As I bring this series to a close, I must say this has been a very unique experience for me. I’m not really one to “put myself out there,” but through this series, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s necessary to see what you really want.
As I mentioned before, I created a personal account on two different dating sites to see what it was like out there in the digital dating world, and I’ve come to learn that more and more people are meeting through online dating sites and phone apps.
The two accounts I chose to create were for Tinder and OkCupid. I chose Tinder because it’s a very popular app to meet people close in age and close in vicinity. I chose OkCupid because it was free. However, there are tons of other online sites offering services for a fee. Those sites may provide more luck since those members are willing to pay a monthly fee to meet people.
What I learned from both of these sites are that although they are classified as “dating” sites, they served more as “hooking up” sites than anything else. I received tons of unwelcomed pictures of lower body regions, but also some hilarious pick up lines.
Although these pick up lines and short conversations were amusing (check out pt. 1), I wanted to dig deeper and see what it was really like in this world. So I decided to go out on a first and second date with someone from Tinder (check out pt. 2). The whole point of these dates was for me to find out what people expect from meeting on these sites.
With my pepper spray in hand and location services turned on for my phone (so my friends could find me if I went missing… seriously, I was meeting a stranger for the first time), I met this guy at a restaurant that was close to both of us. Let’s just call him Clyde* for privacy reasons.
I ended up going out with Clyde twice because he seemed pretty normal (and by normal, I mean he wasn’t a serial killer). I asked him what it was like for him as a user of Tinder and he said, “It’s like going on one first date and that’s it. We’ll meet and have dinner or drinks, but we both kind of know how the night will end.” What he meant by this was that it would end in some type of sexual encounter. It sounded to me like an aphorismic social contract.
Of course he assured me that he was “over that” and “liked my company.” However, I found out that all he wanted was to hook up in the end. So I wasn’t surprised when he said “got it. seeya,” in a text message when I told him that I wasn’t interested in hooking up with him. However, on the second date he thought it was fine if he took my hair and smelled it, so I wasn’t sad to see him go.
Another guy from OkCupid asked me if I would be down to meet him at T.G.I. Friday’s where we could see each other and decide if we wanted to “bang” (NO THANKS, EVEN THOUGH I LOVE THEIR UNLIMITED APPETIZERS, UGH). I never met up with this guy, on account of him being a total creep and ten years older than me.
All in all, I think that online dating is a good way to get used to dating and meeting new people, but it’s a subjective topic. My impression was that most people were not looking for anything serious.
I also found a few drawbacks to this way of meeting people:
1. You lose the “moment.”
With this type of communication, you take away the organic way of meeting people. You lose the “look across the room and there he/she was” feeling.
2. You don’t know who this person really is.
You have no idea if the person is lying about who they are. I’ve seen enough episodes of Catfish to know that this happens frequently. Your friend isn’t introducing you to this person, and you’ve never seen them before in your class. You’re going in blind with possibly only seeing their favorite picture of them from their profile.
3. There’s A LOT of creepers.
It’s an inevitable circumstance that you will meet creepy people online (AKA, T.G.I. Friday’s guy). Make sure that you proceed with caution when talking to people online and don’t send out any personal information that could hurt your reputation/ things you wouldn’t want strangers to know.
With that being said, I’m glad that I went through this experience! It was exciting and now I have really great stories to tell at dinner parties. For me, I still lean towards the traditional way of meeting people and dating, but I definitely understand why other people like meeting online. It’s a completely different experience!
Well folks, that concludes my report on dating in a digital world. If you want to try it, I encourage you to do so (just be safe about it!) and see what happens! Stay thirsty my friends (but not too thirsty)!