Back when online dating was for losers — I was one of the naysayers who believed that online dating was for losers. But — I did dabble into the brief alternative known as speed dating.
I was living in New York City — and stuck in a series of relationship mishaps that included an ill-fated affair with a married guy who was also kinda my boss. I desperately needed to shift gears and that meant stepping out of my comfort zone. So — I relentlessly begged my really good friend at the time — to take a chance with me — and head to a mid-town lounge in the Flatiron District — for the mission of meeting a bunch of guys in record time.
The evening turned out to be a hilarious bust. Sadly and not surprisingly — the women were hot and the guys were not. I sat through the shuffle of candidates — who looked and sounded like classic nerds — in need of assistance in the love department.
After that enlightening experience — I basically concluded that I was better off meeting the love of my life — the same way we make friends — which means no speed dating or online hookups.
It was inevitable that the popularity of online dating would soar over the past few years — and a lot of that is attributed to the convenience of the process for people who juggle demanding careers — that leave very little room for romance. There’s also the perception that you’re armed with the power to pick and choose at your own pace — and with little or no consequences.
But — as online dating becomes the preferred mode of finding a potential life partner — there’s a growing restlessness that’s plaguing those who indulge and those of us who don’t — as the concept of “love at first sight” — fades into extinction.
Since I’ve rejected the opportunity to date online — I’ve observed the trajectories of those around me as the guide for my research — and what I’ve discovered isn’t encouraging.
Basically — the subjects — that include family and friends are still single — despite years of considerable time and effort.
A lot of the contributing factors to this dismal track record are embedded in investing emotions in the dysfunctional wiring of online platforms — that are conceived to dangerously take advantage of the psyche.
An article in Psychology Today — listed some of the reasons why online dating can be an ugly venture — and all of them fall in the realm of what you would imagine — when you consider that we currently accommodate non-stop threats from hackers and scammers.
There’s also the sobering reality of how unlikely it is to find someone on the web — who comes close to matching the requirements on your list. The statistics show that most people who sift through options on dating sites — don’t actually meet up with the people they’re considering. And based on research carried out at Michigan State University — “relationships that start out online are 28% more likely to break down in their first year, than relationships where the couples first met face-to-face.”
Divorce is also much more of a threat for couples who met online — compared to their contemporaries who fell in love without having to endure countless clicks to get to the alter.
Again — none of these findings are particularly startling — and there’s actually a sense of relief that my reluctance to accept dating online as the way of the future through endorsements from the very people who are now grappling with less-than-stellar results — has now been validated.
I will take it a step further by declaring that the dependence on dating sites has inevitably fucked up the possibility of locking eyes with someone — long enough to fall in love.
A friend of mine recently confessed that her activities on Tinder were exhausting her to the point of emotional duress. It just hit her that in the two years of dating online — her love life has been depressingly lackluster. None of the guys she hung out with — lived up to profile descriptions — and even worse — she can’t remember the last time someone asked her out.
It got me thinking about how the unnaturalness of resorting to screens — swipes and clicks — has reduced us to love-starved bots — who can’t bare the responsibility of being out in public without the security of gadgets — that have been designed to attack our social skills.
I’m appalled at my inability to just stand outside — either waiting for the traffic light to change or for the Uber driver to find my address — without scrolling though multiple platforms — in search of what I already know.
It has become virtually impossible to check anyone out or to expect someone to give you similar treatment — because we prefer the interference of the web over the refreshing view of a face with eyes — that invite us to probe further — for the pleasure of human contact.
Kids are trapped indoors — suffering from the intense distraction downloaded games dispel — therefore — childhood memories of climbing trees and racing through discovered paths for a quick dip in the lake is becoming an extinct endeavor.
Even if I were to succeed in my quest to drastically reduce screen time and revert back to the good old days — not so long ago — when I could sit still and people-watch without the nagging temptation to stalk bookmarked pages on Instagram — my enviable transition will be a lonely undertaking.
Nobody wants to make eye contact and very few of us even comprehend what that means — since our instincts have been formulated to only recognize emoticons — that serve as our dependable facilitators.
Even without the disappointment assigned to the integrity of online dating — we can’t deny that as frequent users of the web — there is a disturbing disruption in the force that binds us — as we’ve become tragically disengaged and rendered useless to one another.
So — the worst case scenario has occurred with the finality of how ambitiously greedy geniuses — seamlessly destroyed the one thing that made us tick without the maddening tendency of clicks.
Now — what?
The only thing to do is to re-learn the basics and pray that we’re still human enough to be human.
And then maybe — just maybe — we can love again.