By: Beth Barr

One of my favourite family stories is how my grandparents met. They, literally, bumped heads over a microscope during undergraduate biology in the 1950s. Their story, although beautiful, is far too romantic and spontaneous for my over-stimulated brain. So I beg the question: where do we meet men and women to date?

It would seem that app developers around the world have leapt to our rescue. Why not put dating where we keep our music, schedules, alarm clocks, games, and light reading? For a generation dependent on cell phones for daily function and comfort, it only makes sense to tie dating into our virtual world. Right in your pocket, people across campus are using apps to “see” multiple people, changing the very nature of the dating game. Hook-up apps aside, the expediency of the dating app world puts hundreds of other people at the mercy of your swiping thumb — people you may have never interacted with otherwise.

It is a beautiful thing – opening your horizons and meeting new people can never be thought of in a negative way. But when we look at the quality of these interactions, what do we find? Quick and easy hook-ups are great; but how do you really get to know someone through a screen? What happened to the face- to-face struggles of dating and conveying who you are in the span of a date? When did our generation decide that the ease of detachedly sitting on the other end of a phone or computer was worth more than making a long-lasting, quality connection?

Let’s address an interesting question: can we, as intelligent young adults, successfully make the transition from a semi-detached virtual connection to an in-person one? How would we go about doing this? Might we chuck our phones out the window and run to the person with whom we’ve been sharing details of our lives? What if that person isn’t who they made themselves out to be? We’ve all heard of “Catfishing” over the Internet— heck, there are entire TV series on this topic.

Can we, as today’s youth, be comfortable and unashamed about using these apps? Most importantly, can we make these connections strong enough to sustain a new generation? Or will the next generation be the product of divorced/separated parents, whose love story is a lie conjured from the embarrassment of meeting on Tinder?

Okay, fine, maybe I am exaggerating in my anti-Tinder tirade. Perhaps these so-called hook-up platforms are nothing more than a silly game people play in their spare time. Maybe Tinder and similar mobile apps could be a platform for love at first sight? A medium that could facilitate the happy relationships and marriages of couples that were just meant to be? I am doubtful, but cannot say for sure. There are some people who dismiss apps like Tinder and other dating sites like OkCupid as not viable options for real relationships and we have all heard online dating horror stories, but maybe, there is a possibility to find love in a hopeless place.

Dating apps have been around for a while but they’ve become increasingly popular on university campuses. Only time will tell whether our generation will be the one of simple, spontaneous love, or just love for things that are overly simple and spontaneous.

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