Technology is an amazing thing. If there were no internet, there’d be no online dating, and if there were no online dating, I wouldn’t have a career. So far be it from me to bite the hand that feeds me.
Still, I think it’s debatable whether progress is always a good thing. Witness the advent of dating sites that eliminate that whole “getting to know you” part of dating. In this day and age, it’s all about instant gratification, and there’s nothing more instant than looking on your cellphone for a blinking GPS light to tell you that there are five men in the bar who are also single and GPS-enabled.
On one hand, instant gratification eliminates the friction of online dating – the emails, the instant messages, the phone calls. On the other hand, don’t those perform a useful screening function? If you don’t like someone via email or after a half hour phone conversation, you don’t have to go out with him. With this new technology and the emphasis on meeting fast, you’re pretty much going on blind dates with strangers based on…what, exactly?
What happened to the part of dating where people were excited about meeting because they had some small emotional investment?
The fact that he’s twenty feet away? The fact that she also wants to go rollerblading in Central Park? What happened to the part of dating where people were excited about meeting because they had some small emotional investment? The best dates I had, back in the day, almost invariably came from a week long crescendo of emails and phone calls that led to a highly anticipated first date. The worst dates? The ones where I cut right to the chase.
I know I sound old here, but I’m just not seeing the advantage of instant gratification. In the past, you’d be of questionable character if you wrote your number on the bathroom wall in hopes that you could quickly meet strangers. Now, apparently, it just means that you’re “too busy to play games and waste time”. I’d rather go on one quality date on a Friday night than four blind dates based on strangers walking into my local library while I’m there.
Check out this NYT article about new dating cellphone apps and let me know your thoughts.