Photo Credit: YES! Magazine
Unhinged opinions on dating in the 21st century
Alessia Baptista, Editor-in-Chief
I’d like to start by acknowledging my perspective on dating, as a single, straight white girl with no rizz. This is strictly my opinion and is not a definitive representation of the challenges of finding love.
Let’s start off with a bang; allow me to expose myself. In the past few months, I’ve been ghosted, stood up, and had a 24-hour stalker. What a whirlwind of experiences!
It’s encounters like these that can discourage people from putting themselves out there or turn them off from dating in seconds. One quick rejection or bad experience and, immediately, the concept of dating is put in a box and stored away to rot in the basement of our minds.
In a world of labels, dating apps, and hookup culture, looking for a genuine romantic relationship can be quite difficult. With TikTok’s dating-wrapped videos and people using Hinge as a game to pass the time, I think most of us can agree that dating has become a bit of a grey area.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of different terms used to describe the contemporary dating scene. Let me give you the (non-exhaustive) relationship dictionary, so we’re all on the same page:
Situationship: a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered formal or established. Translation: you have no idea what’s going on.
Rizz: someone’s ability to attract a love interest. Translation: how well can you pull?
Imaginationships: a non-existent relationship in which one party imagines the two together. Translation: it’s all in your head, babe.
Hookups: casual sexual encounters that don’t necessarily involve emotional intimacy or commitment. Translation: it’s just a booty call.
Roster: a list of members available for selection. Translation: which player is coming off your bench this week?
Each time I searched up the definition of the word “dating,” I couldn’t find a concrete answer. Some people view dating as two people in a committed relationship, whereas others view it as seeing someone casually. The ambiguity of dating makes things tricky, but I think words like those in our ‘relationship dictionary’ can actually clear things up for people.
Aside from relationship labels, don’t even get me started on the horrid dating trifecta: Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble. It’s come to a point now where dating apps are more of a game rather than about finding a genuine relationship. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve used all three of these apps. Naturally, I’ve had very different experiences depending on the nature of the app.
Once upon a time, many moons ago, I had Tinder. Early on, I learned that Tinder is generally a hookup app, so I ditched it back in 2019. I also tried Bumble, but the whole “woman messages first” concept didn’t work too well for me.
When Hinge came out, it seemed promising. As they say, it’s the dating app that’s “designed to be deleted.” But its appeal faded like the ghosters that used it.
I think the biggest problem with dating apps is that they give us too many matches and too many choices at once. The result is that we can’t focus on one person at a time. It enables ghosting and miscommunication, and kind of creates a negative dating culture.
Dating apps also require that you judge someone off a very selective number of photos and prompts. In my opinion, this removes the authenticity of actually meeting a person and giving them a chance. You never know someone until you sit down and talk to them face to face.
Dating apps make it easy to judge people based on their appearance, which can set your potential future relationship on a foundation of surface-level attraction. Being attracted to people is completely natural, and there’s no shame in that. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a gym crush, a library crush, a work crush, and probably a ton of other embarrassing crushes that you definitely don’t need to know about. However, this is not to be mistaken for having a roster or an imaginationship. The only roster I’ve got is my fantasy basketball team, and I’m not doing well with that either. My point is, there’s a difference between having a crush for five minutes and choosing your partner based on their appearance. The latter can lead to a lack of connection and become superficial very fast.
Dating isn’t hard; it’s just overcomplicated. I think the best thing to do is to know what you want and go get it. If you want to ask someone on a date, do it. The answer is always no until you put yourself out there. What’s the worst thing that’ll happen? The person says no, and you move on to the next. And if you don’t want anything right now, you can find other things to focus on.
All in all, we can’t let a roster or being in a relationship define us or our worthiness of love.