If you think it’s okay to click a button and get served up a date, why is it not okay to click delete and end all contact? We want it easy, but we don’t want the consequences. We want instant gratification, but not instant disappointment that comes with it. But what do you expect from a virtual date? That the dude will show up with real flowers, engage in real bonding, then spare you your negative feelings of saying No thanks, and coddle you until you feel better?
What possesses a person to download an app, select superficial qualities, and order up a date for Tuesday, only to bitch and moan that they didn’t get what they were hoping for? You got the promised date, you can’t expect to get feelings, bonding, sensitivity and therapy when the date ends. You ordered a live human, who somewhat resembles his product description, but you complain that you can’t keep him longer than the time allotted to a coffee date? But he didn’t text me back? Was he supposed to? But he at least owes me an explanation. No he does not.
An app is an app and no matter how you look at it, it is still only a service that requires minimal social skills at best, to download a date. Though the person actually showed up, you still have to have the qualities he or she is looking for, and if you turn him off in the 30 minutes at Starbucks, maybe you owe him an apology too. After all, that person who walks away is a disappointed customer just like you.
So many of my friends are online shopping for dates, yet they don’t realize that by shopping, and browsing for younger, bigger, smarter, handsomer, they too are being evaluated and dismissed. It’s a market of instant gratification, of goods and services, where people are traded and tossed around, always for something better.
I have no problem with virtual dating at all. I do have a problem with all the grievances people have about their downloadable significant others. And yes, I often ridicule the stories instead of sympathizing with them. It seems ridiculous to me that people have these old-fashioned attitudes about how a virtual date should operate, and all the emotional emptiness this date should fulfill. On one hand they signed up for a quick thrill, on the other hand they expect him to carry you off into the sunset, or at least answer a few texts so you can feel temporarily validated.
There are good reasons I am not shopping for dates online. I don’t claim to be any better than others, but I am lucky enough to run an organization that gets me plenty of wanted and unwanted attention. But the main reason is that my own senses tell me all that I need to know about a person, much more than a product description or a bio could.
I have written before about ghosting and my reasons for it (scroll far below). Our lives are digital, and with that comes a 100 times more friendships and connections than our parents ever had to deal with. Are you telling me that with the four digit number of people in my virtual rolodex, I have to politely write a heartfelt apology any time I have no interest? Um, no. If someone I barely know asks me on a half-assed date, that doesn’t amount to anything than a complete waste of my time, he will not get more than three words back. If some 60 year old grandpa decides to take his chances online, because he knows he would never have the guts in person, do I really have to qualify that with an answer? No.
In today’s world we are bombarded by offers of sex, insta-dates, virtual friendships, and online company. It is a good thing, and I really enjoy connecting with people in ways a slow, old-fashioned friendship could never give me access to. But, the downside is that my inbox is full of offers from men who now have sudden access to me, and whereas in the past they never would have had the opportunity, or guts, or access, now they feel free to test their luck. What’s the worst that could happen? There are no serious consequences for hitting on someone virtually, rejection hurts much less.
And so with online dating comes easy access to people we never would have had access to in the first place, and that’s nice. But, we have to understand that once the instadate meets you in person, they will just as quickly realize you are not the one. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s no time to dawdle, explain, apologize. We have at least 15 more dates to screen this week.
Yet people have these lofty expectations of a face they fell in like with on an app. Sure, people meet online, hook up, even marry. But that’s because they also have the ability to hit delete the second they are no longer satisfied and keep moving. That doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them efficient. We all have to kiss a thousand frogs to find the prince. The purpose of an app is to filter, screen, zero in, and if it doesn’t work, keep scrolling to the next candidate. So is it reasonable to expect that person who has already screened you out, to now linger, answer unwanted texts, and make you feel wanted?
It isn’t efficient to expect feelings, coddling, or too much time from a virtual date. We are all on a mission, and we all have better people to meet. Sorry it’s not you, ought to be enough. Cold? Maybe. But you are dating an app. It’s like going to McDonalds, ordering a $1 hamburger, then complaining it’s not organic. You ordered a cheap fix, not a fully vested human being.
Not satisfied with instant dating? Invest in developing your social skills, put on a clean outfit and try approaching a live and breathing human in a social environment. You will have to be physically attractive, be adept at making conversation, hold eye contact, flirt, subtly indicate interest, be mindful of your own annoying habits, but also be fully aware when that person is no longer interested and bow out of the conversation on time. Not many people have the confidence to actually ask someone out on a clearly defined date. These days, we are much more likely to get a ‘You wanna hang sometime”? With a lame question like that, it is perfectly acceptable, even preferable to answer with a lame answer. Sure, whatever.