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Image / Editorial

Here’s why I’m done with online dating (and why I’m going back to basics)


by Geraldine Carton
07th Sep 2018
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Here’s my issue with modern dating; it’s way too revolved around cellular interaction.

Whether it’s via Tinder, Whatsapp, Bumble or a “casual slide into an Instagram DM”, the current dating scene is so largely based around phone time instead of face time that many of us are reaping few rewards as we continue in that almighty quest for love.

From the offset, I’ll admit that – technically – you can find true love on dating apps. My Editor found her husband that way, and a few of my friends continue to enjoy long-standing Tinder-based relationships today. Nonetheless, these examples remain the exception, not the rule. The large majority of us find little success in the world of online dating.

What’s a girl to do?

I don’t want to live a life with my head stuck in my phone; my neck cramped and stooping, my eyes watering from the constant glare of the screen… But what’s a girl to do when that’s precisely what everyone else is at these days?

Anyone who has been single in the last five years is likely to have dipped their toes into the online dating water. Those of you who have tried it, are likely to recall the swiftness with which it sweeps you up; its inherent addictive quality and the sudden transformation from normal human to screen-swiping zombie.

In fact, it doesn’t take long before most of us are actually imitating this screen as we go about our day; when it lights up, so do we. When it buzzes, we follow in bumblebee delight. And when all goes dark after a particularly questionable joke about armageddon… Well, let’s face it, the light within us dims a little bit, too.

Related: What I learnt from chatting-up complete strangers for a night

This is just modern dating, baby

Dating apps were designed to make it easier for people to find their match, but I’d argue that the opposite is true. Online dating is all about snap judgements and swipes before any level of connection can even take place. People are ruthless; and if you’re not ghosted, haunted, breadcrumbed, benched or zombied on any given week, then you’re doing well.

Even before I swipe in any direction, simply having an online dating profile makes me feel like a slab of meat hanging along a conveyor belt, going around in circles until someone starts prodding me with their stick of half-assed flirtation. They’ll poke and prod, only to press the red buzzer when I veer outside the realm of straightforward online banter.

Channelling our inner Simon Cowell

You see, modern dating involves a constant power struggle, insofar as we all want to play the part of Simon Cowell; judging our prospective love interests without a hint of human compassion.

The irony is that when all you have to judge someone is a 2D image, your own judgement becomes pretty one-dimensional. The carousel of prospective suitors represents either the soon-to-be love of your life, or a host of total losers; Romeo Montague, or Roger from Sister Sister (you know, the guy who used to hide in their wardrobe). It’s a very reductive way to see your fellow human, and yet it’s the cold, hard truth of what’s happening nowadays.

The additional problem with online dating comes down the fact that, when the interaction is largely written, the quirks of conversation are missed. Add one exclamation mark too many, and you’re looking at a sudden radio silence, the line of communication going completely dead. No second chances, no double takes.

Related: Six modern dating terms you need to know

It’s not you, it’s them

It’s easy to think that you’ll never find love when all you experience online is a series of crash-and-burns. However, as the saying goes, “it’s not you, it’s them” (“them” being the creators of every dating app ever made).

The issue is just that the other person can’t see the twinkle in your eyes as you reel off a series of obviously-terrible one-liners, nor can they hear the inflection of sarcasm in your voice when you talk about the wonders of “synchronised yoga collectives”… If they could, oh, how different things would be.

And it’s for this precise reason that I’m culling all online dating apps from my phone. Sure they work for some people, but for those of us who can’t seem to march to the beat of the online dating drum, I say we should call it a day.

Online dating isn’t for everyone, and if it’s doing nothing but putting a dent in your self-confidence, then you’re far better off raising your head from this swiping stupor; rolling back your shoulders; putting the phone away and assuming your most powerful posture in preparation for some real-life interactions.

Yes, it’s high time we grabbed life by our G&T goblet and ventured out into the big bad world and did things the old-fashioned way.

Men of Dublin, you better watch out.


Related: Every week Geraldine Carton will do something she’s never done before. Any suggestions?

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