The True Breakdown of Online Dating

After speaking with a number of friends, I realized that we all share similar experiences of heartbreak, disappointment, and just downright disgust while trying to find a mate. There are simply too many setbacks, almost to the point where we stop having romantic feelings and instead date for sport. However, some have more positive results than others. Whether or not we’re all comfortable making those decisions is up for debate.

Something I have not always taken seriously was online dating. I thought that it was weird, impersonal, and a rip-off if a site had their nerve to charge for the service. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have dabbled with a few. All of the men on Match were nerdy and hardly social, and they could never continue a conversation. But to top it off, the site charged a monthly fee. I wasn’t fond of the financial commitment. There was also Sugar Daddie, which sounds interesting for the fact that you’re dating and may possibly get an allowance, but the men were disgustingly old, it slightly contradicted my ethics, and there was a charge in order to receive messages. Ironic if you think about it, but I guess they saw it as an investment.

With such weird cyber encounters, I never considered the modern take of online dating through mobile apps. I tried Tinder once and quickly realized the type of consumer who frequented swiping left and right. I was bombarded nearly instantly with questions that I wasn’t quite comfortable enough to answer. All in all, I figured that I would have to rely on the old-fashioned method of meeting a guy while out with my girlfriends, drunk, and shouting lyrics to old songs by Dipset. Well, either that or letting some hooligan holler at me while on the street.

Adam, a colleague of mine, hailed from the U.K. A graduate from an Ivy League institution and touting his British origins, he nestled in New York City to further his career aspirations. But even a man as charming and witty as Adam found issues in the American 20-somethings dating scene.

Trying to understand the concept of how educated and professional men go about dating, I wanted to get a feel of Adam’s scope of the scene. As a young woman looking to maybe get married before the rest of her friends’ kids grow up and go off to college, I wanted to know how I could put myself out there. Adam’s solution? Online dating apps. He became a bit of an online dating connoisseur during his time in the States and suggested this approach for other professionally-occupied millennials living in large metropolitan areas.

He noted that it was a little weird at first, but that each person should do a form of a screening process in order to weed out options that aren’t desirable. “[I don’t want people who are] not interesting or not in the same universe, who are immature or boring.” Adam said how online dating can be something of a trial stage; it’s purely based on what you know about the person before meeting them. So, no time is really wasted once you actually meet in person.

Though I did agree with him, I felt that dating using technology as a medium interrupted the natural human interaction. I wanted to see how my chemistry worked with a person while in the same room, more so than having a battle of the best on-screen pick-up lines. Or deciding someone’s fate over a profile picture (which apparently is very important, nearly like a job application).

Of course it helps to have social media, Adam clarified. It’s like doing further research to really find out more about the person. Something that we all do when we first meet someone, regardless if it’s online or in person. “[People who don’t have social media], I take that as a warning sign.” He asks them to explain because “it’s weird of a young adult in 2016. They make an active decision not to participate.”

So, I decided to take Adam’s advice and set out on my own dating app hunt. He suggested a variety from Happn (a missed connection if you pass someone in public and didn’t say anything), Coffee Meets Bagel (for people who want relationships), Tinder (which I had already ruled out at this point as a mere hookup site), Hinge (“Tinder but for people who have an idea of their own social standing,” he said), and Bumble (female empowerment app where women message first). Naturally, I went to Bumble. Not simply for the fact that it was about feminism, but I thought that I could somewhat control the situation. I also heard that the app had cute guys with decent jobs.

Sure enough, my expectations were met: cute men, who OPENLY GAVE THEIR HEIGHTS (seriously, ladies, no Napoleon cat-fishing here), and held decent career aspirations. Somewhat diverse group to choose from — somewhat — and they could not contact me unless I contacted them first. It seemed cool in the beginning until it felt like I was doing work by coming up with charming pickup lines to make a guy actually respond. Many times, it didn’t work. Apparently, my sarcastic jokes or inquisitive nature didn’t make some of these gorgeous men feel the need to have a conversation. There was one case where a guy seemed a little stalkerish and crazy, but I simply stopped speaking. Other connections resulted in lengthy novel-like convos that went nowhere, pompous jerks who thought that they were amazing even though they had to use a dating app to find women, and then some actual decent catches.

I did go on a few physical dates, which never happened before while trying the new-age version of the romantic meet-and-greet. I went out with one guy who didn’t appear insanely how he presented himself in his profile (he wasn’t as tall, wasn’t as cute, and instead seemed much more socially awkward). And where he wanted to meet was a bit difficult for me to reach during a busy rush hour after work. So, I was a bit turned off before I even made it to him. I found a couple of men who seemed okay, but it’s still a lukewarm situation. Maybe because in my mind, I’d still like to get to know the guy before going on a somewhat forced date. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so picky at this point in my dating life because of all of the other bullshit in the past. So why settle now?

What I’ve learned overall from taking Adam’s approach with online dating is that you really can meet some cool people. It may even be great for networking. (Not going to lie, I definitely did swipe right on a few guys who I saw were in the media industry.) Hell, it may even be a cool way to find new friends in such a large city where it’s difficult to meet people at all. But as far as the dating scene, it was just too much work for me. It was like an after-school assignment: I’d come home from work, do some mobile swiping, send a pitch if we liked each other, and wait for the man to reply back. And on and on the cycle would go. Eventually, it burned me out and now Bumble is sending me notifications to log back in because, apparently, there are so many men just waiting to meet me. Yeah, right.

Simply put, I’m an old-fashioned gal in some cases. I like to be wined and dined, meet a guy through mutual friends or at an event where we share a common interest, have a few laughs and then realize how cool the other person is. I don’t know what story I’d tell my grandchildren if I met their grandfather on some social app, which, at that point, I’m sure would no longer exist. At least, I’d hope not. What happened to the days where people were so much more personable where we could be comfortable talking outside of our technological comfort zones? Or is that all that we have time for now? I guess to each their own, but in my mind, I still would like to have that fairytale, storybook romantic beginning. Maybe it doesn’t exist anymore, but in the meantime, I’ll keep stalking the beautiful men who grace the screen on Instagram.

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