I Hate Online Dating (a response to Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari)

05 Jun 2015

My experience with online dating has been frenetic and problematic, to put it lightly (this post is book-related, I promise – stick with me). Okay, to be fair, online dating is sometimes fun. It’s the little fun moments that keep me coming back. Those moments of sophomoric joy force me to set limits on myself for how often I open Tinder (when I have it downloaded, I limit myself to twice a day) or how many months I will go without dating and focus on more important and interesting endeavors. I have to forbid myself from doing something I dislike (meeting a stranger for a drink) in order to open up my time for things I actually love (like yoga and climbing mountains and reading books). It sounds backwards because it is. That’s why I don’t do it anymore.

 

 

A much better view than a back-lit iPhone, don't you agree?

A much better view than a back-lit iPhone, don’t you agree?

 

I was on OKCupid for approximately one hour, during which I received countless messages from would-be suitors, many of them lewd or predatory. I was freaked out and overwhelmed. I talked to one interesting person, but one hour was more than enough for me. I promptly deleted my account.

Tinder is slightly better. On Tinder, at least, two people must mutually swipe right (the action for ‘yes I want to match with this person’) before any conversation can take place. One can therefore be discerning and minimize the risk of a truly uncomfortable situation. Notice I said ‘minimize’ – not ‘eliminate.’ Discerning or not, I still got a message or two like this (WARNING – linked screenshot is mean and contains swear words, don’t click on it kiddos. It’s a real message I got in response to asking if one of this gentleman’s pictures was taken on a farm).

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Publication Date: June 18, 2015

Aziz Ansari talks about the total shift in the culture of finding love in his new book, Modern Romance (which comes out on June 16th). Ansari and Eric Klinenberg, one of the nation’s leading sociologists, conducted a massive international research project to analyze how people today interact in the pursuit of love. The book trailer is worth a watch – it’s hilarious.

It’s described as irreverent (which, I think, is the only way to approach the topic) and is backed by cutting-edge social science. I can’t wait to read it. I saw Aziz Ansari live a year or so ago, and he approached the same topic in comedy. Aziz took an audience member’s phone (with consent obviously, always get consent) and read off the entirety of her conversation with a man she met on Tinder. The conversation, as expected was defined by nebulous plans and noncommittal nuances. Fickleness and freneticism.

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The last time I deleted Tinder, I had 350 matches and active conversations with 30 people. 30 PEOPLE. I don’t want to date 30 people! I don’t think I talk to 30 unique people on a daily basis. I am an introvert. Talking to 30 people at once does bad things for my mood, not to mention my personality.

Emelie Samuelson of PageBreak wrote a piece for Hellogiggles which makes a brilliant point:

I was becoming the type of girl that my ideal guy wouldn’t want to date. I don’t want to date a guy who is interested in girls who spend hours on the Internet, looking for their potential mate. I want to date a guy who spends his time reading books and pursuing his passions, and I would expect him to be interested in a girl who does the same thing.

I was becoming that girl, too. One night, my best friend and I spent 5 hours talking on the phone, texting each other screenshots of Tinder profiles and scrutinizing them together. I don’t want to be a woman who does that. I don’t want to date a man who is attracted to people who are constantly scrutinizing others. But the ethos of the online dating world lends itself to constant scrutiny because there is such an incredible abundance of choice. Choice paralysis leads to a disregard for all choices. Fine when you’re deciding on type of pasta sauce, less fine when you’re talking about real humans with real emotions. Fickleness is the lifeblood of Tinder.

I don’t want to be fickle. I don’t want to spend my time scrutinizing. If you need me, I’ll be on a mountain or behind a book. Until I give in and inevitably download Tinder again. Probably. Maybe. Who knows.

Until I figure that out, I’ll preorder Modern Romance and impatiently wait for June 18th to arrive.

Want to chat about the problematic world of online dating (or books or Aziz or… um… the weather)? Find us on Twitter at @NewInBooks. And tell me: do I pull off the hearty-eyed emoji look as well as Aziz? No? Then maybe don’t tell me.

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Taylor

Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.