Like many others stuck indoors right now, I’m on dating apps. I’ve never been one to claim to be great on dating apps or dating in general, though, my small dating history seems to re-enforce that. So why is it right now, when I’m not forced to interact with distant family members or old high school friends questioning my relationship status do I choose to suddenly be desperate for a partner?
Watching romantic movies on Netflix is giving me the same feeling that watching a fast-food commercial used to give me. I didn’t want it before, but now that you’ve put it so appetizingly in front of me I’m in the mood for it.
From what I’ve read on social media, people talking about this topic have titled their make-belief partner their “corona partner”. Meaning they want someone to cuddle with during quarantine and not a second after quarantine’s over. Upon hearing this, I had to question myself if that’s what I wanted. If I wanted a guy I can love up on (virtually) just to quickly kick to the curb. What happens if I want to be in love? With the position, we are in as a society right now it’s terrifying. Nonetheless, I’m currently trapped inside my house so I might as well get on the online dating bandwagon.
I’m on Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble, just to name a few. Even though each of these apps claims to be unique, I seem to be finding the same kinds of people on every app. A large majority of them being guys who are just as unsure of what they want as they are about whether or not to list their height. So the conversations I’m having aren’t leading to much.
Is It Me?
I wonder this question to myself as I watch another unengaging conversation slip towards a slow and painfully unresponsive death. I’ve always considered myself to be an engaging person to talk to — in person — I’m great in conversation. I can maintain strong eye contact, show genuine interest in other’s interests, and make the other party feel appreciated. Yet these same qualities I pride myself on don’t materialize on Tinder.
I can only re-tell the story I wrote about in my bio so many times before I no longer care about my own life.
If I was the main character in a romance movie I’d use this time to create a big sign to social distancingly show my love for someone from 6-feet away. Which I’m pretty sure is exactly what Andrew Lincoln’s character does outside Kiera Knightley’s character’s door in Love Actually… So it’s possible. And yet, I’m not the main character in the romantic movie of my creation; I’m just a girl in bed swiping aimlessly through Bumble.
Online Dating Isn’t Instinctive
In an article from Psychology Today, Dr. Martin Graff a lecturer of psychology at the University of South Wales listed seven steps he believes can lead to someone being successful at online dating. Although some of these steps seem rather obvious like #2 the importance of quality pictures to give a good first impression. Others like #4 making decisions that urge online daters to avoid overloading themselves with people and instead choose a smaller set of matches to engage with can be incredibly helpful.
“The romantic notion is that there is someone for everyone, an idea perpetuated further by dating sites offering to provide users with a match. However, the human race is not like some enormous jigsaw where everyone matches together. It’s really not that simple, with the truth being that for some people there may be very few or even no matches, while for others there may be many.” — Martin Graff from Psychology Today
I’m coming to know that I know nothing about how to online date effectively, and that’s okay, most of us don’t. There is no perfect match I’m going to find on Tinder, or Bumble or Hinge immediately, if at all. There are just other people on the app like me, likely feeling the same COVID-19 related anxieties. We are all just trying to make it through this day, month, and year. And possibly if we’re lucky, we might find someone to get through it with.
So here’s to me, logging back in and continuing the swipe through. Making awkward conversation until just maybe I stumble upon something real.
Previously published on medium
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