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The Melting Pot

A digital, cultural conversation

Look out, world – the Ancient Dating Law is in for a change.

Gone are the days of waiting at least 36 hours before calling a prospective date back, or the protocol of instigating a first meeting after seeing him or her at least two times at a party, or the necessity of the long chain of text messages before the “we should hang out sometime” reply.

Dating has been flipped completely topsy-turvy and roller-coastered into the new era. What we know is that the old social norms and dating’s tendencies to define male-female dynamics (along with protocols of how long a guy should call a girl to go out) have been thrown out the window. With mobile apps, people are forced to live in the moment and chase after opportunity. Now more than ever, that profile on a mobile app or Internet page could be the one.

There are really incredible apps like Blendr and its LGBTQ counterpart Grindr that seek out those connected to the application in your near vicinity. Scroll through profiles of people around you and message him or her if that so tickles your fancy, and it’s literally a love connection.

An instant Grindr message, spurring instant meetings.

Another Blendr view. Link up profiles immediately.

Past the ancient days of eharmony.com and Match.com is a revolutionary new site, OkCupid.com. OkCupid’s method is all based in numbers. It collects users’ three values: their answer, how they’d like their potential significant other to answer, and how important the question is in their value set. Through this, the site comes up with a Venn diagram of the person’s compatibility with another. As long as their users are honest, OkCupid says, the math is foolproof.

And in an era based on the “now” factor, a new site called HowAboutWe.com is all about the date. In a Facebook-esque way, people post their ideal date – “how about we watch the sunset together?” Then, they send and receive dates based on similarities, and boom, perfect date, ready to go!

HowAboutWe.com gets people together by dates they'd like to go on - with or without spelling errors!

You think, okay, these apps help me find a date, and rather efficiently. Everything’s going online, but at least the actual date is still a face-to-face thing. Right?

Wrong. The popularity of “Skype dates” and other video chatting programs like Google+ has skyrocketed. Long-distance relationships can be fostered by a time each day that a couple Skypes, which can almost make up for not actually being together.

As seen in superficial Facebook profiles, it’s very possible that an appealing profile could actually make for a very unappealing date. People aren’t their real selves online – they’re the people they want to be. So a relationship formed out of the kind of fakeness that is an unfortunate by-product of some online services can’t lead to anything good.

Perhaps though, the instant nature of dates by using mobile devices to track prospective people around you will surmount this fear. Scanning a profile before making a date fills your head with less judgment than does Googling and Facebook-creeping a date before going out, like this very appropriate example from the essence of dating, as seen in a show that documents the essence of dating, How I Met Your Mother.

Everything’s in the moment now. With digital technology, maybe people will learn to live in the moment better and find people with whom they’re more compatible. People will be more of themselves when put on the spot more often in a face-to-face encounter, because they, too, want to desperately find the right person. Relationships, though void of the usual codes of getting together, could be more fun for a longer time. Because the more technology, the more chances of finding that coveted soul mate and living happily ever after.

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