Death to the dating app! Let’s just all ‘stalk’ each other…?

Remember the olden days when a guy would see you out in public and ask for your number. Actually…remember the prehistoric days when a boy from school that you liked would call you at home on the landline and you’d have to yell down the phone “mum put it down, I’ve got it!!” before you could speak to said boy…(ahh James we could have been so good together, if it had worked out I could’ve told people I was married to James Bond – yes there really was a boy in my class called that and yes his parents clearly did hate him).

Alas, I digress. For you see, courting is much different in the world of today. There’s no more wondering whether to give your number to the guy at the bar whose been eyeballing you all night;  the one whom you can’t quite tell whether he resembles Chris Hemsworth or that’s just the ‘happy hour’ cocktails taking effect. There’s no anxiously drafting out that first text message and wondering whether sending it the following morning is too keen. I’m not even sure whether people use actual chat-up lines in person anymore; a personal favourite I once received was “Is your dad a terrorist? Cos’ you da bomb!”, although thinking back on this now, seeing as I am originally middle eastern, this may actually just have been a racial slur…
No, now we live in a world of swiping right or swiping left. I am of course talking about dating apps. I’m afraid to say I’ve had the unfortunate experience of having some experience in this field. We won’t name names because I think the admission in itself is shameful enough. Now you get to experience a different breed of the chat-up lines of yesteryear. They come in such delightful variations as;
“I like your feet” (surprisingly, my feet were not exposed in any of my photos)
and again a personal favourite…
“How would you feel about a relationship in which I bought you gifts and in return you humiliated and dominated me?”
I certainly attracted a ‘unique’ category of men online.

You see, the modern day dating app, or perhaps more aptly, the screen on which we use it, has eradicated the need for the initial physical interaction when expressing an interest in someone. And has thereby armed our society with a new found sense of bravery. People are daring to ask the questions no one wants to be asked… “What are the races of the men you’ve slept with and how would you rank them in terms of performance?” – worryingly, these were all genuine questions I received.

The specimen of bachelors and bachelorettes of course varies from app to app, as does the method in which one may express interest in a potential date-ee. I think a wonderful symbol of the times we live in is that some apps allow you to be judged by appearance alone.

As a response to the above, and despite the joys to be had from responding to such messages as “Baby I want to take you out and spend £50 on you at the cinema and a nice restaurant”, I have decided to opt out of my brief, but not so short, foray into the online dating world.

I am a realist though, and an active player in this digital world the majority of us seem to inhabit. I recognise the networking opportunities social networks provide. What I propose however is that we don’t just use them to network. Cut out the middle man. Why use a separate app in which you have to write out a profile and list your likes and dislikes, when your personal social media account already includes all of this information.

See someone you like the look of on Twitter? Follow them. I guarantee within a day of reading their tweets, you’ll know whether they seem like someone you’d like to get to know further or whether they’re a blithering idiot – sometimes their Twitter bio alone is enough to confirm this.
Perhaps Facebook is recommending some potential ‘friends’ to add. Why not bite the bullet and add that person that you have no mutuals friend with. If they’re going to an event you like the sound of, strike up a conversation about it. If they share a buzzfeed quiz about what Avengers character they are, be brave enough to click that ‘like’ button. Granted unlike Twitter you may need longer than a day to gain deeper insight into the person’s personality on Facebook but it may end up providing a more rounded picture into their character based on the places they visit and the dreaded photos they’re unwillingly tagged in.

Lastly (but perhaps most importantly) we come to the photo and video based social apps. The instagrams, snapchats and other variations of the sort. These perhaps provide the greatest insights into a person’s personality for they bear the deepest, darkest and ugliest secrets of them all.

The selfie.

If you can bear to see someone at their most narcissistic, and still like them, then there’s probably a pretty strong attraction there and that might be worth exploring.

These platforms are also great in that they offer visual insights. Want to know what kind of food the person likes…see photos of the type of cuisine they enjoy. Want to know whether they like to travel and where they’ve been…you’ll be able to see photographic evidence of their trips. Want to know what that person has been up to during that day…check out their ‘story’.

The advantage of these channels is that they provide real time visual updates. Perhaps you’re on the South Bank and someone you follow has just snapped a ‘selfie’ of themselves in front of the London Eye. Send them a snap back of yourself also stood by our monumental ferris wheel.

Why send numerous messages back and forth on a dating app asking what they got up to over the weekend or what kind of music they like when snapchat or soundcloud or Instagram already tells you all of these things. Why make inane small talk when you could actually be discussing something you’re both interested in! And let’s be honest, there’s at least one person you follow on social media you find intriguing and wouldn’t mind getting to know.  If there wasn’t I don’t think hashtag #oomf would exist or be used in memes to describe someone you possibly fancy!

You may completely disagree however and think it may seem like I’m simply proposing that we should ‘stalk’ people online, which I’ll admit seems rather creepy. However, I should note though that I have already heard people use this term. ‘Stalking’ your ex partner on Facebook is supposedly a socially acceptable concept? As is ‘stalking’ a new colleague online who perhaps you may like the look of, so you ‘google’ them or find them on Linkedin. One must then argue whether online stalking i.e. analysing someone’s social media accounts, has simply become another term for ‘researching’?
Does it therefore make sense to research the person you potentially want to date?

Here’s Buzzfeed’s take on the subject:

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