I came across an article last week that was giving a retrospective on the shifts in the landscape of dating. Primarily how online and phone app dating ala Tinder, Bumble, and the like are changing the face of dating as we know it. Yeah I was on that train 15 years ago. Yes, I was totally getting my mack on, through a computer screen, at 14 years of age. Granted I had tons of anxiety about the scenario because in the 2000s, the concept of having “internet friends” that I talked to more than real-life friends was not fully embraced.
Keep in mind, this was also during the hey-day of MySpace so I most definitely wasn’t the only one exploring this new realm of interaction. It was a bit of Wild West thing where loud ass songs auto-played and you were at risk of seizure with some of the flashing displays people had. But my first romantic encounter online came from an MMO I used to play religiously. Just like an awkward adolescent scenario in real life, I met her through a group of buddies I played with. She was in that crew. But the thing about online gaming is that the female characters you may find are rarely played by an actual female. So naturally I was skeptical.
Once we added each other on MySpace I had proof that this was indeed a being with two X chromosomes. As we played, we got deeper into whatever that was back then. Phone calls, T-9 texting, staying up super late just duo’ing bosses and missions. Months into this puppy love party, she said the L-word and being 14-years-old, I didn’t know how to navigate all that. I figured that’s what they did the movies and it sounded right, but felt weird. In order to not spurn my e-lover, I reciprocated.
Fast-forward some embarrassing moments and tons of angst in finding out she was dating someone she could actually meet up with, things faded out over a period of a couple years. Eventually she got pregnant by some dude. Haven’t heard or even thought about this girl in over a decade, but I hope she’s doing alright.
My experience was weird and not-normal then and is actually common place now, which is hard for me to accept for a multitude of reasons that I’ve already addressed. Although I do believe the pros for online dating outweigh the cons and traditional dating for two reasons:
- Having access to people you would most likely never meet under normal circumstances (i.e. dating people outside of your ethnic, geographic, social, & economic circle)
- Curating the pool of people you want to deal and making sure you’re connecting with people that share most, if not all, of your non-negotiables (religion, education etc.)
You can get a lot out of the way before investing time and money into a connection through the glorious advent of filtering. The opposite is also true: one can continue to only date who they perceive as dateable. So if somebody wants to only date a certain ethnic group, they sure as shit can. I mean that’s even apps solely dedicated to some of these preferences which I think is great. People can now go out and get what they want…at least on paper.
The hidden collateral for online dating is the inability to make an impression on someone if you don’t fit their prescribed criteria for dating. Less stories about “I can’t believe I’m dating/I married this person,” that came out of nowhere, which I find entertaining.
Love certainly has no eyes because some of these couples out here…yeah you know who I’m talking about. Anyway, I think it’s interesting how the dating landscape is shifting and also worrying. It’s tad difficult for those seeking substance and a bit easier for those seeking the next temporary thing.
Yeah, I’m biased, so what.