Imagine an elderly couple sitting on a park bench holding hands. The wife has her head on her husband’s shoulder as he softly rubs the back of her hand. They talk about their day and reminisce about the past.
Cute, right? We all dream of this picturesque love that spans generations, yet never wavers in strength. You can probably imagine the way this sweet, imaginary couple might have met. Maybe she was a nurse in the war, and he was an injured soldier.
Perhaps they met in a bar with mutual friends. Or possibly they’ve known each other since they were kids and are high school sweethearts. Sure, this is just a made-up example, but there are many real-life stories out there just like this one.
You might say, “of course they met that way, it was the ‘old days,’ before the internet and smartphones.” While that is true, I still think there is something special to be said about it. Call me old-fashioned, but I think we are meant to meet and interact this way. We are not meant to be placed on display so people can “swipe left” or “swipe right” if they find us attractive. We shouldn’t be paired up based on predetermined algorithms, or who is physically nearby.
I don’t want to discount the beautiful relationships that may have blossomed from new aged dating habits. I know there are people out there who swear by dating sites and apps – I’m just not one of them.
Think about the last time you did some online shopping, let’s say that maybe you favor Amazon. You bring up the app on your phone, scroll over to the search bar, and you type in your desired product. Let’s say you’re looking for a new pair of boots. After a millisecond – or maybe a few seconds if you have a slow connection like me – a whole slew of products has queued up for you to peruse.
Now let’s say you click on a shiny pair of knee-high boots, you scroll down to check the reviews, and a few people say they are uncomfortable. Without a second thought, you click “back” and continue looking through the selection. Your search for the top “traits” you desire in said boot – maybe they are comfort, style, and durability. You eventually find a pair that seems to match up with your preferences, so you add them to your cart and hit “order.”
Now think of some common dating apps like Tinder or Plenty of Fish. You open up the app and look through the “products,” except this time it isn’t boots – it’s another human being. Now maybe you see someone you find attractive. You scroll down to check out their listed “traits” – maybe they wrote: charming book nerd who likes to go outdoors. Maybe that’s not what you think you’re looking for, so you click “back” and continue your search.
How does this sound to you? To me, it sounds like objectification. Placing humans on display for others to judge. When did humans become objects to shop for?
Think about it – did you meet your best friend on a “best friend finder” app? No, because those don’t exist – yet…
You probably met just like anyone else. Maybe in a college class, through mutual friends or at a bar or club. Maybe there are things that you don’t have in common with your friend. Perhaps they love hardcore metal music, and you can’t stand the sound of it. But does that make you not care for your friend? No. Your differences are what make you unique and what helps keep your friendship interesting.
If we could create an app that would let us design our perfect mate, I’m sure we would try to use it. But I just don’t think objectifying humans like we are products on display is the way to go. Maybe that charming book nerd who likes the outdoors would have been the perfect match for you, but you dismissed them because their “traits” weren’t in line with your preferences.
I know the times have changed, and our world has gotten bigger, but I still think there is something to be said about meeting face to face, in person, the human way. Instead of spending the day going through our apps hoping to find “the one,” maybe we should get out there and do some genuine window shopping, the old school way.
About the Author: Madalyn is a Florida-born girl who has spent the last four years working and basking in the Caribbean sun. Even though she grew up dancing professionally, she is often called a “bull in a china shop” for her clumsy ways. A true lover of the outdoors and new places, Madalyn is always up for an adventure. She has a vast taste for different types of music, often getting caught dancing wherever she is. Writing has always been a passion for Madalyn, and she’s made it her personal life mission to spread the love through words by detailing the eccentricities, from the unconventional to the mundane, of a 20-something just trying to figure out this life, one adventure at a time.