After using “Tinder”, I realised that I was, apparently, many, many things.
“Are you a sock? Because we would make a good pair.”
“Are you a camera? Because every time I look at you, I smile.”
“Are you Google? Because you’ve got everything I’m searching for.”
But beyond that, I’ve also come to truly understand and appreciate the differences between dating in the modern world and in the past. Thanks to online dating, I’ve been able to meet a lot of people with very different backgrounds – enjoying anything from deep, late night conversations while strolling along the coasts of Singapore, to light-hearted, fun day trips to the Singapore Zoo. I’ve been exposed to unimaginable experiences that changed the way I viewed dating. Surprisingly, it has even played a role in increasing support for equality.
Here are three ways the dating scene has changed over the years.
Easy Come, Easy Go
Online dating apps are only all too familiar to many of us, regardless of whether we’ve used it before. From “Tinder” to “OkCupid” to “Coffee Meets Bagel”, the number of platforms we have to interact with strangers have only grown, but what they do have in common is the convenience they offer to users.
Users are able to filter potential dates based on proximity, age, and even interests. Some choose to have a conversation via the platform before deciding to meet up, and some choose not to meet at all. This provides convenience for those who are busy because users can use the app on the go. In the past, people had to rely on their social circles or interest groups to meet and connect with others, but now, you can expand your social circle without even leaving the comfort of your own home. Traditional dating? Please, take a seat.
Additionally, less effort is required with dating apps as users can determine if they have a common goal with the other party before taking it to real life. People used to have to spend more time together in order to establish the intention of the other party, and getting to know them in a group setting, before actually going out on a date.
However, admittedly, the use of dating apps can be a double-edged sword. As fast as you may connect with someone, you may be “ghosted” just as quickly. Naysayers may claim that dating apps do not work, because if users found love, they would stop using the app – wouldn’t this render the app useless? But such critics fail to realise that even if some do leave, others join, and as of 2018, “Tinder” has more than 50 million users.
Some may also critique that online dating defeats the purpose of dating, as it takes the romance out of love. As much as it has brought about the aforementioned benefits, those benefits are not the main focus of dating. It is surprisingly easy to forget love and romance, even when they should precisely be the most important aspects of dating. Nonetheless, it is a part of the dating scene now, thanks to technology.
An Open Closet
With society’s increased acceptance for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community, these individuals are more willing to date openly. This is evident with the rise of LGBTQ dating apps like “Grindr”, the gay dating app which sounds awfully similar to the more mainstream “Tinder”. Such platforms recognise these individuals and that “love is love”, providing more convenience and efficiency for them by tailoring to their sexual orientation. You no longer need to put your ‘gaydar’ to work in order to find someone that corresponds to your sexual orientation.
It also reduces the likelihood individuals being condemned for their sexual orientation. Back when people looked for love in places such as bars, book stores or cafes, LGBTQ individuals always stood the risk of being shunned as they had to find out whether the other party was accepting of them, let alone with the same sexual orientation. Now, with technology and increased open-mindedness, it is easier for LGBTQ individuals to date within the community.
Dating Knows No Boundaries
Depending on the cultural nuances of different countries, dating between social classes, races, and ethnicities can be rather uncommon. For example, in Muslim majority countries, it is rare to date someone of a different faith. In India, where the social caste system has existed for over 3,000 years, people tended to strictly follow the caste system and marry within their own caste. Despite the fact that some still struggle to date across different castes due to disapproval from their families, inter-caste marriages are becoming more common, thanks to the spread of secular education and growing urbanisation. The influence of the social caste system is on a decline in India today.
Similarly, dating between races and ethnicities is becoming increasingly common. In a study by Pew Research Center, intermarriage accounts for 17% of new marriages in the US in 2015, which is higher than that of 3% in 1967. This can be due to the overturning of miscegenation laws in 1967, and an effect of globalisation. Dating apps are also a factor for increased dating across races and ethnicities. According to a study by “Tinder”, many respondents said they felt more confident about dating people from different backgrounds when online dating.
We can quite clearly see just how much the dating scene has changed over time – more than ever, people have more choices and more freedom to date who they want. From another point of view, dating has become more complex. How does one choose when presented with these many options?