When meeting people in real life became too much work, we went online to date. When online dating becomes tedious (and it pretty much already has), what’s next? We date through apps, obviously. After all, why spend hours combing through various online profiles, when you can just tap a button on your phone? If you haven’t heard of Grouper or Tinder or Coffee Meets Bagel, then… you’re clearly in a happy relationship.
Pshh. I’ll explain: Grouper is like a group blind date; you fill out a short questionnaire and it sets you and two friends up with three guy friends who are revealed at a given location. Other apps like Tinder show you pictures of potential matches that you can choose to like or pass, and mutual “likes” become grounds for further contact. And while there are positives to such dating formats, like maximizing potential suitors with minimal effort and taking screen shots and sending them to your friends for giggles, in the end, they’re all just as bad, or even worse, than putting in your time on OKCupid. Let’s flesh out all the things that can go wrong with these apps, shall we?
1. Ex Run-Ins (Virtual And Actual). While it’s totally possible to stumble upon your ex on any dating website, at least you’re not coerced into a pseudo second breakup, whether by “passing” on him online or in person. Thanks, guys.
Grouper: You walk into the bar to meet your mystery matches, and surprise! there’s your ex. I mean it wouldn’t be the biggest shocker in the world if some random algorithm thought you’d be a great pair, because you were … once upon a time. However, you did just spend $20 dollars and 45 minutes on someone you hoped you’d never see again.
Tinder: Another time exes can become re-involved? When you’re flipping through every dude that pops up on your Tinder app, when, hold on a sec, that face looks familiar. It’s him, or your girlfriend’s ex who ended it by saying he wasn’t ready to date. Yikes.
2. Phonies Galore. Because you can register with these apps in like, seven seconds while drinking a beer and hula-hooping on a tightrope, it completely widens the pool for any type of guy to join — the good, the bad, and the weird.
Tinder: OK, so a deceptive pic is possible on any online dating service — but for something like Tinder, the picture is the only chance you get to make an impression. This drastically ups the chances (and pressure) for someone to present the very “best” of himself –resulting in an awkward, non-recognition when meeting up. Another kind of phony? The guy who pretends he wants a relationship, but in reality will take you on first date to gauge how quickly he can sleep with you. But I guess those are everywhere.
3. Etiquette Flubs. There’s so much unchartered territory with these apps that no one really knows what the fuck to do. Just like it took years for there to be established norms with a new medium like Facebook, it could take the same amount of time until there are agreed-upon rules for this type of dating. For now, you just have to awkwardly wing it.
Tinder: The suit you drunkenly hooked up with last month appears. That guy from your freshman year philosophy class is a match. Your second cousin pops up. There are no clear rules about what to do in these situations. Do you ignore? Do you send a message? Um, don’t look at me. I don’t have a clue.
Grouper: So many questions come to mind. Do the six of you talk the whole time, or do you attempt to pair off? And what if you’re stuck with the one who’s there just because the other two needed a third? And how do you guarantee you’re standing next to the guy whose number you want when you’re all saying goodbye? And what do you do if all three of you like the same guy? Isn’t this supposed to make dating easier?
4. Technological Difficulties. There is always margin for error when it comes to dating, but while multi-tasking on your iPhone, that margin is enormous.
Tinder: You click pass on that cute guy when you really meant to like. Now you’ll never get to meet your soul mate. You liked the guy who “likes his women lookin’ fine” when you meant to pass and now you have to wriggle your way out of an uncomfortable convo — all things that could be avoided if you weren’t shopping for cheese puffs at Trader Joe’s at the same time.
5. A Hit To Your Self-Esteem. In old-fashioned dating if you didn’t get asked on a second date that could obviously be rough, but at least it wasn’t a total stranger rejecting you based on your profile pic, which you thought looked pretty good.
Grouper: Only one of you gets a text asking for a second date. Ouch.
Tinder: You like someone but don’t get matched. Time to re-evaluate your whole digital persona because clearly your current one isn’t working.
[Image of girl looking at phone courtesy of Shutterstock]