Dating has changed immeasurably in the time since I was last single – there were such things as dating websites – of course – but the boom of social media and apps have turned everything into something a bit depressing.
I met Loz when I was out drinking with work friends, we were both a bit worse for wear outside the event we were both attending, she liked the look of my arse, and came and spoke to me. The rest as they say is history (literally – obviously). My girlfriend before that, I’d first met whilst out drinking too (I’m not always a drunk), but the point was, meeting someone was more an offline affair. Which, admittedly for someone as socially retarded as I am, was a blessing -because you get an instant feel for someone, and if they like you, but a curse in that you had to be confident to say the words, and appear to be a decent proposition.
Roll forward seven years, and I find myself single and trying to fathom how to date effectively, and baffled by the world I’m circled in.
We’re an army of phone clutching drones, I am one, I admit it, my phone use is noted by all that know me – it’s an extension of me, my little world wrapped into a shiny glass case. I’m not alone in being this way, it’s fairly standard for my generation, and progressively worse for generations under me.
Everything is switched on, and instant, you can order pretty much anything you like from the palm of your hand, find any information you require on pretty much any subject. We’re so obsessed with needing things NOW, everything is so quick and superficial – even, it would seem, is the world of dating.
Online dating, as I was aware was generally, you filled out a profile with your details, statistics, hopes, dreams and expectations all written down with a few of the best possible photos you could muster. Potential suitors could look, and get a fair measure of you within your words and perhaps make contact and see how things go. Whilst that does of course still exist, the process has now been ‘sped up’ somewhat by apps like Tinder.
For those of you unaware with Tinder, you create a profile, with a picture and the briefest of descriptions of yourself, allow the app to use your location, and you’re good to go. You’re then presented with a stack profile cards of other Tinder users that match your requirements – gender and location, and then off you go, you swipe a card to the left if you don’t like the look of the person, and right if you do. Your profile card is then thrown into the mix of other Tinder users and if you both right swipe each other, you ‘Match’ and then you’re able to talk to each other within the app.
It’s a simple, efficient and painfully superficial way of making friends, and possibly dating – you judge people by the way they look within split seconds of their face appearing, their value to you decided by one single picture. It’s a Rolodex of humans, hoping to make some kind of connection – friendship, love, sex, or even just an ego boost – reduced to a simple card.
You match, you talk, you meet, then what?
I don’t know, I’ve not really made it past that point. I don’t really understand the protocols, who does what and when? The thing is, even meeting someone is a bit of a gamble. People really seem to dislike making plans now – I feel like I’m in a constant state of standby – wondering whether the next plan will happen – the next encounter will pan out. Why should it? These ‘cards’ don’t owe me anything, heck, they don’t really know me – I’m just a face they’ve exchanged messages with, perhaps met with, that’s about it.
No one likes making plans because we’re scared, scared that by committing to one thing, we’ll miss out on someone or something better – if we’re committed to one thing, why should it stay that way? There might be a new ‘card’ on the horizon, someone more thrilling and exciting that rocks our socks more than the last one, if we’re committed to something with the first person, we can’t do the potential fun stuff with the second – no one likes to be the person that cancels, or lets people down, so – we just remain vague.
I’ve done it myself, I’m just as guilty – you can mistreat one card if you’re not feeling it, because, more than likely, there will be more. People become single everyday, some through choice, others not, but essentially, there’s a fairly large stack of ‘cards’ waiting for your judgemental thumb. If you don’t like what you’ve got – fire up an app, you’ll probably find an improvement.
It’s THAT shallow.
I’m fearful of how this will all pan out – at what point in a relationship do you ‘retire’ the card? People’s eyes wander over time, people look and see if the grass is greener, now it’s easier than ever to see what you *might* be missing out on.
The stack of cards is always there – a quick swipe will do no harm? Will it?
I don’t know what I’ll find in my ‘deck’ – the next big thing, or just a ‘thing’ – heck – I might even have found it – I don’t know.
Whoever, or wherever they are, I hope we’re more to each other than a simple cards, dreading the left swipe…