It just doesn’t sit right with me that people under 25 years old have resorted to online dating. I understand the older generations who might not have the social circles or activities to meet a diverse group of people, but when I see a 19 year old’s profile on Tinder or OkCupid, it just irks me. Do you not meet people in school, at work, the gym, or through nightlife? Get off your phones and take a look around. OK, you’re probably wondering why I, a 23 year old, was even on the sites myself. Well, it boils down to curiosity.
I first joined OkCupid a couple months ago because it was featured in a Bloomberg Businessweek article. It seemed to be the hot new app to try and I was intrigued. Maybe it was the researcher in me. I was interested to see how this technology affected interpersonal communication, i.e. attraction, romance. Wow this was very Berkeley of me.
I have to say it was pretty fun in the beginning. The pickup lines guys tried to use on me were often downright hilarious. Receiving flattering messages from guys was also a definite ego boost. It helped that I received a notification from OkCupid that I was “hot” and part of the “most attractive people on OkCupid.” It even said not to let it go to my head, but come on, of course it did! I’ll admit, it was fun while it lasted. Meeting guys on a whim (in public places of course) was spontaneous and exciting. It was good practice for dating and it elevated my social skills.
After a while though, I noticed a pattern. No matter how much they claimed to want a real, steady relationship, it was clear they weren’t interested in anything long term or platonic. Even on Tinder, where you can only chat with someone if you both liked each other’s pictures (superficial much?), the conversation can quickly turn sexual. When I had just begun chatting with this cute guy, he mentioned that he was well-endowed right in between telling me where he lived and that he was a basketball fan. Like, really? Rule #1 ladies: Guys are not shy on the Internet! He might even randomly sext you if you give him your number (true story).
I know it shouldn’t come as a shock to me that they wanted straight up, no hassle sex, but it did. I came in with an open mind and tried to not be the cynic that I usually am. It was a little crushing to have a guy stop texting and completely lose interest after a great date, but I’m not totally naive. I was prepared to come out of this experience with no one. After all, it’s about quality, not quantity. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, cant-live-without-each-other love.” Does this still exist?
Now I’m not completely arguing against these dating sites. If you’re looking to just hook up without expectation of a relationship, these sites are gold mines. These guys are legit desperate. Whenever it got closer to the weekend, the app started blowing up with activity. It was like clockwork. I actually had to turn down dates because I had already said yes to someone who had asked me earlier in the day. Talk about planning ahead.
But of course, there are always exceptions. People have actually found love. My co-worker, who is younger than me, actually found her boyfriend through OkCupid. They’ve been going strong and are pretty happy. If you’re curious and lazy about dating, I suggest trying it out. However, be safe about it. Never divulge personal information. Always meet at a public place if you decide to meet up. Like Patti Stanger says, keep it to a 2 drink maximum.
As for my personal preference between OkCupid and Tinder, I’d go with OkCupid because you can see more information about the person and begin chatting more quickly. But there’s going to be more creepers than on Tinder. On Tinder, it’s connected to your Facebook account and it’s more of a rating system. If you like their photo(s), you can give him/her the heart or the X. For iPhone users, it’s either a swipe to the right or the left. Now, you can only message someone if he/she gave you a heart, as in they find you attractive. This weeds out the many unattractive creepers and avoids them harassing you. But, this process can be slow to find matches, and it doesn’t mean the attractive person isn’t a creeper either. Definitely trust your intuition and don’t take it too seriously or personally. Also, don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces. So far I’ve seen guys from high school, friends of friends, one of the guys from Millionaire Matchmaker, and the ex of Blair Fowler/JuicyStar007. Yeah, I’m not naming names. : P
As for me, I have since deleted my OkCupid account and only use Tinder when I’m in the mood to judge people solely on physical appearance. If there’s a match and something comes out of it, then great. If not, I’m still young! After all, I can always meet people the old fashioned way. Stay tuned.