An exploration of online dating

The Internet cracks me up.

The same piece of technology that drove us to seclusion has us desperately begging on our hands and knees to help aid our search for companionship. There are nearly 54,250,000 single people in the U.S. and 41,250,000 of those singles have attempted online dating, and only 20% of online daters wind up in relationships. Even more astonishingly, the online dating industry annually rakes in a whopping $1,249,000,000.

Yeah, that’s right—online dating corporations have found a way to capitalize on our fear of loneliness. Genius.

Over the past month I signed up for several online dating apps popular among young adults to see what all the hype was about. Could a computer really match me with my potential “soul mate”?

It actually made me feel a more disconnected from myself, and in turn, disinterested in the women that I had been matched with. Now, I don’t want to lead you to believe that I’m too “good” for online dating, or that it is not a useful tool, because Lord knows I need as much help as I can get in the dating department. The whole thing just made me feel a little phony.

The girls on the receiving end cannot smell the overflowing garbage in my apartment, or witness the mound of dishes in the sink accompanied by the dozens of empty beer cans scattered around. But, I can tell you what they do see: a carefully constructed collage of my most flattering pictures conjoined with a calculated description of my best qualities, all in order to prostitute an idealistic version of myself via the internet.

Tinder, one of the most popular dating platforms for college students, allows users to flip through pictures of singles in the area for potential hookups.

Tinder on an iPhone

Based on the persons looks, mutual friends, and shared likes on Facebook you rate them in a “hot or not” fashion with the click of a “like” or “nope” button. When someone also finds you attractive, Tinder alerts you of your new match where the two of you can start a conversation; mind you, both parties have the same goal in mind—sex.

A wise man by the name of Jack Kerouac once said, “Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk.”

Kerouac might as well have just been talking about Tinder. The hookup app is essentially a way to window shop for sexual partners with little indication of the individual’s true character or personality. On the other hand, if you are just looking for a quick roll in the hay, Tinder is the app for you.

Some of the more serious dating sites like OK Cupid are pretty good as long as you are honest and you know what you want out of the people you are matched with.

Ok Cupid asks you a series of personal questions, and based on your responses you are matched with people on a friend vs. enemy percentage. If you find someone interesting, message him or her and see what comes of it. They might be someone worth spending some time with.

The most absurd dating app on the market right now is called Carrot Dating. It is basically a sugar daddy/momma dating app. When a user stumbles across someone that is attractive, he or she may bribe that person with material objects. The more expensive the bribe the more likely he or she will go on a date with you.

Simple enough, right? Check out founder Brandon Wade’s explain of his app in more detail. It is offensive and unsettlingly hilarious. He compares women to dogs…

Don’t let my cynicisms get you down about online dating. It might actually be the future—just look at the movie “Her”. We might all end up dating our computers for a while. I just hope that online dating evolves to include more personality and less accepting bribes.

So if you’re into it, give it a shot—if it works for you, great. I sincerely wish you the best of luck on your cyber dating endeavors, but for now, I’m going to stay in the real world.

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