Dating after 30 within the Social Media Dating Culture
With the explosion of dating apps on social media, a different sort of mating pattern has emerged. Instead of meeting your guy on E-Harmony where you’ve been expertly matched, with everything you have in common, then riding off into the sunset, more often than not, we’ve traded this in for sliding pictures left or right and then meeting up for ‘Netflix and chill.’
Apps like Tinder, Badoo, and Happn, allow you to secretly rate the opposite or same-sex person by the way they look in their profile pictures. They are keeping the focus shallow from the onset. Slide left for a dislike and slide right for alike. It’s a dehumanizing way to start searching for a mate.
For the last few years, Social Media has dominated our lives, and now, we are more connected and yet disconnected to each other than ever. We thought dating was hard before, but now it is almost impossible.
From my own experience with these sites, I have found that not only is it harder to form a tangible connection with a person, but it is almost impossible for them to want you beyond a romp in the sheets.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes a random steamy coupling between two consenting adults can be all sorts of awesome fun. But once you’re out of your twenties, that shit isn’t fun anymore.
I find myself wading through too much bullshit, trying to engage with someone more interested in getting to know my nuances than bedding me. I’m approaching my mid-30s, and even men within my age bracket or older seem to prefer quick liaisons of the one-night variety.
Two years ago, I downloaded Tinder to my phone after being told by a friend that she had some great luck with it. I was skeptical, of course, because I’d heard nothing but bad things, and from previous experience, I was so over the online dating scene. Regardless of me declaring I was fed up, she encouraged me to try Tinder. So I did.
I went through the swipe left, swipe right process, and in about 5 minutes, I had two matches. They were all tourists as this was while I was still living in the Bahamas, and of course, there was no beating around the bush. It seems on Tinder, Badoo, and Happn there are two categories of men.
Category 1: Sex Fiend
This is the guy that gets straight to the point. Either he is seriously battling a sex addiction, or he hasn’t gotten laid in so long that he’s so desperate, he lacks tact.
This dude will approach you, and within 1 minute of benign pleasantries, ask you what you are looking for. Then one of two things can happen.
Either he will come right out with it, no beating around the bush and ask you if you want to hook up to have sex. Or he’ll try to be coy and flirt, but you see right through the bullshit, of course. Unfortunately, the majority of dudes on Tinder fall into this category.
Category 2: Nice Guy but a Secret Sex Fiend
Here it gets a little tricky. To circumvent the instant rejection, this guy decided to play nice. He comes off charming and interested in who you are. Asking you questions to get to know you and maybe for a few days or even a week, you talk online.
The conversation never gets too deep, for he is a master at making pleasant small talk seem interesting. Then he mentions getting together, and if you aren’t on your A-game, you may miss the part where his version of getting together means at his apartment and not out in public.
Hang the DJ
After watching “Hang the DJ” an episode from Season 4 of Black Mirror, I longed to have a dating app that calibrated my matches and ran simulations before we match. In the episode, we follow two potential matches, Frank and Amy. In this dystopian future, people match by a compatibility algorithm known as the “System.”
The candidates live on this compound, where the System assigns dates with a relationship expiration date. On the first date, the System gives them a quick expiration date, but we watch as they hit it off naturally. After their swift relationship ends, we watch as they are paired with other people and have meaningless relationships. Finally, they come back together and realize they were meant for each other.
They defy the System eventually to be with each other, and we watch as their world disintegrates around them. This entire time it was a simulation, and we see the real Frank and Amy at a bar in the real world receiving messages on their phone that they are a 99.9% match. They smile at each other, and the audience knows it’s going to be epic.
In the digital age we live in, Dating Apps haven’t gotten to that sophisticated level yet, and so we suffer through one quick expiration date after the other. It becomes tedious and soul-crushing. For some of us, like me, we take long breaks away from it all to regain some semblance of sanity, and for others, they soldier on having an emotional breakdown every time it goes south.
How to Navigate Dating Apps Successfully
I’m not sure that there is a foolproof way of sorting through the duds, but I think these tips can help:
1. Steer Clear of the Sex Fiends aka Fuck boys:
Let’s face it; most of the guys you will meet on these apps falls into this category. The best thing to do is sniff them out quick and keep it moving. Anytime I bump into one; I delete him quickly. Sometimes I call them out on their nonsense, but otherwise, I leave.
2. Make him see you!
Take the guy that is feigning interest to mask his sexual ‘fiendom’ and make him see exactly who you are. If you are an expert conversationalist steer that conversation into something meaningful. Show him how amazing you are if you are that interested in him, that is.
3. Be honest about your intentions:
From the first conversation, you should state your intentions and ask him. If you are looking to build a friendship and a possible meaningful relationship, then let him know right away. Chances are if he is an undercover sex fiend, then he will show himself the door, but if he is possibly interested in getting to know you more, then he’ll stick around. Either way, declaring what you want from the start will help get rid of time-wasters.
4. First Date:
Do not let it be at his apartment or yours! Even if he tries to make an excuse as to why it should be let him know you prefer going to a public space. A cute cafe or a bar should work well. If he isn’t interested in going out with you in public but still insists on meeting in private, then move on. Unless you want a quick hook up because that is all it is going to be.
5. Your Search Criteria:
This is the most important and probably should have been number one. But it is so essential to ensure your preferences are clear. The age of the guys will determine the type of guys you attract. Make sure your profile is succinct but wordy enough that you show your personality, and what you are looking for.
Overall, in my opinion, it is downright near impossible to find a sensible guy on dating apps. However, it has been known to happen.
Since living in France, I have found this process excruciatingly dull and sometimes downright offensive. At one point, I was going on 3–5 dates a week and met all manner of fuck boys parading as men.
While dating apps haven’t caught up to sophisticated algorithms to simulate 1,000 dates before finding your real match like on Hang the DJ, careful searching can yield great results. There is always that diamond in the rough.
To mitigate the sting of dating in the digital age, try dating and exploring yourself. Plan that trip you’ve meant to take, scratch some experiences off of your bucket list, and get a new hobby.
Indulge in weekly self-care, volunteer, and enjoy time with your friends. The take away here is, make sure your life has meaning outside of shopping for your future ex-boyfriend or husband.
Have you had better luck with dating apps? Share your stories in the comments I would love to hear them!