Atlantic online dating
When he wanders off to a new partner, he leaves one behind.
She might or might not have the same options to exercise.
Even in Super Sad True Love Story—the Gary Shteyngart novel where everyone wears an “äppärät,” a device around their necks that broadcasts to everyone around them their credit history, income, cholesterol, and how attractive they are compared with everyone else in the vicinity—even in that world people fall in love. Executives in the middle of a growing business can be forgiven for overstating trends—as can individuals used as anecdotal launching pads for trend pieces—but readers should take it a little slower.
So rather than go right to “online dating is threatening monogamy,” as Dan Slater argues in his article in magazine, maybe we could agree with the less alarmist conclusion that people who engage in rapid serial online dating are probably less likely to make commitments because they won’t settle down.
Do not millennial me unless you’d like a kick in the teeth. We recorded Pearl Jam onto cassette tapes when they came on the radio. We figured we’d just meet someone the way they met people, because why in the hell would that ever change? At least not since the heyday of the matchmaking yenta. We learned about life in one way, and then had to go and live it in another. The way I learned about boys was in what I would call the “normal” way. In college, alcohol-fueled sex that gave us some illusion we knew what we were doing. I signed up for my first online dating app in law school, in 2005. To not be horrified by it, for it to become the norm. I just took this as truth, until law school, when I suddenly realized I was kind of a grown up, and this shit wasn’t going to fly anymore. This was still the general opinion of online dating at the time. I have never once, not once had a relationship result from this practice. Fewer than fifty second dates, maybe a handful third dates, and plenty of one night stands as consolation prizes. I’ve been out in the ether for so many years how is it not possible that one man who wants me around for longer than a Tic Tac has found and pursued me? No, we have to meet, spend a brief time conversing, and in that time develop enough interest on both sides of the table the one of us is going to make effort to ask the other out again, and that person is going to say yes. You could write “date me” in the dust of my patience right now. The question won’t be “how did you meet,” but instead, “ which app did you use? They might actually find it more comfortable to “stalk” someone’s Instagram from across the room at a party or event before they speak to them face-to-face.
One article* found on The Atlantic can even be quoted as saying, “Generation Y is a fake, made-up thing. To us, Wayne’s World is more movie than SNL sketch. If you were old enough to be dating in the 90s, there were phone calls and answering machine messages and blind dates and a sense that if you met someone, you should ask them out, rather than settling into some sense of creepy comfort that you could stalk them on Instagram later. Those were the items written into television and movies being played out by older siblings and cousins. My mother was raised that girls get married, and she was determined not to raise her daughter the same way. Naturally, a man you’d want to date doesn’t magically appear once “you’ve got your career,” he isn’t issued to you like a Christmas bonus, there’s no more likelihood you’ll find him then than you would have at 16, but Mom meant well. As teens, awkward flirting usually preceded by friendship. The internet is nothing if not a business opportunity, and someone decided to monetize love. That’s how long it took for people to be okay with it. This has been the general rule my entire life, the un-appeal of me. It felt like there was something wrong with me because I “had to” resort to online dating. Nine years trying every app, website, and method imaginable. Odds alone, I should have had a boyfriend this way. It won’t happen naturally, we’re not in friend circles where we’d see each other at a BBQ by accident a week later, as a pleasant surprise. But these people are rare, few and light years between and I have to be patient. Not the generation that learned how to date in one way, and actually had to date in another. Today’s teens will find it odd to meet their spouse at a birthday party at a friend’s apartment. I don’t really foresee the internet ceasing to exist when the graduating class of 2026 begins to couple.
That’s not efficient at producing relationships—but it is efficient at producing anxiety.The people who are divorcing more—or marrying less—are the ones who aren’t going to do as well in the “efficient” competition on dating sites.They aren’t going to gain much from this onlinification. He’s a total stranger I’ve texted with for fifteen minutes. Not only have I met them in person, but I haven’t lifted a finger. It’s all I ever knew, because it was literally all that had ever happened before. There is no romance there, there are no butterflies. The only real boyfriends I’ve ever had, and there aren’t many, I’ve met in person.