By Imasha Costa, Editor-in-chief
The day of romance and love, Valentine’s Day – I don’t especially enjoy this day, as I think it just an excuse to fall for the lies of capitalism. One of the biggest lies that capitalism plays is the fact that love can only be found from online dating. With the days of getting Tinder Gold or even Bumble Boost, where users would pay an extra fee a month to gain access to premium features such as who has liked you, replay previous user, and unlimited amounts of super likes – the list goes on. I have unfortunately used online dating apps to try to find a bit of “romance” and I have not had very great experiences with it. The thing with online dating is that it is not always guaranteed that you may find love, that you may find your match. I took a break from Tinder for a whole year before deciding to get back into it late last year. Not even a month had passed before I thought that this was the worst thing that I have ever had to endure.
And I think what made it worse was the fact that I went on the worst date from hell after meeting someone on Tinder. I will not get into too many details about the person, but I will say that it put me off dating for a long time. It ended up with me having to get rescued by strangers and to get the bartenders to drop the bill and then an eventual block and un-match. I was horrified. I did not know how to think, what to say, or even react. “The girl was too stunned to speak.”
The fact about online dating that I seem to keep missing out on is that people are never really what they seem to be unless you set your boundaries out in the beginning.
An anonymous submission came in that shared an amazing experience of the result of their online dating:
I thought it best to meet my Tinder dates with the disclaimer that I wanted to have our first date primarily as friends, and see how things go from there, so as to get the vibe of the person and their intentions. This was a great strategy as I did not feel the pressure of the awful “obligatory” kiss after a date. This is how I met one of the best people in my life right now. We met as friends, after talking for a few weeks on the platform, and for our first “date” had a perfectly innocent walk for close to four hours just circling the park because we didn’t want to stop talking. It was nice to get to know someone without thinking about sex, although that being said I couldn’t help thinking he was so much more attractive in person than in his photos. It was a pleasant juxtaposition to the classic catfish (which had happened in the first case I may add). On our second date we kissed, and it’s now been nearly four months of lovely, non-monogamous bliss with someone who I will no doubt have in my life indefinitely. It really goes to show, it’s worth getting to know someone, and their true character and vibe, before letting them into your life. You deserve only the finest vibes, so bestie, find someone who cooks for you.
With such wholesome vibes that comes out of this experience, I also had a few people share bad/ dirty conversations that have come out of the result of online dating, marking these as the worst of the worst:
‘I told a guy I was getting a haircut once and he asked me to send him a box of my hair.’
‘A day into talking to him that he would manage to either say something about bugs or use the word bug/bugs in like genuinely every second message. […] I realised it was a problem when he asked if he could call me bug-girl.’ – Megan, 20
‘Once I was talking to a girl who was in an open relationship with her boyfriend. When we were going to go on our first date, she asked to bring him.’ – Alissa, 22
‘The worst thing I’ve ever had was I matched with a lad in the navy and we’d been snapping for 3 days before I realised he knew exactly where I was all the time. I always keep my snap maps on like and I remember going to [a friend’s house] and he asked if I was “in that house with my lad friends” again and I was like what the – ?’ – Jess, 23
The beginning of my Erasmus stay was marked by Tinder experiences that were good, bad, and ugly. Starting with the latter two compiled into one horrendous mix, my first date upon my arrival was with someone who I may say, was very lovely to begin with, but showed their true colours pretty quickly. We got on in terms of interests, as the messages we had exchanged had indicated, and so the first date passed nicely enough. After *staying the night*, it became clear that this man had no regard for boundaries and didn’t possess a modicum of respect for women, neither for their words or their bodies. He called my culture “cold” and did not hesitate to start trying to coerce me into things I was not comfortable with by date two. He proceeded, upon his hearing that I no longer wanted to see him, to take this as a sign to show up at my residence unannounced and message me completely disconcerting things despite me saying I’d rather we cut contact. I’ve never blocked someone so quick. Never trust a man who mocks you for not eating meat. – Anon
Online dating terrifies a lot of people, and in my opinion, not everyone gets the love story that they wish that they could get. As my friend likes to say, “straight tinder” is the most terrifying place in existence. However, online dating experiences vary for different people, it doesn’t always have to be as bad as another, and not everyone’s experience can be used as a model for online dating. As long as you are looking out for your safety, and monitoring whether the influx of likes that you get are not from creeps, catfishes, or even sex-traffickers, you may find some good out of it.
On the flip side, I know for a fact that I will be staying out of online dating sites for a really long time, and go on dates with people that I like as friends. Who knows, maybe I am already doing that.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, it may feel like a time of loneliness if you are not spending it with a significant other, or may be a time of romance if you are, but, remember, it’s a day that has also been commercialised a lot. I hope you find solace in being with another person – even if they are a friend, today.