Proceed with Caution: The Tricky World of Online Dating

In September of the year 2012 a new phone app was released, and while this app was not the first of its kind, it would completely redefine the often vein, always interesting, and occasionally fruitful landscape of online dating forever. That app was, as you or many others from the ages of 18-40, the primary demographic of the application, may know, is Tinder. At its roots Tinder may seem like a vein, ‘first impressions mean everything’, showcase of the old dating trope, if you’re good looking then you’ll be looking good. The way that this application works is as such: the user will load their account with multiple pictures of themselves and a description. After that you are given the option of navigating through other singles of your preferred gender based on physical proximity to yourself. If you are interested in the person you swipe right on their picture and naturally if you don’t think that you are interested then you can swipe left. If two people mutually swipe right on each other then the next step is to start a riveting conversation about the intricacies of string theory, your favorite 14th century composer, the bird you most enjoy seeing during your birdwatching exhibitions, or, more likely than not, if the other person wants to come over. That’s right, while Tinder has become a fantastic tool for introducing yourself to Mr. or Mrs. Right for some, for many others this has been a tool in advancing the ever-growing “hookup culture” that has become a prominent staple in today’s young adult world.

 

Many user have taken to the world of online dating to try and capture the attention of a new suitor that they may struggle to meet otherwise. Online dating has become an active and interesting frontier with plenty of upside and positivity. According to the attached infographic, many Americans have elected to try this out themselves, some even finding love. PI_2020.02.06_online-dating_1-1In this chart we see that the amount of people who use dating sites varies heavily. One of the demographics that has taken advantage of dating sites themselves is the gay community. I asked a friend of mine who identifies as bisexual and is a supportive member of the LGBTQ+ community why this may be from her own perspective. “Honestly,there just isn’t many other options.” She said in a joking manor. “I can’t just walk down the street and holler at another girl because chances are she’s definitely not into girls. That question is completely removed when you’re both openly announcing yourself as a girl looking for a girl.”

 

While the gay community has strongly taken advantage of this new advancement in dating technology, they are not alone in doing so. I interviewed three college age men and three college age women about their experiences on these dating apps with interesting results. I conducted my interview through an anonymous survey to keep the privacy of the six young adults to their absolute maximum and found some very interesting and varying experiences from this app.

 

Firstly, the women all had the same thing to say about their experiences in dealing with men. TO keep it short, I’ll paraphrase their condensed thoughts into two words. Men suck. Lucky for them there are PLENTY of fish in the Tinder sea. This is because as of December of 2019, an estimated 78.1% of users identify as male. (Iqbal, 2020) Women have often documented some of the negative returns of being mistreated in the world of online dating. An interesting showcase of this is the popular Twitter account by the name of She Rates Dogs. On this account, women anonymously submit messages they have received from men that show some of the inappropriate behavior that one may be subjected to on online dating. In the infographic below you can see some statistics on negative experiences.

PI_2020.02.06_online-dating_0-6

Another downside that women are much more likely to experience on these sites is the uncertainty and danger of meeting up with a stranger. All three men answered the same when presented with the question, “Is there ever a feeling of danger when first meeting a new partner?” All three men answered a resounding no. The story was not as likely when it came to the women, with all three showing signs that this was absolutely a part of online dating when it came to women. One woman even answered that question with one word that seemed to convey this issue. “Obviously.” As you can see in the infographic below, this is not a sentiment that is only found in the youth, in fact it trends upwards the older the user is.

PI_2020.02.06_online-dating_0-7

While these dating apps have serious negative stigmas, and in many cases rightfully so, it also is a new frontier for meeting and exploring with new singles in your area. For every horror story that can be found on Tinder, there are success stories to show the positives. When done with careful practices, such as meeting in public places, these sites can help you meet the Tinderella you’ve been looking for all along.

 

 

 

References:

Iqbal, M. (2020, April 24). Tinder Revenue and Usage Statistics (2020). Retrieved from https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tinder-statistics/

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