Multimedia editor Gabbie Cirelli
What is it about being behind a screen that makes us feel so safe and protected? Is it that we can hide behind fake profiles or the, “Sorry, that was my friend,” excuse?
Is it that we have time to think before we type and perfectly craft our message? That we don’t have to deal with body language hints?
That we can simply sign off once we’re rejected? Delete our profiles, even?
Dating applications like Tinder and OKCupid are these safety nets. They let us — the infamously self-centered and technology-obsessed millennials — navigate the college dating world from the comfort of our palms.
We can interact with others our age — or not our age — without actually interacting. If we like what someone says, we respond. If we don’t, we ignore the message.
We sign off. We can even delete the app, which is what I did approximately one week after downloading Tinder and about four days after downloading OKCupid.
And the number of times I’ve wished I could sign off from actual dating is embarrassingly high. I can’t just click the red button and restrict guys from hitting on me in bars or at parties or even while walking down Franklin Street. I can’t delete an unsavory conversation from existence.
This is why these apps are unrealistic in the way they insulate us from dating’s consequences. They allow users luxuries that don’t exist in the physical dating world. They give us the false confidence to say or do things we wouldn’t do in real life.
In my case, OKCupid and Tinder give guys, like, a lot of confidence:
“My mom says I’m boyfriend material. Holler.” Relatively tame, but you played the mom card too early, good sir.
“Sushi, tequila, dancing. When are you free?” Not even a “Hi” first? In no world would sushi, then tequila, then dancing be a good combination of events.
Am I being picky, here? Or would guys actually say this to a girl in real life? How about this one, which I received on OKCupid one summer:
“You’re so gorgeous, I want to strip you naked, paint you green, and spank you like a naughty avocado.”
PSA: I’ve heard from various sources that this line gets dropped a lot on dating apps. Let’s have a moment of silence for all of its recipients and our subsequent nausea, confusion and tainted feelings toward a fruit we once knew and loved.
If you want to paint me green and spank me like a naughty avocado, that’s great. I don’t judge. I won’t ever let you do it, of course, but thanks for letting me know.
If you actually want to do that, and aren’t messing around, then come out and say it. Say it to our faces.
I’m not suggesting we boycott dating apps and march fearlessly into tech-free dating. But let’s not totally hide behind our screens. Even if these odd pickup lines work, successful dating app users will eventually have to translate their schmooze into the real world. When they do, they might be in for a shock.
Everyone needs to be prepared for what’s on the other side of their iPhone.