Research has shown that smartphones are changing the ways we date each other. Not only is it easier to find dates and arrange meets ups, it’s now far easier to never see bad dates ever again! Gone are the days of awkwardly having to avoid eye contact at a mutual friends’ barbecue or cross the street when you see them coming the other way – with a swipe of the finger, the bad date will just become a bad memory to add to the heap.
Despite having had several horrific dates resulting from random meet ups on apps, one Tinder user told us how she’s learnt to see the funny side of it all, and how, despite their reputation, dating apps provide a unique service for some users.
We sat down with Courtney* from London to find out more:
How long have you been using dating apps? And what draws you to them specifically?
“I’ve been using dating apps for the past 5 years on and off and have entertained various different relationships from it. Hook ups, drinking partners, someone to talk to when everyone’s out the house, actual IRL relationships – dating apps can be used to meet whatever needs I want met.”
Having interacted with a lot of people over the years, what would you say is the biggest draw for people using online dating services?
“Firstly, you’ve got options. Dating apps have perfected the illusion of choice. It takes the metaphor ‘there’s plenty of fish in the sea’ and presents it to you in a digital format with a limitless number of swipes (if you’ve paid, of course, because you can capitalise on those fish).”
“Also, people feel comfortable asking for exactly what they want. If you’ve got all the fish in the world at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you ask for exactly what you want? For me, that’s asking for a fish that’s over 6ft and is willing to cook for me, because I really hate cooking and making out with people smaller than me. For others, that involves more promiscuous offers…”
How do you mean?
“There’s no shame. There’s no consequences to asking someone on Tinder to enact some of your deepest, darkest fantasies.”
What kind of fantasies are people asking for?
“I went on a date with a charming man from Camden, who spent most of the date talking about his job and his friends and his family. He spoke about his sister and their relationship (something I will generally encourage, as I have no siblings and find it absolutely fascinating). He showed me picture of her, and went on to talk about her characters traits and mannerisms – and then asked if I’d like to be her. This quickly developed into him divulging his ultimate sexual fantasy: me, being his sister.”
“When I questioned this he replied with “It’s so wrong it’s sexy, right?” I politely declined. We never spoke again.”
Is that the only time that’s happened?
“Another time, on another date, a guy asked if I’d like to try role playing as his ex-girlfriend. As someone who thrives on gossip and other people’s drama, this was a golden opportunity. He told me her name, but little context of their break up. The particularly brief brief lead to frustration as I continued to get parts of their story wrong. Playing the ex-girlfriend meant I soon found out he thought my best friend was attractive, and the reason for our break up was my hesitance in asking her to join us for a threesome. It was quite easy to get into the role of the angry ex. Why are you telling me you think my best friend is more attractive? Why do you think I broke up with you?”
“Before we’d even begun, we’d played out the end. He walked me to the bus stop and kissed me on the cheek – thanking me for my time in a serious manner, as if we’d spent an hour in therapy. I guess we had. We never spoke again.”
And you think these situations were made possible because you met through a dating app?
“I genuinely don’t think these would have happened in a different context. I don’t think the charming Camden lad could call upon an old friend turned lover, who knows him and his sister, and ask them to act the same fantasies. With me, practically a stranger, they could take the rejection and feel comfortable knowing they will probably never bump into me again, and the secrets remain buried – until now of course!
So would you say, overall, this is a positive for dating apps?
Of course! The ability to hide from shame or rejection makes Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, PoF and open forum of fun. Ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it – ghost them! Thank you, next.”
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
All views and opinions expressed are the interviewee’s own, given with full knowledge and consent. For more information, check out our page on How Smartphones are Changing Relationships.