Swiping left on traditional dating

Are dating apps like Tinder killing romance?
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As Queen’s students, we live in an area with a ridiculously high concentration of young, attractive and educated singles. There’s a surplus of eligible mates at our disposal, and we’re on Tinder. 

Our generation is radically changing previous cultural ideals of sex and relationships, and the repercussions have yet to be determined. 

After the sexual revolution of the ’60s, society has grown more accepting of sex outside of traditional, heteronormative and monogamous relationships. Combined with the introduction of social media and dating apps, a no-strings hookup is more accessible than ever. It has resulted in grown adults who don’t know the basic mechanics of a date — one thing our parents and grandparents can educate us on. 

Steph, ConEd ’18, is one single who believes in the traditional way of things. 

“I find hookup culture a little disappointing. I’m a romantic at heart. It’s more common to just hookup with someone than go on a date, which makes going on an actual date much more intimidating,” she said. 

Hookup apps like Tinder and Hinge may owe some of their appeal to the confidence of being behind a screen. 

“I think it is less scary [on Tinder] because you don’t have to say the words out loud, and you don’t have to be afraid of any awkwardness if they reject you,” Kayla Chute, ArtSci ’18, said. “You can just move on from it, but in-person it might be more difficult to hide your disappointment.” 

Other apps that take away the anxiety of face-to-face communication include Snapchat and Facebook. Many people use Snapchat for communicating with their romantic partners because it deletes any photo you send after a few seconds, which has obvious benefits. With Facebook, it’s easy to look up that hottie you met at a party last night if you forgot to ask for his or her number. 

So is social media limiting or expanding the ways we make connections? Courtney Bann, ArtSci ’17, would argue that apps like Tinder enable romantic relationships.

“I met my significant other on Tinder. He messaged me first, and we exchanged numbers later that night. We continued talking like that for another couple days before we met up. Neither of us are clubbing people, so I really don’t see how I would have met him without it,” Bann said. 

I’m sure many of your parents have told you to “put down the phone and go have a real conversation”. While baby boomers tend to condemn technology for substituting actual, real life interactions, it seems as though many people use social media in addition to offline contact, instead of replacing face-to-face communication altogether. 

No one would realistically have an entire relationship over Snapchat or text, but they can send text messages and pictures as supplementary interaction when they aren’t physically together. 

As the stigma around casual sex is slowly dismantled, let’s not forget the appeal of going on actual, real-life dates. 

Put on something nice, pick them up around 8, and get to know them a little, or a lot, better. You might even discover that you’ve got something in common far beyond Snapchat and Facebook. Besides, you can always invite them back to your place for “Netflix”. 

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