Tinder is the latest “online dating” app on every Uptown Dallasite’s iPhone. What is it? Well, binders full of women! On your phone! Apparently this App is so cool people have forgotten all about the fact that only “losers” date online.
It works like this: a picture appears on your screen and you have two options, a heart or an “X.” When that person sees your photo and clicks the heart, a message is sent to both you announcing your match. Then, a chat window opens up and you can message your crush. The app connects to your Facebook, showing you and your potential match’s mutual friends and interests.
Online dating is everywhere now. From the early days of Match.com (a Dallas company btw!) and eHarmony, to OkCupid and now SugarDaddy.com, more and more people are signing up. There are even sites for specific populations, like the popular gay men’s app, Grindr, or even more obscure ones like DateCraft (for World of Warcraft fans) or Lovebitten (dating for vampires).
As a gay man it is hard to find compatible mates for many reasons, so I downloaded Jack’d. Suddenly I had so many men right in front of me, only a quick message away. Within minutes of joining I had a dozen messages! OMG! It led to several dates, lots of messages from shady dudes who only want to hook up, closeted “discreet” frat bros who also only wanted to hook up and “nice guys” who, you’ll never guess, also just wanted to hook up.
The dates I had never went anywhere. We both had a great time. We both had alot in common! They were attractive, smart and everything I was looking for. So why did it not work?
Online dating’s perk is also its downfall. With so many people available in an instant, what makes you so special? Why should someone commit to you? After all they may like you fine but what if someone you like better comes along? That is one loaded question and a scary one. The truth is that it is very likely your ideal, dream match exists somewhere in the world. What are the odds your “soulmate” is right here in your city? Very slim.
There is so much to enjoy about a relationship, but also it has it’s fair share of problems too. No pair, no matter how compatible, will agree 100% all the time. Why does my mom put up with my dad’s quirks? “Because I love him,” she always says enthusiastically. I’ve never dared ask, “well why do you love him?” Perhaps I will one day. They will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year.
Everyone imagines what they’re looking for in a mate. Every also imagines how they’d like their life to turn out one day. My criteria ranges far and wide. The basic: college-graduate. The silly: must love Mexican food. The shallow: I really dig a guy in Brooks Brothers. The spiritual: I will not date an atheist.
All those criteria aside, let’s be honest. We message people online that we think are hot! But “hot” is only part of attraction. What these apps can never show us: chemistry. From our first school yard crushes, we find people in life that we just can’t help but be drawn to, sometimes people we know nothing about! An attraction that powerful often renders that “perfect dream guy” list in our heads useless. What I’ve also seen happen is that a guy who meets all those criteria can still be a total jerk, a workaholic, immature or all of the above.
So back to those first dates. You’ve had a great time, everything went well. You’re saying goodbye. Do you feel that “spark?” If not, you go back to wandering through more online profiles. Or how about this: was he perfect in every way except for that one thing? Well again, back to wandering more profiles, always searching for the one who will fit that entire list of traits you seek.
Are these scenarios a fundamental flaw in the online dating app? Or is it just the regular process of dating in hyperdrive? People who meet the natural way have average dates too. What confuses me are people’s refusal to let the process happen naturally. Online daters seem to give you one shot, and one shot only to pitch yourselves to them. Attraction doesn’t develop instantly. But with so many people available now, why bother? Maybe someone is out there who can impress you that much in a two-hour dinner date.
What I also will never understand and have absolutely no ideas about: they don’t ever want to meet again but they ‘like’ every Facebook status of yours and Instagram pictures?
My conclusion: I’ll only be 22 this year. I’m not going to panic yet. Maybe something just “clicks” in our late twenties that makes us want to settle down. But I sure am sick of all this bull $&!+ in the meantime! All I want is to meet someone great! But that takes time, energy and patience; things we all desperately need more of.