Jessica Ann Gray asks how we can best avoid being lonely this Christmas.
As we approach Christmas and the New Year, I have seen at least two opinion pieces that accuse apps such as Tinder, Zoosk and Grindr of turning 2015 into the year when dating gave way to what is euphemistically called hooking up – for sex.
To see if this is true I decided to talk to two of my friends, and to look at one of those sites: Tinder.
Apparently 49 million of us globally are using it, with an average age that includes my cohort of 18 to 25-year-olds.
Most of my friends certainly have Tinder on their phone, though not me because I am already in a relationship. But if I wasn’t would this be the way to get one in time for Christmas?
The first thing to remember is the way it works. Swipe left if you don’t like someone and swipe right if you do. If both of you swipe right, the tinder is lit.
So a lot of my friends simply use it to remind themselves that they appeal to the opposite sex. There’s a lot of swiping right and waiting – but not much else. But others use it for the real thing – browsing for real boyfriends.
Personally I think that choosing a man who you know has already chosen you removes the mystery.
When I met my current boyfriend, two years ago, I didn’t have a clue what he thought of me, and to be entirely honest I wasn’t sure what I thought of him! Does that mean that on Tinder we would have swiped left and missed the chance of falling in love?
So are dating apps sucking the life out of romance by taking away the umming and ahhing stages of dating? Or are they just skipping the need for us to sit like lemons in a bar waiting to be talked to, and fast forwarding through the small talk to a proper first date?
Back to that night I first met my boyfriend: I liked the fact that he had the confidence to come over and chat to me, but I will openly admit that it wasn’t love at first sight. It was only when I met him later on one-to-one, and got to see how he treated me and most importantly how he made me feel, that I was even in a position to metaphorically swipe left or right.
It’s as if apps like Tinder fool you into thinking that by swiping or clicking or liking, you are in control – and can choose who you might love – when in fact love is more likely to sneaks up and choose you – when you least expect it.
But, as I said at the start, the Internet isn’t about love anyway – it’s about ‘hooking up.’ Isn’t it?
Not for my mum and her fiancé. They met on match.com when I was about 16. No one wants to see their mum alone, so my sister and me encouraged her to get on the site. Meanwhile my soon-to-be stepdad’s kids were doing the same, and voilá, it was soon a match.com made in heaven!
OK, they were over 35, whereas it’s Tinder’s 18-25 year-olds who use the web for hooking up. So I asked two under 25’s – Ashley and Carlos – for their opinion. You can listen to what they said below, but it boils down to this: old fashioned dating is still the best way to find love, whereas the Internet is better for finding sex.
But then people hooked up for sex way before the Internet – so if an app simply makes it easier for people to do what they would do anyway, then so what? And as my mum has proved, even if it’s just virtual, it might lead to love anyway – hopefully just in time for Christmas.