As young couples move farther away from marriage, casual online dating has become more popular. While online dating started with people looking to settle down and get married with sites like Match.com, college students have become increasingly drawn to meeting others online.
OkCupid and Tinder have made their way onto the scene with Wittenberg students, as well as students across the country. Tinder involves seeing a picture, name, and age and swiping left if you are not interested, and swiping right if you are. If you both pick each other, you can start a semi-anonymous conversation in the app, and meet in real life if you’d like. OkCupid is much more in-depth, where people can look for anything from a quick hookup to finding the love of their life.
Is this really a positive trend, though? In days gone by, college students would meet through friends, at parties, during class, or in campus organizations. Meeting face-to-face presents a much different reality than being able to hide behind a screen and an internet persona.
Alex Williams of the New York Times wrote an article titled “The End of Courtship?” Williams follows Shani Silver, a social media and blog manager from Philadelphia. Silver talked about a man she met on OkCupid who asked her on a date – except it was after 10pm at night, and it was drinks with some college friends of his. “‘It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,’ [Silver] added. Dinner at a romantic new bistro? Forget it. Women in their 20s these days are lucky to get a last-minute text to tag along. Raised in the age of so-called ‘hookup culture,’ millennials — who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down — are subverting the rules of courtship.”
Williams cites men and women ranging from their 20s to their 30s who are unsure how to take “hanging out” with someone to the next level in a culture where becoming a Facebook official couple seems obsolete.
“There’s another reason Web-enabled singles are rendering traditional dates obsolete,” writes Williams. “If the purpose of the first date was to learn about someone’s background, education, politics, and cultural tastes, Google and Facebook have taken care of that.”
I agree with Williams. We post almost everything about our lives across the internet, and learning about someone in person seems to take some of the fun out of the pre-date Facebook stalking.
Williams even says the economy may play a factor, as men in their 20s can’t imagine supporting a family until they are in their late 30s, and going on serious dates and buying fancy gifts makes them feel that they will soon be getting married and having a family.
I yearn for the days when I can ask a guy out on a date – and not on Facebook. It almost seems wholly inappropriate to do it face-to-face, and being in a serious relationship in college seems out of the question for most. Though some couples do get engaged, they seem to be the small minority in the days of “hookup culture.”