Sitting on a flight back from LA, I was lucky enough to endure the six-hour flight with a Sex and the City marathon. Like most 20-somethings living in New York City, I relate to the dating misgivings that Carrie Bradshaw frequently experiences on the show. Only addressing the men that pass through my life with descriptive titles like the lawyer, the actor, the guy from the party, etc., I’m careful not to give anyone a name because chances are they won’t last long enough for it to even matter. And like most single women dating in NYC, we yearn for more than the unfortunate one night stand or fleeting romance that plagues the city. If you find yourself in a relationship, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, it’s a constant battle of the head and the heart to decipher what is real and what is fake. Or in most cases, who is looking for love and who is looking to get into your pants.
Spending the last year and a half single in the Greater New York area has proved that dating is more than challenging. As a woman, you are a dime a dozen and competing with unknown competition. You can be pretty, funny, and intelligent but it still won’t be enough to get a man to call you back or take you out to dinner 75% of the time. If a guy really likes you he will do more than buy you a drink; or he may be trying exceptionally hard to sleep with you.
My single friends from all over the country will tell you dating today isn’t just a challenge in NYC, it’s everywhere. In a sex-fueled society, how does a nice girl meet a decent guy? Guys, vice versa.
Technology and social media are killing our interpersonal relationships. In high school, AIM Messenger and chat rooms were a way to instantly connect with people locally and all over the world. It also served as a medium for people to fearlessly type their feelings away behind the safety of a computer screen. Often times what was exposed over dial-up internet was never spoken in person. Social networks like Myspace quickly gained popularity and profile searching and trolling began. Myspace became a way to stay connected with friends and find new people with similar interest. By creating a profile and freely typing my thoughts and feelings on the World Wide Web, I met different people and even dated a few. I started navigating the online dating world before it was considered acceptable and wouldn’t dare tell people that I met someone online.
Today, online dating is no longer taboo. It’s often suggested as a dating method boasting highly touted matching systems. However, the market is over saturated. OkCupid has roughly 3.8 million active users and about 400,000 users in the New York City area alone. Tinder churns out 4.5 million matches a day. Your chances are better walking into a bar and meeting the love of your life than doing so online. On OkCupid, my inbox is flooded with dozens of messages a day. It’s overwhelming and hard to decide who deserves a reply; especially when you and your friend are sitting at brunch joking about the app and receive the same exact message from the same guy 30 seconds apart. Guys frequently spam girls with the same message hoping it’s enough to garner a response. I’ve activated and deactivated the account so many times that the same guys still attempt to message me months later not even realizing they already tried. The few guys that I actually entertained a date with, well that’s all it was, entertainment.
At the age of 15, the most powerful technological tool that would forever change the way we communicate was dropped into my hands, the cellphone. Texting soon replaced talking on the phone leaving us to interpret words on a screen. Gone were the days in which the inflection in speech would help determine someone’s feelings. Instead we were left with black text inside a plastic box and asking our friends what do you think he means by this? Whether it was online or over the phone, typing became the new way to communicate and face-to-face interaction slowly decreased.
Texting, Gchats, Facebook messages, and emails have replaced majority of our in-person and over the phone conversations, essentially killing our ability to form deeper interpersonal relationships. With our dependency on social media and technology to maintain our current relationships, it’s no wonder why wires get crossed trying to make new ones. The number of ways and ease in which we instantly communicate ironically makes a deeper, longstanding connection more difficult. Bored with one person? Text another. Are they taking too long to answer? Message someone else.
Instead of relying so heavily on online dating apps and websites, maybe we need to try dating the old fashion way and start introducing ourselves in person. Or maybe pick up the phone and give someone we’re interested in a call. In the meantime, I’ll continue to swipe left.
Oh look, another OkCupid message…