Hello friends. Let's cut right to the chase. Dating apps.
Like any 20-year-old single girl, I have fallen prey to these apps. Tinder, Bumble and Hinge are all on my phone and I have spent an embarrassing amount of time swiping through face after face of random stranger. Girls' nights in often includes phone swapping and gossiping about the occasional familiar face that pops up. I receive those annoying notifications saying "you've received x-number of likes, go like them back!". Even though the purpose of these apps are to find people, for some reason every time I open one up I feel inevitably lonely. I feel worse when I shut the app than when I opened it. I've even gone as far as deleting the apps multiple times, only to re-download a couple weeks later.
So why? Why run back to something that makes me feel so lackluster? I'm pretty great, just in case you didn't know, and I can get a bit preachy about loving yourself, but I keep these three demons in my life for no apparent reason. But everything holds some logic and there are three main pillars that support my argument to keep these apps. I'm not saying that they're good reasons, but they're all I've got: Culture, Entertainment and Hope.
It's important to be seeing someone. The stories about previous hook ups and exes are almost just as much a part of young adult culture as the actual hooking up and dating. Swapping battle stories about bad first dates and awkward sexual encounters happen so often I'm not even sure who's heard what story, and most of my friends are the same. And if you're unsure that this is true, think of how many times you've referred to a boy in you're life not by his name, but by an event that happened. "You remember that boy from last Friday?" or "Is this the boy from that date you told me about?" are common place in conversation. My friends refer to the men in my life as "the boy from _____" rather than with names. We want to talk about boys; it doesn't make us shallow or boy crazy, it makes us human. But back to the apps.
These apps have become as common place as men themselves. Having the apps keeps you in the conversation. When the stories are just as important as experiences, you need somewhere to get those stories, and dating apps do so three-times over. Having the apps keeps me in the loop and I'm not willing to give up that foothold.
The apps are meant to be addictive. If they weren't, they wouldn't really be that successful. First of all, the swiping is a little therapeutic in that repetitive, senseless kind of way. Secondly, the instant gratification. When you match with someone, it's that little burst of reassurance "I'm attractive". There's nothing wrong with wanting to feel attractive, wanting to seek a touch of validation from strangers (@social media). But the high doesn't last long, because you're not actually fostering connections. Swiping for the sake of swiping becomes dull really quickly. You have so many meaningless conversations about slightly-witty lines in over-constructed bios and everything feels disingenuous. It's different from meeting someone through a friend or at a party, because you're regular people having a regular conversation, rather than trying to time responses to texts that your friends have analysed, trying to figure out if he's just looking to fuck or for a serious relationship.
And FINALLY, it's kind of entertaining to receive just absolutely disgusting pick up lines on Tinder. I do screenshot them all and save them in an album on my phone called "Worst of Guys". True story. Can confirm.
Now this one is super obvious. PART OF ME KEEPS THE APPS BECAUSE I LIKE BOYS AND WANT TO FIND ONE THAT LIKES ME. <-- Is that wrong? Hell no. I'm 20 and I'm single! And as much as being 20 and single is fun because I can use these apps and tell funny stories and go on awkward first dates, the goal is ultimately to not end up single. And not in a mellow-dramatic cat woman, spinster way, but I see what my friends have with their significant others and think "Yeah, it'd be nice to have that". I've been in a relationship before, and pros definitely outweigh the cons if you're with the right person. And frankly this whole finding-me-a-man thing is not going quite as easily as rom-coms make it out to be. So fuck it. I'm on dating apps.
So there we go.
Culture. Entertainment. Hope.
Not the most amazing defense for keeping something in my life that makes me feel kind of meh, but it's the only argument I really have. And yes, I can feel my feminist phase coming on again, and I will likely scrap these three apps from my phone soon, only to re-download on my next girls' night in when conversation switches from school to boys and I feel left out. I guess I'm throwing this out into the world just to see if anyone else feels the same. I mean I'm not going to be writing a song about this anytime soon/hopefully ever, so here's the outlet I'm using to write about it. What do you think?
From me, with love, to you,
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