You don't have to be a sociologist to note that over the past few decades the structure of human interaction has drastically transformed. Certain behaviors that were common practice, sometimes even instinctual, have slowly become archaic. Gone are the days of actually having a conversation while out to dinner with your best gals. Beyonce just dropped her birth announcement on Instagram, let us flock to her comments and chat about it there. It may sound as though I'm ragging on my fellow millennials, but that's because I am. Actually, that's a conversation for another day. The reality is that, for many of us, our reality exist behind a screen and validation is quantified by the number next to that little thumb or heart. Alas, I'm a realist today, and with that undersanding I accept that this truth means my everyday interactions currently, may not be as I'd imagined 10 or so years ago. Primarily I'm referring to interactions with others in a romantic sense. Because lets face it, the term "interaction" implies reciprocation and me giving the girl I rode the bus with in 9th grade seven "heart eyes" emojis while she lip syncs to Normal Girl is anything but. I'm fine with this. Like girl...you cute af. Your highlight is gleaming and I support that, but I didn't NEED that. However, I do need to be loved and experience affection. Preferably from someone who really digs and understands me and I, them. With our stream of consciousness moving a gazillion miles a minute, am I really expected to find my soualmate while casually strolling through the
self-help world travel section at Barnes and Noble? Probz not. That someone is likely somewhere building a house out of only recycled materials or creating a Indica-Sativa blend microbrew but certainly too busy to read books let alone shop for them in an actial store. And me, well I'm writing this blog post. Either way, the next best option is to meet strangers on the internet. Now, at 17 years old my idea of "online dating" was, well... To Catch a Preditor basically. But as I got older I realized the internet is, in fact, full of sick and twisted perverts BUT they are few and far between. After speaking with a few friends who were venturing to social meadia for their own dating endeavors, I'd give it a try. Here's what I learned...
Dating sites allow people to be more up front, sooner. When I tell people that I have a Tinder profile their knee-jerk reaction is usually, *clutches pearls* ISN'T THAT A HOOKUP APP?!?!. Um, chill B. It's whatever you want it to be and that's awesome. Some people like having casual sex (not a new concept) and it seems to me that people are more inclined to be honest when you can't look them directly in the eye. The veil that the app provides takes away pressure to be what others expect you to be. so, if a NSA (no strings attached) romp is your goal, say that...if your match is not, move on, before the bill ever arrives.
The world wide web is a great place to broaden your horizons. For those of us not interested in coupling with someone from the same zip code that we grew up in, dating apps afford you the opportunity to see "what's out there". The majority of my partnered friends connected with their significant others through either school or work. Unfortunately my post secondary schooling wasn't very traditional in the, massive- university-with-thousands-of-young-adults-from-all-different-parts-of-the-country, sense of the word therefore my options were painstakingly slim. As for work, I work with only women, and my clientele is 100% pregnant women. Not really my thing. Likewise, when considering those of us who don't fit in to the hetero-normative dating space, and may already only barely wallow in a kitty sized dating pool, online options provide a place for like-minded individuals to congregate, hence, increasing the likelihood of a rewarding connection.
At the very least you may make a few friends. Though some of my matches have been misses, that doesn't mean they were failures. I've acquired a few friendships along the way. Like real ones, that I'm confident will last the rest of my adult life. I like real and I like friends so I'm okay with this outcome. Furthermore, I've even come across a few profiles that are only looking for friends. Maybe you've just relocated to a new area or you're only in town for a few weeks and need a companion to share a few laughs, a few drinks and that's all.
So what are the downsides you might ask? Aside from the occasional catfish....seriously, catfishing is a difficult concept for me to grasp. If they won't allow me to see their face I'm gonna assume this person isn't who they're claiming to be... My greatest qualm is that, because most apps and websites are limited by a certain mile radius, your realistic options are limited to those in your region. As you could imagine growing up and residing in the bible belt/ dirty (depending on how you flip it) south my prospective matches, in large part, fall into two main categories. First type, the right winged bible thumpers. You know the type... the hunters and fishermen decked out in head to toe Realtree camo , donning a Georgia Bulldogs baseball cap. Their profile usually describes an "outdoorsy type" who supports Trump, prefers blondes and that his two sons Brayden and Jaxson, are his entire world. On the extreme other hand you'll catch a lot of the wannabe entrepreneurs and CEOs of some nondescript entertainment company *insert eye roll*. Their collection of photos includes posing next to the newest Bentley at a car show and at least one pic in the VIP section of somebody's club clutching a bottle of the Hennesy that they're probably sharing with 12 of their closest homeboys. There's likely a shirtless mirror selfie, just in case taco-meat chest hair is what really gets you going. And to round out the album they must include a pic accentuating their waves or baby locks. If there's even a description at all, it usually explains that they #staygrinding and chasing paper is their number one priority. Oh and if you're a lame ass hoe who ain't got her own, swipe left bitch. Live your best life guys. That being said I've personally found more luck, more often, in progressive and artistically inclined parts of the country.
Ultimately, I believe dating apps may be an integral part of the future of love and relationships. Whether you're simply trying to promote your new music on SoundCloud or searching for the one, playboys and swinger couples alike all across the world are finding it easier to connect with persons of interest. It truly is what you make it and as with anything the vibrations you emit are gonna affect the energy you receive in return. As for me, I generally possess a hopeless romantic outlook when it comes to my love life. Call me crazy, but I believe the spark that lies within the instantaneous physical attraction between two individuals can ignite a flame for sure *Kanye shrug*. The notion of old fashioned courtship isn't lost on me either, but for the time being I'll continue to swipe BUT I'll do so while enjoying my latte in Barnes & Noble.