Why I Went From Loving Dating Apps to Hating Them
Who can resist online shopping? After all, you can be getting paid hourly at work while secretly snagging a new body-con dress from NastyGal that will be delivered by Friday.
But, unless you’ve got the bank account of Kim Kardashian, your online shopping experiences are more “window shopping” than purchasing. You may take an hour long study break to browse Missguided, Tobi, and Reformation; but at the end of the day everything is still saved in your cart rather than being sent out for delivery.
Online shopping is a lot like dating apps. On one hand, it’s a beautiful thing. You’re confronted with so many options without even having to leave your house (or put pants on). You can view plenty of choices before settling on one item (or person), and make sure to comparison shop for good measure. When you order an item, you know exactly what you’re getting, down to the last measurement.
But, is there anything romantic about online shopping? Not really. While online shopping is convenient, easy, and quick; there’s nothing like the feeling when you stumble upon a cute boutique you’ve never noticed before and snag an adorable pair of heels.
I’ve always been an avid shopper, and I’ve always been a pretty avid dater. When I moved to New York last fall, I immediately downloaded Tinder and Happn. After I got bored of the NYC dating life, I moved to London and repeated the process all over again, this time with guys that had accents.
But every time I downloaded a new dating app, or moved to a new city full of new men, I went through the same process with my dating life:
Step 1. Download dating app.
Step 2. Swipe/heart/like tons of cute guys and get super excited.
Step 3. Start scheduling dates around my already busy schedule.
Step 4. Start canceling dates due to my busy schedule.
Step 5. Actually go on some dates.
Step 6. Repeat steps three through five for roughly 2-4 months.
Step 7. Stop checking dating apps for a while.
Step 8. Get anxiety from my dating app(s) which have 107 unread notifications.
Step 9. Delete dating apps.
You may notice that not one of these steps is “fall in love” or even “go on a second date.”
Why? Because I hardly ever went on a second dates. For me, half of the appeal within dating apps was in the variety. Why go on a second date with a guy when there were 40 other handsome dudes filling up my inbox? Why settle on the first cute dress you saw on LuLu’s when you could browse Asos, Dolls Kill, and Boohoo first?
In fact, I’d argue that the more time I spent on dating apps, the less likely I was to find someone I really connected with.
Like a job-seeker on their 15th interview, by a certain point in my dating endeavors it was almost as if I had a pre-written script. We ordered over-priced cocktails, we talked about school/work/family, we fake-laughed over cliche jokes, and we went our separate ways.
Did I go out with cute guys? Absolutely. Did I have fun on dates? Most of the time. Yet the inner romantic in me (that I’ve desperately tried to hide since the age of 13) kept nagging me that this wasn’t the way to fall in love. After all, the phrase in itself says you have to fall, doesn’t it? You don’t swipe in love, you don’t text in love, and you certainly don’t dick pic in love.
However, Beyonce told me that I could “drunk in love,” and I can’t say I haven’t tried that.
After living in two different cities, swiping hundreds of guys on various dating apps, and scoring free drinks and dinners from a multitude of dashing dudes, I was farther from love than I was before I had a smartphone. Yet, I realized that the only guy I wanted was the guy I met at a house party — in person. I didn’t have his dating profile to scroll through on my smartphone, he didn’t buy me a $20 gin and tonic, and he didn’t have any pictures with large zoo animals to boast about.
But after deluding my mind (and my heart) with nameless dudes marching through my iPhone screen, finding a guy naturally, without the aid of a WiFi dependent matchmaker, was refreshing. While I had selected my Tinder dates based on who would buy me dinner, my first “date” with this guy was watching a movie in his bedroom. When I talked to this guy, we didn’t go over his career history or his favorite TV show. We talked about real shit that you don’t get from someone on a traditional first date.
And now, I’m still seeing the guy. We might not have had a traditional first or second date, but I never had any second dates with the guys I met online, either.
I’ve now been dating-app free for about four months. I realized that if you’re plugged into your phone for too long, you might miss what’s right in front of you. I also realized why there still aren’t any romantic comedies about a couple who meets on a dating app… because it’s just not romantic.
But I’m still online shopping. I’ll never give that shit up.