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    Life Divided: Dating App or Dating Crap?

    Does Tinder hinder human interactions? Does Bumble fumble with how we find a sexual partner? Anna Lewis and Samuel Juniper debate just this

    Dating App: Anna Lewis

    There was a time when the only way to meet single hopefuls was to physically place yourself in the same room as them. Whether it was a sweaty club, tea parlour, or chess society, the scenario was the same. You talked, you touched each others’ chests, a priest had to be there.

    These days, you can get all the validation of a stranger finding your fleshy shell appealing without any of the vulnerability that comes with eye contact. Dating apps have caged that nervous first encounter safely behind a blue light-emitting screen.

    For some, it’s the Deliveroo of people: a plethora of options available at your convenience. For naysayers, it’s also the Deliveroo of people: leaves you feeling greasy, with the product looking a lot different to how it did in the pictures.

    Even if you’d rather be playing Snake than matching with one, you have to admit gamifying your love life is efficient. You can have indiscriminate flirtations, quests for true love, then become disillusioned, abandon romance and commit to a life of celibacy, all while having a poo.

    Sure, judging people entirely on their appearance is shallow, but at the end of the day you can’t drown in a paddling pool.

    Not to mention the informative qualities of that fair fish-filled sea. Before breakup news has broken, the new singletons appear in my feed, sad and over-eager to get back at their true love. And gone are the days of Orange Is The New Black references; if she’s into women too, we’ll match sooner or later, no need to play sexuality battleships to determine if she’s interested.

    As we all give up and let Charlie Brooker write the script, dating apps are becoming a cornerstone of modern life. When relationships are kindled on Twitter and Instagram, the question becomes – what isn’t a dating app? Essentially all we’re doing is making the same bad decisions as always, just faster, and with less mobile data remaining.

    Dating Crap: Sam Juniper

    The sheer scale of abuse levelled at women, ethnic minorities, and transgender individuals on dating apps is catastrophic. I’m not denying that this sort of behaviour doesn’t exist elsewhere in society – it’s omnipresent – but it’s undoubtedly magnified by the smokescreen of pseudo-anonymity afforded to the perpetrators of said abuse through dating apps. The chances of facing any genuine repercussions for making misogynist, racist, or transphobic remarks are minimal; only a tiny fraction are outed online. You can create a horrible atmosphere and ruin someone’s day with relative ease.

    Despite having the profiles of hundreds, if not thousands, of singletons in your area literally at your fingertips, dating apps occasionally have the somewhat paradoxical effect of leaving its users feeling lonely or invalidated. If you’ve wasted a solid hour swiping left and right  but end up with little to show for it, save for a handful of matches and unanswered messages, it’s understandable that one would be overcome with a feeling of implicit rejection.

    This feeds into a wider problem which has arisen with modern dating: everything you say and do is put under a microscope. If you were to chat up a cute stranger in a bar, would you open with a witty remark concerning something you’d observed about them from afar? Or worse, with an improvised poem? No, you wouldn’t; it’d come across as weird and overly familiar. On Tinder however, approaches such as these are commonly employed in the hopes of standing out from the crowd – this distorts conversation away from genuine human interaction.

    Everybody’s profiles are curated to project the most flawless version of themselves they possibly can. It’s all reduced to a superficial environment where you’re judged chiefly on a few photos and perhaps a bio. Fuck an app. Why not get to know someone in person? The awkward way, the messy way, the normal way, but the authentic way. Ask that fit boy on your course if they want to go for a coffee. Invite that that pretty girl you kissed at Bridge to lunch. So, what if they say no? It makes zero difference to your world.


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