“Nu-uh, no way. I’m not doing it.”
“Come on, the entire world is on dating apps. Here, I’ll pick your bio picture—“
“No seriously, I’m not kidding. I don’t want to be on an app to find my boyfriend.”
It’s a Thursday night at Salvation Tacos. I’m sitting between my best guy friend Tom and my best girlfriend Heather. We’re sharing guac and margs and having the inevitable conversation every single twenty-something in NYC has had with their best friends— to join a dating app or not.
People have pretty polarizing opinions about online dating and I’m stuck between two starkly different camps.
According to PEW research, one out of five 25-34-year-olds have used online dating in their lifetime.
Tom has been on apps since he landed in New York. He’s a literal tall, dark and handsome California native who started his own tech company. He’s charming and kind. I know everyone says this about their guy friends, but he’s honestly one of the best people I know.
And then there’s Heather. Creative, full of life, blonde bombshell Heather. She’s sweet and funny, smart and wild— did I mention she co-founded her own company at 22? She is, as one of her ex-boys said, “an absolute knock out of a girl.” Her stance on online dating? “Hell no.”
Besides that they could star in their own rom-coms, they are stellar dating material. And they both have completely different views when it comes to dating in 2015.
Tom reaches over the table to grab Heather’s phone.
“Come on, why don’t you just upload it— for one day?”
“I just… these people are legit strangers I’m inviting into my life. We have nothing in common but that he likes my staged profile picture and my one line sentence about being a dog lover. I don’t want just anyone, Tom. I like old-fashioned fate and happenstance. What about serendipity?”
Tom stops, he has to shrug and agree.
That’s something most New Yorkers can’t really argue with. I imagine most 20-somethings move to a major city for the chance of opportunity and fate. Whether that’s love or career— there’s this idea of possibility when you’re young and in a new city.
Some people just refuse to date in a way that’s comparable to ordering late night Seamless.
Where’s the magic? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the meet cute and story? Isn’t this why rom-coms exist? Did nobody else’s grandparent’s love story stick with them throughout their dating career?
But most of all, what about the type of people who want to date the old-fashioned way? Is there room for them in this— swipe, click, connect— dating sphere?
How do we bridge real life and technology?
I land in the middle camp. I get that the entire single dating community is in one place— on an app in your phone. And I also get that there’s this cold randomness to online dating that just doesn’t seem quite right. There has to be someway to have my hand in both.
After months of trying various dating apps, they all left me feeling pretty bad. Rude messages, weird profiles— I never once felt compelled to meet someone in person. I had kind of given up on it. Then I heard about Happn.
It’s basically like a real life dating app. When you open up the app you can see the profiles of the users you physically have crossed paths with throughout the day.
What’s it trying to do? Replicate the serendipity of real life. So Tom can have some new age technology and Heather can have some old school reality.
To connect with the person, you can secretly like them with the heart button. (They only see if you’ve hearted them if they heart back.) To take it a step further, you can “Charm” them by sending them a message.
It’s inevitable everyone will be in Heather, Tom, and I’s shoes— one hating apps, one loving them and one just straight up confused. So when you find yourself battling it out over Thursday night margaritas— remember there is actually an app out there that gets it: Happn.
There are awesome people around us all the time, sometimes you need a little technology to help you pay attention.