In my first article of the semester, which was titled “Loves and Laments from Self-Isolation,” I commented on the romanticisms of the early days of “Quarantine.”
Speaking on the concept of “romanticism,” I had stated, “I’m not referring to those lovely serenades from my ever-so-crass tinder matches […]. I will admit that the dating scene during quarantine is another topic worth exploring though, albeit in a separate article.”
You guessed it folks! You are currently reading that “separate article!”
Stay-at-home orders became a thing in mid-March of 2020, thereby opening a floodgate to an onslaught of bored and horny students, who simultaneously decided to create Tinder accounts.
At this point, it was understood that these attempts at staying involved in the dating scene were mostly vacuous, save for a few moments worth of entertainment: “I had a lot of fun because I wasn’t taking it seriously. It was also interesting to see what kind of people I attracted,” said one Vanier Student on the subject of virtual “dating” during the pandemic.
In fact, this trend has pushed others to delete these “dating apps” altogether. This was the case for Kwazi, a Liberal Arts student at Vanier, who “realized there’s no point in it.”
He then went on to describe how he “saw bios with no effort, reading ‘Quarantine sent me here,’ and […] realized that, because people have several matches, nobody can actually give you all of their attention, so the conversations [seemed] scripted.”
Thus, there is a common overtly acknowledged inauthenticity involved with this online dating culture, which points to the idea that more time and energy should be spent with loved ones during “Quarantine” instead.
It is a similar, and admittedly embarrassing, pattern of inauthentic behavior that has led me to write this article. Surely enough, there is something to be said about this online dating culture, wherein we seek a momentary connection amid solitary confinement, yet are adamant about the fact that we don’t take the idea of those connections seriously; it’s quite hypocritical.
Hence, the flip side of this dating app coin is that, while it is superficial, it provides an avenue for communication, regardless of how fleeting it is.
Whether or not such communication is necessary in terms of coping with a collective trauma or of simply tempering the boredom that accompanies self-isolation, “people […] need to connect with others when times feel uncertain,” explains Natalia Ibanez, General Executive for The Insider.
She also talks about how “there is opportunity in reaching out without the need of commitment.”
In other words, speaking to a stranger opens the door to the possibility of unfiltered openness; anonymity provides a safe space, as people don’t feel the pressure to conform to a preconceived image of themselves.
Therefore, while the fact that one may often only speak to that Tinder match once might point to the fruitlessness of the app in terms of its intended purpose, nonetheless, there is comfort in the app’s inherent vacuousness.
Another major concern associated with the dating scene is how to go about maintaining a healthy relationship, regardless of whether or not it was established via Tinder, despite social distancing measures.
“I remember Facetiming him every single day for 14 days to make sure he didn’t see anybody before and after [the date],” describes one student, who chooses to remain anonymous, “I took a risk.”
Thus, navigating a budding relationship is now imbued with the new implications involved in keeping those involved safe.
Conversely, an argument can also be made that, as a result of the additional planning and vigilance involved, dating isn’t considered “worth it” right now: “It’s not healthy to be in a relationship right now; we should just be focusing on ourselves,” stated a Social Science student at Vanier.
Ultimately, dating apps’ hypocritical culture provides a space wherein there are no expectations for commitment, making it a means to ease one’s boredom or to speak candidly, particularly about the current state of affairs.
As Natalia Ibanez recapitulates these ideas, she says, “We don’t give social media enough credit to communicate and connect with people. We see it as superfluous and superficial in many ways, which is the case, but we’re missing out on the side of the coin.”
However, when it comes to going on a date with a Tinder match, or even with a long-established partner, the questions of whether or not it is worth the risk, as well as of how to best keep safe, inevitably lingers in the depths of the collective subconscious.
By Mel Spiridigliozzi