I tried online dating for the first time in the summer of 2015 during the golden age of Tinder before copycat dating apps all showed up. It was a simple swipe right to match with someone and then strike up a conversation. Not long after Tinder became profitable were more apps: Bubble, Raya, Hinge and Facbook dating with their own twists. I was happily off the market for the last three years and had no idea how dating changed–until now. With so many customizable features has online dating made us an androgynous culture?
From one date to the next this quick access of conversations and meet ups was both flirting at my fingertips, and a real big headache. You have to work for it and I already have a day job that’s tugging at my brain. Liking a photo just to get a notification you’ve been “invited to chat” aka women take the lead. When we are already living in a generation where chivalry is almost dead and women dress like men. Was this a design flaw? Do women have to take the initiative for everything now? We are just learning how to ask for our value in the workplace, and I have to sell you on my first message impression, too?
In favor of the design or not, it seems men still don’t like when women come off too strong–but you asked me to initiate, and women are annoyed with guys not having a first date planned, and having to meet more than halfway–be a gentleman. So the app designed to help us control our destiny and find prince/princess charming is having a reverse effect. Or was this an intelligent design to help us sort through the riffraff? Whatever the reason it’s creating gender role reversal.
My buddy is the king of dating. During an hour lunch he will have shown me fifteen women he matched with that day. Then turn around and complain to me when he had three dinner dates that week all costing more than $100. You know what you are signing up for when you join a dating app and ask for a dinner date. His dates can only end one of two ways: A confirmed second date during the first date or sex. So from what I gather a man should pay for the first date, but if the woman doesn’t initiate a second date or put out, then she owes you. So if she ever contacts you again for a date after that night she has to pay for the next date. Naturally if you slept with her it would only make sense to have a second date.
My buddies very strategic and slightly warped way of dating has caused me to initiate paying for every first date. Which creates confusion for men–especially the “elite” and/or celebrities I meet on Raya. They either think I’m a sugar mom or insulted. I recently had a few dates with an older man–which for me is the only option–and felt shitty when I tried to pay. He told me that I was a lady and should be treated like one always as if he thought I didn’t know that already. However, I wanted to prove I would always be 50/50 and let him know I care about treating him also. He continued to tell me how many masculine women there were and how much times have changed. Which I didn’t have the heart to explain it was because he was a needle in a haystack.
When you build a dating app around women making the first move and when they do men force the option for women to initiate again, you are creating an androgynous culture. A culture where ghosting, stashing and catfishing are a reality–and so is a man asking you to carry the weight. Of course a woman is going to take on masculine tendency to protect herself. We used to fear heartbreak. Now we are dating in a world where we fear we will meet a psychopath who will kill us. Just last month my girlfriend sent me the Uber license plate, restaurant address and guys last name on her first date.
Another girlfriend was telling me how a guy broke down into tears on their first date talking about his ex-wife. There was no alcohol involved either, it was just them at a museum–in the middle of the afternoon. Apparently no one is safe. I recently had an incident with a guy who had mommy issues and witnessed my own androgynous transformation. The digital age dating culture has created an epidemic of confused people. We no longer swipe for true love, now we are looking for a simple old school modern man or woman–who will later chop us up into pieces and put us in a trunk–jokes aside; we are looking for an indication of strong gender specific roles.
With technology changing every second surveys prove you can’t predict what someone will do in love or dating. Without body language anonymously hidden behind a phone or computer monitor we can’t read people the way we used to. Or get an organic sense of comfortability, safety and compatibility. In this digital age we have to trust our intuitions and lead with our authentic selves. Which might create less authentic people and more dominate women and submissive men, but it will also make it easier to identify the real men and women apart from the ones who’s gender roles are blurring together.