Let’s say you’re looking for a pair of trousers. It all started on your walk a few days ago, when your eyes locked and glimmered at the sight of a stranger’s sweet, incredible pants. Your life flashed before your eyes as you imagined what it could be like with that sensational fabric clinging onto your bare legs. In fact, you wouldn’t be wearing those pants, they would be wearing you. Unfortunately, those bad boys are not yours to claim, so what do you do?
Online Shopping. You don’t have to take a single step outside, only a few clicks, and the pants can be at your doorstep tomorrow. Your hands shake and your pulse heightens as you click from one category to the next, selecting filters to land you on a page conveniently formatted to your miniscule Zillenial attention span. You profusely right click on the desired options and open three million and forty six tabs. You’re overstimulated, the choice paralysis is holding you back from deciding and quite frankly, you don’t have the mental capacity for this right now. Also, it's time to sleep. So you add those three million and forty six options into your shopping cart. You can make up your mind later.
Research shows that the most popular time for online shopping is between 8pm and 9pm. It’s a way of de-stressing after a long day of work, or a moment to reflect on how much you are tired of being this version of you (and the only way to change this is by obviously buying new pants). The awareness of your current and the desired state calls for action, a decision making process that not only occurs when online shopping at this time of day, but also online dating. Ugh, right? But also, hmm… intriguing. What really is the difference between shopping for a potential mate and a potential pair of pants? So very unromantic, but bear with me.
It all starts with realizing that your present time can be saturated with the introduction of something or someone new. Whether you’re yearning for a romantic partner, a situationship, or a kinky night out, the dating app on your phone is the perfect place to take control over your dating destiny. These days, people are more accessible online than they are offline, and simply meeting someone the ‘traditional’ way is becoming out-‘dated’. With filters and preferences, you can now create the perfect avatar of your dreams! From selecting your preferred height to even race, dating apps are becoming your personal shot at eugenics. Too far? Anyways, we find ourselves meticulously predicting a character based on a few photos and words, giving into our biases as we effortlessly swipe from profile to profile with a God complex and an empty bed. If dissatisfied with what you see, you can simply remove the ‘item’ or ghost it. If the presented information satisfies your needs and expectation of a situationship, you match, and proceed to check out for the real date.
Let’s say that you do actually have a shot at meeting someone IRL. Good for you, but don’t forget, it must first be arranged. A conversation awaits after a match, but this you’re dreading. What suave introduction will you pull now? Will you recycle that overused pick up line? Is there a photo you can respond to? If so, how do you comment on it in a perfectly witty and totally undesperate way? How will you keep the conversation going? When is it appropriate to ask someone out, and for the love of God, should you ask this person out? This is too much. No way do you want to follow through with this. You get overwhelmed, and close the dating app. You can make up your mind later.
We have all been there- you are not the first, nor the last. An average of 38 hours of swiping and chatting precede one physical date on most dating apps. One minute you can be engaging in an exciting conversation about how it must have hurt falling from heaven, and the next minute there is radio silence. Much like those untouched, unpurchased pants in your shopping cart, potential mates and chances of incredible dates are left to rot in the void. Let’s disentangle our online shopping approach in online dating. Right now, it’s an activity designed to keep you entertained from time to time, but it shouldn’t be. Online dating should be about actually meeting people offline. So our message? People are not pants. Go on that date and use the saved time for something meaningful.