Dating Tales: Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse” by Nancy Jo Sales


Picture Courtesy of Urbanette Magazine

I find this Vanity Article by Nancy Jo Sales so disheartening.  How empty and shallow the world has become.  I was really turned off by the way the men boasted of their sexual conquests in this article .  However, I am not surprised because it is just the way our world is right now, and I do not see it getting any better.  When people claim someone is talented based off of their ability to exchange a few text messages and wind up in bed with a total stranger – it is no wonder we elected someone like Trump into office.  SMH! ~ Author Mara Prose

It’s a balmy night in Manhattan’s financial district, and at a sports bar called Stout, everyone is Tindering. The tables are filled with young women and men who’ve been chasing money and deals on Wall Street all day, and now they’re out looking for hookups. Everyone is drinking, peering into their screens and swiping on the faces of strangers they may have sex with later that evening. Or not. “Ew, this guy has Dad bod,” a young woman says of a potential match, swiping left. Her friends smirk, not looking up.

“Tinder sucks,” they say. But they don’t stop swiping.

At a booth in the back, three handsome twentysomething guys in button-downs are having beers. They are Dan, Alex, and Marty, budding investment bankers at the same financial firm, which recruited Alex and Marty straight from an Ivy League campus. (Names and some identifying details have been changed for this story.) When asked if they’ve been arranging dates on the apps they’ve been swiping at, all say not one date, but two or three: “You can’t be stuck in one lane … There’s always something better.” “If you had a reservation somewhere and then a table at Per Se opened up, you’d want to go there,” Alex offers.

 “Guys view everything as a competition,” he elaborates with his deep, reassuring voice. “Who’s slept with the best, hottest girls?” With these dating apps, he says, “you’re always sort of prowling. You could talk to two or three girls at a bar and pick the best one, or you can swipe a couple hundred people a day—the sample size is so much larger. It’s setting up two or three Tinder dates a week and, chances are, sleeping with all of them, so you could rack up 100 girls you’ve slept with in a year.”

He says that he himself has slept with five different women he met on Tinder—“Tinderellas,” the guys call them—in the last eight days. Dan and Marty, also Alex’s roommates in a shiny high-rise apartment building near Wall Street, can vouch for that. In fact, they can remember whom Alex has slept with in the past week more readily than he can.

“Brittany, Morgan, Amber,” Marty says, counting on his fingers. “Oh, and the Russian—Ukrainian?”

“Ukrainian,” Alex confirms. “She works at—” He says the name of a high-end art auction house. Asked what these women are like, he shrugs. “I could offer a résumé, but that’s about it … Works at J. Crew; senior at Parsons; junior at Pace; works in finance … ”

“We don’t know what the girls are like,” Marty says.

“And they don’t know us,” says Alex.

And yet a lack of an intimate knowledge of his potential sex partners never presents him with an obstacle to physical intimacy, Alex says. Alex, his friends agree, is a Tinder King, a young man of such deft “text game”—“That’s the ability to actually convince someone to do something over text,” Marty explains—that he is able to entice young women into his bed on the basis of a few text exchanges, while letting them know up front he is not interested in having a relationship.

“How does he do it?,” Marty asks, blinking. “This guy’s got a talent.

But Marty, who prefers Hinge to Tinder (“Hinge is my thing”), is no slouch at “racking up girls.” He says he’s slept with 30 to 40 women in the last year: “I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,” in order to win them over, “but then they start wanting me to care more … and I just don’t.”

“Dude, that’s not cool,” Alex chides in his warm way. “I always make a point of disclosing I’m not looking for anything serious. I just wanna hang out, be friends, see what happens … If I were ever in a court of law I could point to the transcript.” But something about the whole scenario seems to bother him, despite all his mild-mannered bravado. “I think to an extent it is, like, sinister,” he says, “ ‘cause I know that the average girl will think that there’s a chance that she can turn the tables. If I were like, Hey, I just wanna bone, very few people would want to meet up with you …

“Do you think this culture is misogynistic?” he asks lightly.

“Sex Has Become So Easy”

‘I call it the Dating Apocalypse,” says a woman in New York, aged 29.

As the polar ice caps melt and the earth churns through the Sixth Extinction, another unprecedented phenomenon is taking place, in the realm of sex. Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship. “We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. “There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says. “The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,” leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. “And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.”

People used to meet their partners through proximity, through family and friends, but now Internet meeting is surpassing every other form. “It’s changing so much about the way we act both romantically and sexually,” Garcia says. “It is unprecedented from an evolutionary standpoint.” As soon as people could go online they were using it as a way to find partners to date and have sex with. In the 90s it was Craigslist and AOL chat rooms, then Match.com and Kiss.com. But the lengthy, heartfelt e-mails exchanged by the main characters in You’ve Got Mail (1998) seem positively Victorian in comparison to the messages sent on the average dating app today. “I’ll get a text that says, ‘Wanna fuck?’ ” says Jennifer, 22, a senior at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany. “They’ll tell you, ‘Come over and sit on my face,’ ” says her friend, Ashley, 19.

Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating. In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida. “It’s like ordering Seamless,” says Dan, the investment banker, referring to the online food-delivery service. “But you’re ordering a person.”

The comparison to online shopping seems an apt one. Dating apps are the free-market economy come to sex. The innovation of Tinder was the swipe—the flick of a finger on a picture, no more elaborate profiles necessary and no more fear of rejection; users only know whether they’ve been approved, never when they’ve been discarded. OkCupid soon adopted the function. Hinge, which allows for more information about a match’s circle of friends through Facebook, and Happn, which enables G.P.S. tracking to show whether matches have recently “crossed paths,” use it too. It’s telling that swiping has been jocularly incorporated into advertisements for various products, a nod to the notion that, online, the act of choosing consumer brands and sex partners has become interchangeable.

“It’s instant gratification,” says Jason, 26, a Brooklyn photographer, “and a validation of your own attractiveness by just, like, swiping your thumb on an app. You see some pretty girl and you swipe and it’s, like, oh, she thinks you’re attractive too, so it’s really addicting, and you just find yourself mindlessly doing it.” “Sex has become so easy,” says John, 26, a marketing executive in New York. “I can go on my phone right now and no doubt I can find someone I can have sex with this evening, probably before midnight.”

And is this “good for women”? Since the emergence of flappers and “moderns” in the 1920s, the debate about what is lost and gained for women in casual sex has been raging, and is raging still—particularly among women. Some, like Atlantic writer Hanna Rosin, see hookup culture as a boon: “The hookup culture is … bound up with everything that’s fabulous about being a young woman in 2012—the freedom, the confidence.” But others lament the way the extreme casualness of sex in the age of Tinder leaves many women feeling de-valued. “It’s rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option,” wrote Erica Gordon on the Gen Y Web site Elite Daily, in 2014.

It is the very abundance of options provided by online dating which may be making men less inclined to treat any particular woman as a “priority,” according to David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in the evolution of human sexuality. “Apps like Tinder and OkCupid give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there,” Buss says. “One dimension of this is the impact it has on men’s psychology. When there is a surplus of women, or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don’t have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all.”

Now hold on there a minute. “Short-term mating strategies” seem to work for plenty of women too; some don’t want to be in committed relationships, either, particularly those in their 20s who are focusing on their education and launching careers. Alex the Wall Streeter is overly optimistic when he assumes that every woman he sleeps with would “turn the tables” and date him seriously if she could. And yet, his assumption may be a sign of the more “sinister” thing he references, the big fish swimming underneath the ice: “For young women the problem in navigating sexuality and relationships is still gender inequality,” says Elizabeth Armstrong, a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan who specializes in sexuality and gender. “Young women complain that young men still have the power to decide when something is going to be serious and when something is not—they can go, ‘She’s girlfriend material, she’s hookup material.’ … There is still a pervasive double standard. We need to puzzle out why women have made more strides in the public arena than in the private arena.”

Continue reading the rest of the article at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating

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