dating apps also provide a whole slew of issues, they have their perks as well. It is up to you to decide if you are done with meet-cutes or if you still believe that you can have your “Jimmy-Choo-stuck-in-the-middle-of-the-road” moment.