Techno-cupid: Flirting with disaster

Dating has come a long way since the days when someone would send you a well-crafted letter from many miles away and then eagerly await your reply. Gone are the days when someone who was trying to woo you would visit and sit for hours in a garden politely conversing about a whole lot of nothing.

These are the days when someone will like your pictures, view your profile and digitally stalk you in order to show their interest. In this day and age not only does one have to contend with questions such as “Is he straight?”, “Is she legal?” or even “Are they from this planet?” but with the rise of technology dating options have gone through the ceiling and hit the stratosphere and the problems that come with it have increased.

Recently I was introduced to an app called Tinder: dating with GPS. Tinder will pick up other people within a given radius who are looking for love. You either “like” or “dislike” their profile. If they do the same with yours, techno-cupid has done its work and you are connected and begin chatting

Essentially you are able to track a potential mate like prey.

This is not the only dating option. There is Singles Around Me, Dating Buzz and Flirtz, all of which are mobile apps.

This creates a number of problems when it comes to the dating world, three to be exact.

The first is the number of ways we can get rejected has increased, and if, like me, you are not good with rejection this is a particularly worrying possibility. When an SMS or a phone call were the primary modes of communication a lack of interaction from the other party could be chalked down to a number of things: maybe they had no airtime, maybe they had not yet seen the message/missed call, maybe they were kidnapped by a small gang of space cowboys who didn’t allow them the requisite phone call.

But now we are blessed with the ability to see when people were last online. The fact that they have chosen not to communicate back means they would rather look at pictures of cats on Facebook or tweet about their lunch than reply to your heartfelt message.

The mental soothing that used to come with bringing together your inner circle to investigate what the last message meant is becoming history.

The second problem is that of quality over quantity. One must contend with the fact that if you meet them in spaces such as these then chances are they are also having some sort of “love connection” with someone else. An acquaintance of mine found out that the love of her life (who she had met on a dating site) had managed to find his last three girlfriends the exact same way. This raised two issues: firstly, clearly this was his hunting ground and secondly, he seemingly never deactivates his account when he “finds love”.

The third predicament is that the creeps, perverts and social cretins of the world have increased access to you. With the ability to view your profile on so many platforms there are more places for sinister stalkers to hit you with the “I think I love you” line. This was something one was only subjected to in very few spaces but now all it takes is a click of a button. I have known people to get offers of marriage from a stranger halfway across the world. Privacy settings can only do so much, you are still out there.

Frankly it has diluted the whole courting process. Nothing has substance anymore and the romance is gone. It has become easier to find love in some ways but it is harder in so many others.

Image – AFP

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