Valentine’s Day is slowly approaching. Aisles of stores and pharmacies are burgeoning with pink, hearts, chocolate, and teddy bears. While some roll their eyes to this holiday and only look forward to the sale on chocolate the next day other’s begin planning their Valentine’s Day plans. Our culture paints Valentine’s as a day for lovers to celebrate one another, but indirectly excludes the happily single folk from its color palette. Those who do not have Valentine’s day plans may reach for Tinder or another dating app to meet the guy or girl of their dreams, right? Not exactly.
Tinder- a mobile dating app connected via user Facebook accounts- has made it’s way into modern romance. It is the modern “hot-or-not” version of the dating pool. Tinder’s popularity grows 15% a week and as of January 17th, has had 9 billion matches occur. The younger generation (18-35 year olds) swipe mindlessly for prospective matches within a set age and distance in hopes of finding their companion for the night or who knows, for life. There is, on average, 1.4 billion swipes per day from about 50 million users. It has revolutionized how people date by making it efficient and virtually seamless, however, made an appearance into the digital dating era of our generation. Online dating has gamified and sexualised modern dating.
Though most people don’t go on Tinder to find long-term, meaningful relationships. Tinder has had successful marriages and relationships spark from it’s flame; ergo, it’s iconic flame logo. Just like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn this dating app bridges the gap between other people we normally wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the presence of social media. In fact, Tinder wasn’t supposed to be a dating app at all, but another mere attempt to make an appearance in the social media market. It increases our confidence whenever we have a match with someone. It’s the “Life Effect” Facebook creates but with swipes. Tinder satisfies our need to be accepted and enables curiosity by allowing us to find out what other people’s interests are and if their personalities line up with ours. Tinder closes the gap between social media and physical dating while providing a sense of reward whenever we get a match.
The digital dating era has opened up possibilities for busy professionals, students, and “busy bodies” to expand their dating pool and meet new people. Some people see these dating apps as another addition to their social media arsenal in order to gain connections. Dating apps and services have specified to certain groups of people with specific interests. For example, christainmingle.com connects local christains to become partners in faith and TheLeague appeals to high achieving professionals in hopes of becoming the ultimate power couple. The cute love stories we have heard countless times from parents and grandparents seem to be a thing in the past as people start to say “Oh, we met on Tinder” more frequently.
Meeting new people can be exciting but it’s important to stay safe. Remember to meet your match in a public place. If they suggest you going to their apartment you could say “Let’s meet for coffee instead” or “How does lunch sound?” sometime during the day is a safe bet and you will be around people too. Always let a close friend, your roommate, or a family member know who you’re meeting and where, just in case. If you can, drive yourself to the destination. Sometimes that isn’t ideal but it’s an extra measure to take in case you want to leave early. Needless to say, if things do get steamy make sure it’s consensual and you use protection.
In elementary school, decorated cardboard boxes for Valentine’s Day were flooded with cards and candy or a letter from your “secret admirer’ was slipped in your locker in middle school. Today, our cardboard boxes have been exchanged for inboxes and our secret admirers are not so secret anymore. Like the saying goes, “there are plenty fish in the sea”. Digital dating has given us the key to the sea and our thumbs just keep swiping.