sex & relationships

How mobile dating has changed the way we meet people

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Written by May Loonam

Call me old-fashioned, but getting the infamous swipe of approval just isn’t the same as face to face contact. It may be a cliché but I know speaking for myself, and girls that I know, being asked out face to face is much more special.

I’m not talking about a random grope and an “alright gorgeous” from that guy during a Students' Union club night (note here I do not think I am gorgeous but probably neither does he as he’s too drunk to properly see anyway).

I’m also not talking a cat-call from a white-van-man while you’re walking home, fetching your food shop or living life generally.

It’s a scene you would usually find in the latest rom-com featuring Ryan Gosling and/or Emma Stone. You’re in a coffee shop, ordering your skinny pumpkin spice latte – as let’s be honest summer is over. Your Prince Charming of the coffee world orders the same and you instantly decide to get married and elope off into the sunset.

Perhaps that scene escalates a little too quickly, but imagine someone actually coming over to you and saying ‘hey, I like that book too’ or just 'hey' in general, and starting an actual face to face conversation.

The reality

A lot of people would say that that would be creepy or forward, but surely this is better than someone judging you based on 5 carefully selected and edited (and run past your girls) images, and deciding based on those images, essentially whether they would want to sleep with you. You can make your bio as inspiring and alternative as they come, but the premise remains the same. And of course there are those that find it essential here to refer to how much they like to travel, or about how many schools they helped build on their gap-year.

I’ve been on Tinder myself out of curiosity and I can’t help but feel that it’s almost like online clothes shopping. You scroll through images of products that look amazing on the model, and they arrive and don’t look quite the same in person. Or they claim to be a certain size and they’re not (pun not intended). You filter out the ones you don't want to try, and settle for whoever remains.

I don’t want someone to settle for me because they thought I was alright-looking and they have confirmation that I apparently feel the same. It’s convenient, but where’s the excitement? I don’t get butterflies when Neil from Sheffield matches me and reels off the usual script of “hey, how are you?”

I’ll tell you how I am Neil – I’m bored.

I sound so anti-technology and I’m not at all, and I’m sure there are people out there that have had success with apps like these and luckily actually found someone they have a lot in common with, or have a connection with. But I’m still clinging on to the fact that maybe one day someone might find me attractive or interesting enough to strike up a conversation with me.

In fact, as I write this in a coffee shop I’m hoping the attractive guy on the table near me gets the hint and takes me for a nice Italian.