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Whatever happened to traditional dating?

8 November 2017 KAYA VOICES


By: Natasha Archary 

Human beings have adapted to the inclusion of technology in our lives, so much so that it would be easier to create a model partner to satisfy all our needs than to go out and find them. Wait, that’s already happened with The first artificial intelligence sex doll – Samantha – being scheduled for mass production in Wales.

What does this mean for those still holding out for traditional love and finding someone organically?

Realistically the odds aren’t that great with most people preferring the discretion of online dating apps and websites to secure a partner. Thanks Richard Gere for giving us the false illusion that romance never dies.

There’s nothing remotely romantic about swiping left or right on an app or browsing thousands of profiles in an attempt to find yourself a potential partner. Although there are feel-good stories about couples meeting on Tinder and marrying after a few months, there’s nothing traditional about the entire process.

Drew Barrymore’s character, Mary in “He’s Just Not That Into You” summed up dating in the technological era so poetically. She reminisced about the days that people had one telephone number and one answering machine, things were so uncomplicated back then. Now, we have to go around checking all these different portals to find out if someone has left us a message only to be rejected by seven different technologies…it’s exhausting and sad!

There’s also something so vain about online dating, think about it, the wrong profile picture could get you rejected before the person scrolling through has a chance to read about your shared interests. A pretty face does not necessarily mean a witty personality coupled with a sense of humour or, more importantly, intellect. Nor does a six-pack pay tribute to his emotionally stable side.

Modern day dating is daunting, scary and intimidating. Embellished profiles, retouched pictures, false check-ins, it’s like a portal into the dating under-belly where it’s every heart for itself. Catfishing and creepy online stalkers are just the tip of the virtual dating iceberg.

Granted, some people find conventional dating intimidating. One thing technology has done is given us a confidence we wouldn’t normally have tapped into in real-life. It’s safe in that, you don’t have to venture outside of your comfort zone and actually meet with someone. You’re free to just chat via text until you’re ready to meet for drinks at a safe, public place. Or you continue your online ‘relationship’, propose to her via Skype and live in virtual bliss for the rest of your lives, until Wi-Fi do you part.

The thing is people can be so charming online. Your online persona is unlikely to be an exact reflection of who you truly are. We embellish, fabricate, use words and phrases we wouldn’t normally because this is the expected online etiquette – remember lol? – in a way we are online replicas but in reality we are more complex than the profiles we upload. We tend to withold the best of ourselves to fit in and follow the norm instead of venturing out of the proverbial box and trying something unconventional. Like an actual date with someone, face to face.

Online dating is popular because it’s convenient and you don’t have to fork out on a date that didn’t really go well. You don’t have to invest in someone you’re not into and it’s easy to just move onto the next profile you may have banked.

Yes, there’s pretence on a first traditional date as well. People rarely go as they are and will opt for the best dress in their closet or finest sneakers to impress. But that’s part of the first impression and initial attraction. Think of it as your profile picture in HD. A traditional date however offers you a better opportunity to interact with the person in a natural setting with the added advantage of physical contact.

Physical contact! Something we seem to be rapidly moving away from in a bid to live our lives behind the screens that seem to be a fortitude from our reality. Screen-time with the smartphones we seem to be addicted to takes priority over stimulating conversation.

Have we really become such social recluses that we resort to the online world to seek refuge in? Has traditional dating lost its appeal altogether?


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