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Slightly embarrassed at the prospect of admitting in a public sphere that I would actually like to meet a man, I’d put off signing up to dating apps.
But I’d had enough of weird, often obnoxious strangers.
When we have first-person experience of the consequences of our behaviour, we behave more conscientiously.
When we can hide behind something (like a phone), we’re less responsible.
By allowing us to pursue romantic prospects from a distance, online dating puts us at a remove.
It softens rejection and allows us to get away with behaviours we wouldn’t engage in if the technological medium weren’t there to protect us from people’s reactions.
Undoubtedly, online dating can detach us from other people’s humanity, and foster the worst in some people.
Even though dating apps have a propensity to dehumanise potential suitors, they are a highly convenient way of streamlining possible partners according to our favoured criteria (such as bacon), cutting out time-wasters and minimising the achingly cringe-inducing encounters that we’ve all experienced on terrible first dates. They allow us to mercilessly and immediately dismiss people who don’t meet our subjective criteria, while eliminating the face-to-face element of initial contact. I know he fosters puppies and feeds the homeless in his free time, but I just don’t like hat guys.” This distance can be comforting because it buffers rejection on both sides and allows us to ‘put ourselves out there’ without feeling compromised.
Where the endless choice becomes complicated is trying to form a traditionally monogamous heterosexual relationship (where bacon isn’t necessarily a central focus).
Despite living in an age where your every dating preference can be catered to online, being face-to-face matters.
Yeah, I didn’t realise that loving bacon is a criterion to base any form of relationship on either.
But now I know it is, I wouldn’t dream of dating a man who didn’t share my strong preference for thin and crispy non-smoked streaky bacon.
About three years ago, I was sitting with a female friend in a bar on a frantic Saturday night in Dublin.