Here we are again. The season of love, gifts, chocolates and tears. Yes tears, not everyone is as happy you’d expect. But that’s just it. There comes a time when you are either in a relationship or as Emma Watson (Hermione from Harry Potter) would put it, ‘self-partnered’. It’s Valentines and like it or not, love is in the air. It’s during Valentines that some want to show that extra bit of love. This is the time when being single actually ‘slaps different’. You can probably avoid it for most of the year but on this particular day, it’s irresistible. In this article, however, we won’t focus on the day that is Valentine but rather, on the people who celebrate it.
In The Beginning
The concept of dating began at the turn of the 20th century. Before the late 1900s, courtship was a much more private, unemotional affair. It was a contract, a deal if you will. There were no phones to call and set up dates, no dating apps to pick out your perfect match. Women would meet with several men, with her parents present. The purpose; to pick the most suitable match for marriage, which heavily relied on factors such as financial and social status. In the man’s case, the richer you were, the more likely you were to get a wife. As for the women, the prettier you were, the richer your husband would be.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But what’s the difference. Put it this way. Your father controlled your Tinder profile. He would put you up on a hypothetical account, advertise you and choose suitors for you based on his preference. All you had to do was, look good, get married to someone you just met and then find out they press the toothpaste from the top and not the bottom up. Simple isn’t it?
In previous years, love was not seen as being of central importance to a marriage. If it was to come it, it would emerge after the wedding had already occurred. But with the introduction of dating came an increased desire for romance and love, before deciding to commit to marriage.
Dating Past & Present & Future
When a young woman decided on a man she wanted to see exclusively, their activities as a couple took place either in the household or at social gatherings. At that time, there was no such thing as just two young lovers ‘going out on a date.’ You would have to maybe sneak out to the bushes to see the love of your life. The most you could do was wave at them from afar, but gone are the days.
This concept, explained in depth in The Oxford Companion to United States History, goes, ‘By the early nineteenth century, couples began to consider romantic love prerequisite for marriage and based their unions on companionship. The era’s fiction frequently drew on love themes, while articles and essays stressed mutual respect, reciprocity, communication and romance as ingredients of good marriages. Young courting couples chose their partners, and their letters focused on romance rather than on the practical matters that had dominated the correspondence of earlier generations.’
At pretty much no point in history was dating easy—just ask Romeo and Juliet. In the future, a computer program could dictate who you date, and for how long. This was the premise of a December 2017 episode of Black Mirror, a sci-fi TV series.
Now apps, such as Tinder, with their speedy account set-ups and ‘swipe to like’ approach, have taken dating to another level. Tinder launched in 2012 on the back of the explosion in smartphone use. Just two years later it was registering more than a billion ‘swipes’ a day. Pew Research found that 59% of adults now think online dating is a good way to meet people.
So online dating is here to stay – and will embrace new technologies as they emerge – but when it comes to love, there are no guarantees. There’s different scopes to look at this new venture towards dating. There’s:
“It’s harder and harder to meet people the traditional way now. You’re seen as a creep if you try starting a conversation on public transport or in the pub. I’m not ashamed to say I met my other half on Tinder, happiest I’ve ever been.”
It’s obvious the world is changing, things are different now, the world view is custom for everyone and meeting people is getting harder every day. As an evolving world we’re trying to make everything easier, even dating. So we join these apps to find the perfect match. Some people see no need of going out on multiple dates to find their significant other. It’s much easier to get an app that shows you all the exact traits you’re looking for in your partner. That’s what the likes of Tinder, Facebook and other social media and dating apps give you. And, fun fact, it’s no longer, village to village, it’s on a global spectrum now.
“If young people didn’t bury their heads in mobile phones, whilst listening to headphones, they’d meet people normally. That way there would be no need to go online.”
They say what you’re looking for could be right in front of you. The problem is, less and less people want to even try to find people the old fashioned way. They get to the age where they believe they should start dating and immediately look to social media or dating apps for companionship. When in reality, he/she could your next door neighbor.
More individuals are having casual encounters & in relationships that last a shorter time. The success stories are few and far between. It seems more like a money-making venture based on people’s vulnerability & loneliness in a modern world where interpersonal reaction is neither developed nor encouraged.
‘It seems to me if you use these sites you will get what you deserve. You only need protecting from yourself!’
Research has shown that women’s worst fear with dating apps is that the man will be a psycho, men’s worst fear is that the woman will be fat.
“There’s chances of meeting a psycho whether you’re dating in the real world or online. Both ‘platforms’ involve an initial contact to becoming more intimate … a process that can be abused in both worlds. At least with online there’s an audit trail (a small protection).”
There are those that believe that as long as there is contact, there is room for love and hate. Which is true. Most times it depends on how you handle the situation, what you bring to the table.
The old fashioned
So glad I dated (and eventually met my wife) the old fashioned way.
A smile, a look, getting up the courage to ask…all seemed very natural. I know the landscape has changed, but it seems to me you don’t get someone’s true character through a screen or carefully worded profile.
The way a person stands, engages with others, laughs, smiles…these are all part of the attraction.
Actually hearing a cell phone ring these days is kind of like seeing a unicorn—only less majestic and way more awkward. But since texting rules get more complicated with each new dating guide (the proper reply delay time is the current time on a 24 hour clock divided by two, minus the square root of nine plus the number that corresponds to your mood on the chart of your choice, right?) a simple phone call to set up a date is looking awfully tempting. Sure, we didn’t particularly enjoy those two-hours of telling each other to hang up at the end, but at least we knew where we were going to meet more than five minutes in advance.
Dating apps and social media
They have reduced social media to a bare minimum. This isn’t necessarily terrible as it helps you pick the ‘perfect’ match. With this however you may never be too sure. Apps let people doctor their details, change a few factors and hide their true identities. No one wants to post about their failures and struggles. All we see online is the perfect self we let the world know.
The problem comes in when you finally get into a relationship. You see someone fail or struggle and realize you did not sign up for this. Most people would opt out of a relationship over a simple fight. Reason being, there’s so many other people who could keep them happier instead of trying to solve the issues.
Sex and Relationships
The way in which two people experienced sexuality when dating also shifted. In the earlier part of the 20th century, sex and sexuality were not openly discussed.
As author Jodi O’Brien put it, ‘Sex was desexualized’ and reserved for marriage, when the couple had entered into a spiritual union with God. As dating gradually became more about personal pleasure throughout the decades, the expression of sexuality became much more commonplace.
There were no rules for dating anymore. Young people did what they wanted, when they wanted, and modern-day ‘hook up’ culture began.
‘For youth of the 1960s, such restrictions were a thing of the past. Many young women took birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. They freely explored their sexual feelings. Sex before marriage was no longer taboo. Young people extolled the benefits of ‘free love’— that is, making love without marriage or long-term commitments.’
Social media has really changed the perspective of app. The phrase “everyone is doing it” span across social media causing a ripple effect on the younger generation. No one wanted to feel left out. If everyone is doing it, then if you can’t beat them join them. People are fond of posting about their sexual prowess and this struck a large nerve in the dating scenario.
On the other hand, the same apps give us important information about sex education you don’t necessarily get in school. I remember when I was a child, saying ‘kiss’ always made us giggle. Thinking about sex was practically illegal. Nowadays, kids as young as 10 years old know and understand that children don’t come from the baby supermarket.
Are they building or breaking relationships? Well, it all depends on how you use this information. How you use social media and dating apps to your benefit. Tinder just added a panic button to their app citing multiple cases of catfishing and misconduct during dates. This shows that we need to be more careful on who we decide to pick as our s/o.
If you are on the app just to meet and greet, that’s up to you. If you’re there to find your soulmate, then take your time and get ready to get hurt. No pain, no gain. So should you decide to go the traditional or modern way, be careful, stay vigilant and be patient.