Dating is fucking weird in 2017. In fact, it’s been weird since about 2010, and I blame social networking/dating apps. We used to meet people in bars or pubs, at work, at Uni, or through friends, now we meet them all virtually, and I don’t like it. Even if we do initially meet them in real life it’s not long before we are doing background checks via Facebook to give us a better picture of who they are. By the time you meet for an actual date you already know that they had a great time in Corfu in 2009 and that their Auntie Sandra has recently recovered from a hip replacement. It takes away from the mystery at the beginning.
A person’s social media can give you a really good indication of what they are all about, or rather, what they want the world to think they are all about, and it is very helpful in establishing whether they have a girlfriend or a significant person in their life, so it does have some dating benefits. I often say that I want a man who has no Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook/Twitter but at the same time, I think that it can be a red flag if he says he has no social media at all. Everyone has social media, my Nan has social media, and so if he tells you he doesn’t, then why the fuck not? That’s like a man in 1817 refusing to own a feather quilled pen. You have to move with the times and sadly there is no way of getting away from it. The reason that he’s telling you that he doesn’t have Facebook is probably because his relationship status is married. Social networking and dating apps have bought with them a whole new range of relationship issues that we didn’t used to have to deal with, like why the fuck is he liking that half naked woman’s pictures? Why did he just follow his ex-girlfriend? Why hasn’t he posted a picture of us? It creates a whole minefield of problems, like, should I ask him why some woman called @hanna_xx_87 keeps leaving heart eyes emoji’s under his pictures or will I look like I’m stalking him? Why is he currently showing as being online on Tinder? Should I delete my Tinder?
Our Grandmothers didn’t have to deal with this.
Our Grandmothers got long and meaningful handwritten love letters and we get ‘Nice pics BTW’ and the occasional unsolicited dick pic. What a time to be alive. As a 35 year old single Mother it's definitely easier to meet people online. I’ve met people via Instagram and Facebook as well as from proper dating apps - the internet is your oyster in terms of dating. I’m not out that often anymore and when I am I rarely meet suitable bachelors so it did really work for me for a long time, but I deleted all of my dating apps at the end of last year and I am currently really loving being Tinder free. My love life is a bit tumble weed at the moment as a result though.
Part of the reason that I deleted dating apps was because it felt like the men who I met were, in the main, looking for casual hook ups and no strings sex. This may be different on paid for dating apps, but I only ever used the free ones because I prefer to spend my spare cash on food, Prosecco, and lottery tickets. This may be where I’ve been going wrong. All of my male friends told me that I should come off Tinder immediately if I am looking for love because that is the opposite of what men on there want.
And this is where I believe the biggest social media related dating issue stems from. Since sex has become easier to get, love has become harder to find. If you’re at a stage in your life where you want to have one night stands and friend’s with benefits then that’s great, do it safely and have fun, but I am nowhere near that stage at the moment, I am in relationship mode. Trying to find a man who is also in that mode, when they all seem to have the offer of available, ‘no effort needed vagina’ at their fingertips is a hard task.
Men never used to have this luxury, they used to have to put in some work before being invited back for ‘coffee’, but not today. I have a male friend who is a lovely guy, facially I’d say he’s more John Major than Travolta, and up until he joined Tinder he would struggle to find women who would want to sleep with him. Now Mr Major is a virtual gigolo. He recently took a woman to the cinema for a first date and he got a blow job in the back row. Last week he was talking to a woman for less than 10 minutes on Tinder before she invited him to her place for a massage, a penis massage, and he is regularly sent the most eye wateringly explicit pictures without even having to ask. Needless to say, my friend has reconsidered his future plans and put marriage and long term relationships on hold for a while whilst he enjoys all the delights that Tinder has to offer. By the time he’s ready to settle he will probably have herpes.
Men are wired up to want to sow their wild oats and so if they are fulfilled in life and getting regular sex from multiple women, it’s very hard to convince them that it’s preferable to make porridge with one woman.
When I was on Tinder I felt like I was constantly having to explain that I was looking for a relationship and not a hook up, and very often once that had been explained the messages would dwindle off and eventually die, presumably because they were too busy getting blow jobs in cinemas to bother to make an effort getting to know me.
There were times when I naively ended up sleeping with people in the hope that I could eventually make them realise that monogamy is actually fun, I was hoping to lure them in with a laissez faire attitude and a pretence that I too was not looking for anything heavy. I then tried to trap them with my magical vagina and sparkling wit, because surely that would be enough to make them want to commit? It never worked. Some of my friends have actually married men who they met on Tinder, but for the most part I think that male searches are definitely weighted towards casual.
Even if you take the one night stands out of the equation, it feels like people are putting far less effort into making things work with one person nowadays because they know that by 8pm tonight they could already be speaking to another 10 potential partners.
It’s hard work.
We cannot change the impact that dating apps are having on love and sex but we can make sure that we do not allow ourselves to settle for anything less than what we really want just because it’s harder to find someone who also wants the same. I refuse to believe that this is how it has to be and I am dead set on finding a man with old fashioned values and no dating apps installed on his phone. He must be out there somewhere, probably in a rural village in Outer Mongolia, but I will find him and I will date him.
Watch this space!
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Photo by Gianni Berengo Gardin