Here’s the thing: dating apps aren’t exactly uncommon. There are a lot of them because a lot of people use them. Everyone knows Tinder, but there are who knows how many lesser known apps there are swirling around the app store and Google Play store. And we’re not even getting into online dating outside of apps which have their own set of taboo associated with them. As of 2018, Tinder had 3.8 million users. Again, not exactly uncommon to come across a Tinder user.
There’s a mix of user expectations about what they want to get out of it. The proportions of kinds of users change depending on the app, but no matter what your intentions, your use of the app is probably not something you want to advertise to your parents. Even if you met someone great who you’re now seeing exclusively, you’re probably hesitant to mention the name of an app when people ask about your meet-cute story.
So what’s the deal? Even assuming the safest of intentions and that a person is using the app to date rather than to hookup (which is still shockingly taboo in our progressive, attempting-to-be sex-positive society), there’s still a bubble of discomfort around the practice.
Plenty of my friends and family have met their significant others online. Some met through apps and others through paid dating services like Match. Either way, it’s something that my parents are uncomfortable talking about.
Somehow it seems meeting people to date is getting harder and harder. With advancing technology, we’ve turned our phones into tools for locating people who are looking for the same things as us (hopefully) in hopes of turning the tides in our favor. It seems like a natural progression in the age of social media.
Sure the odds may still be against us (how many of us have actually found a lasting and satisfying relationship from Tinder?), it’s hard to judge a person’s compatibility based on a handful of pictures and a 10-word bio (if that), but it’s gotta up our odds at least a little, right? At it’s core, dating apps are simply connecting people who are looking to meet people who they may have never run into organically. So what is it about them that has us nervously confessing that we have profiles?
Our parents (and our parents’ parents) are the most sqeemish about them, but maybe dating apps are like rock and roll. Are they just a natural part of our society’s progression that older generations will always be uncomfortable accepting? Maybe they’ll be gone tomorrow and it’ll be a weird fad we’ll wonder at in 10 or 20 years. But it’s unlikely. Our lives are increasingly connected and “plugged-in,” and I don’t think future generations will have any slower-paced lives than us with ample time to go out and meet friends-of-friends. I think it’s time all of us start accepting the presence of technology in our dating lives, as we have in every other facet of our world.
So next time someone asks you how you met the person you swiped right on, I challenge you to say “online!” with all the confidence in the world. Let’s kick this taboo out of our culture and get on with meeting a few new cuties around town.
Dating apps are connecting potentially romantic partners, but if you’re looking to meet some new platonic friends, start swiping right on Hey!VINA today!