The grand irony of the dating app is the fact that it was a platform conceived to facilitate the dating process, when in point of fact it actually makes things far more difficult. Moreover, it’s a disheartening undertaking and ultimately destructive on more than one front.

Primarily, it forces a person to face head on the disparity between their own perception of themselves with the reality of how others perceive them. With a one on one chance encounter, let’s say in a bar, one could possibly rationalize rejection, but on a mass scale no such rationalizations adequately hold up.

Now, people might feel removed from all of this, as they don’t experience the rejection face to face, but does that make it any less real? This continuous attack on one’s ego, no matter how supposedly muted it may be has major consequences.

Seriously, no one wants to feel undesirable to that extent.

So what do people do when their profile doesn’t work? They modify it, in order to conform to what they feel will garner them the best response. As a result you have profile upon profile echoing the same sentiments.

“I look as good in a short black dress as I do in a t-shirt and jeans.”

“I love Middlesex, and Italo Calvino.”

“I’m as at home at the opera as I am at a ball game.”

“I love to laugh!”

Jesus…who doesn’t love to laugh? Is it really something that needs to be specified? Are there actually people out there who eschew laughter, preferring to stumble around weeping ungovernably into their soy lattes?

All of this similitude homogenizes the process, until your potential suitors seem more like cattle and less like human beings, which in turn makes it almost impossible to make any kind of real inter-personal connection.

In addition to all of this, I believe that the online playing field is hardly level. It favors the photogenic, the glib and the conventional. The ones with half a brain, that can’t take a decent picture of themselves are automatically relegated to second string. Comparatively, you might quite possibly encounter someone at a party that may not be much in the looks department, but intrigues your mind and loins all the same. However, that same person staring back at you online might appear like a major dweeb.

Appearance is tantamount to online success.

So people post their comeliest photo and hope for the best, either that or they lie. Fat people post headshots or bald men wear chapeaus. It’s about getting your foot in the door in the hope that your prospective partner might overlook any shortcomings, or is just too weary to care.

This never works.

In general, I think the whole thing doesn’t work, and yet, I have so many friends that are constantly Tindering who never wind up with anyone worthwhile. It makes you wonder why? Are these people masochistic idiots addicted to some kind of twisted confirmation that they’re unworthy and undeserving? Or are they just overly optimistic? It’s hard to say, but there is one thing these dating apps do.

They provide a stop-gap against loneliness.

In the end, going on these endless meet-ups might be an exercise in futility, however they do give one a sense that they are at least ‘in the game’.

I’ve been on countless dates, and I can honestly say there have only been a piddly handful that I found worth the price of the cab fare. Most misrepresented themselves as far as how they looked, what their personality was like and what they were looking for in a mate. I spent hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars over the years on personals fees, cab fare, dinners, and got bupkis in return. If I had had the balls to actually go up to the attractive women I see around me every day, I would have saved a lot of time, money and emotional energy.

I guess that is what it comes down to – balls.

Sure, some may make the excuse that their lives are so busy, that they don’t have time to meet people any other way than through the electric love sites, but I call bullshit on that. It’s really about the baser instincts within us all.

Fear of rejection, the need for mass validation, and in some cases – exhibitionism.

Speaking to those last two, the sheer amount of ‘provocative’ profiles, filled with exposed jugs, shirtless nimrods, and sexy innuendo really makes one wonder what exactly they’re really looking for, because it can’t possibly be true love. I mean shoving your sweater meat in the faces of a million horndogs may be a good idea if you’re just looking to get laid, but it’s hardly any kind of foundation for anything more meaningful.

I suppose it’s more probable that these people are just getting off on the idea that they’re making someone hard in the pants, or damp in the panties. They’re collectors. Gathering as many interested prospects as they can, like so many baseball cards just to make them feel better about themselves. Most of the time, none of this animalistic feather spreading leads anywhere other than an occasional bout of sexting.

Still, people continue to flood the internet in an attempt to connect with someone new. That false patina of convenience is an all too alluring prospect. Deep down, we all know it’s about fruitful an exercise as buying a lottery ticket.

If you want my advice, talk to that guy you see every day on the subway on your morning commute. Ask that girl in your office that drives you crazy every time she walks by your cubicle out for a drink after work. Approach that tawny stunner in the cafe and start a conversation…make the effort

Finally, isn’t that what life’s about, making the effort?

About Author

I'm a writer/editor with a penchant for saddle shoes, pontification and fried pork rinds. Equal parts gadfly, cut-up, provocateur, philosopher, and silly-willy. My personal heroes include Reggie Jackson, Elvis Costello and Philip Roth.

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