If you are over 30, you may be wondering as often as I do about how much the people who are in their early twenties today are missing out in terms of their experience of meeting people and dating, as compared to your dating life when you were 20+. Rememberg how going out to bars and clubs was so different then? People used to put lots of effort in looking their best when they were headed out on Thursday-Sat night. There was hope, howevever slight, that something magical might have happenned during those weekend outings. You could bump into someone at a packed bar and start talking or lock eyes with a stranger across the room at a cocktail lounge andstart having an awkward but thrilling interaction that could take you anywhere. There was potential for something similar to happen at a bookstore, bus, and coffee shop. Even if it didn’t happen that often to most people, there was always a chance. And when it did happen, your heart rate would go up from both anxiety and excitement. There is no longer such hope or expectation. In the world of technology and dating apps, no one expects and no one is ready to be approach or be approached in real life, and in many places it might even be socially unacceptable to “hit” on someone these days.
Meeting someone new used to require lots of effort, confidence, getting out of your comfort zone, being in the right place at the right time, and taking action at the right time, because if you didn’t -that person who made eye contact with you and smile was going to woke away to never been seen by you again. Getting a woman’s phone number was a lot of work, but it also felt like an accomplishment. And, when that woman would write her phone number on a napkin after having a conversation with the guy who approached her, it was so much more… romantic than enterating that number into a smartphone. To a younger generation, this might sound like fiction that they can only see in older movies, but it was very much a reality until very recently.
When a man would get a woman’s phone number, he would have to come up with the courage to make that call and create an interesting conversation out of think air, which wasn’t easy at all. A woman on the other end was also anxious to receive that call. How much more compelling was it than sending or receiving a text or dating app messages that look like an incomplete sentence at best, and rarely go beyond “hey” and “how is your day going”?
First dates used to be a big deal. People were anxious and excited about it. They had a hard time falling asleep the night before. They would take the time to figure out what to wear to look their best, and they were really concerned about not screwing that date up. This was very different from the 30 min coffee/drink meet-ups people have today mostly out of boredom or out of loneliness and with zero emotion.
There is a simple reason why the quality of dating will continue to deteriorate. This is because younger generation has no idea what they are missing out emotionally, and therefore- they will never demand change. They simply don’t know any better than what they have today, unlike older people who remember better times. This means that technology and culture will continue making dating “easier” and more “efficient” and more “safe”, which all too often kills any remnants of romantic tension that makes dating beautiful and exciting.
One recent, random example of this is Bumble’s adding the call / video call feature to allow people to speak through the app without exchanging phone numbers. Yes, it makes these calls “safer” especially for women, and yet it chips away from the process by allowing people to skip the part where the guy would ask a woman for her phone number. But would any young woman today feel shortchanged by this, if no guy ever asked her for her phone number, let alone actually called her, rather than texting her or sending her a “dm” on social media.
There can be no going back to the more romantic dating dynamic unless people demand it. And people cannot to have something that they never had in the first place.