Story by Elizabeth Schoof, Opinion Editor
Photo courtesy of SYN Media
I am a sucker for a good meet cute. When Adam Sandler won Drew Barrymore over in “50 First Dates” by making a cabin out of waffles? I went to IHop. When Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel bonded over their love of The Smiths in “500 Days of Summer” I listened to the band for a week. I absolutely love the idea of people meeting in unlikely ways and falling in love.
The unfortunate reality is that most good “meet cutes” are strictly movie magic. Most modern-day romances run a very different course. People don’t get on elevators in hopes of meeting the love of their life, and they definitely don’t share a first kiss in a lightning storm like in “Sweet Home Alabama”. Meeting someone that you’re compatible with is a struggle. Between school and work, it’s hard to find time to hang out with friends, let alone find the time to go on dates with people. This is where dating apps come in.
Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have brought an entirely new perspective to today’s dating scene. Instead of sitting in a bar for hours on end hoping someone will come up and offer to buy you a drink, you can swipe through an app over the course of the day and find people who share similar interests with you. The best part? When you match through the app, it’s guaranteed that you’re interested in one another. The fear of putting yourself out there is significantly lessened and it puts power into the hands of the user.
Some would argue that dating apps are shallow and promote the idea that you have to be attractive in order to find someone, but that’s the same in the face-to-face dating world as well. If I go into Starbucks in a cute dress and makeup, I’m way more likely to get the barista’s phone number than if I go there in a pair of sweats. Your appearance, both physical and cyber, has an impact on the way people perceive you and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can eliminate a lot of the initial tension when first meeting a person online, because you have already matched.
Another issue that many see with apps such as Tinder or Bumble is that people create an alternative version of themselves when in an online setting. You definitely can’t get to know a person based on a bio that says they’re 6 ft tall and they prefer whiskey to wine, but again, that is a problem that you would face if you met someone face to face as well. When people first start forming any kind of relationship, be it friendship or romantic, they are on their absolute best behavior. When you’re on a date with someone that you think is attractive, you want to appear attractive to them as well. Whether it’s their love of macaroni and cheese or Adam Sandler movies, you’re going to feign interest in just about anything if it means that you’ll eventually find common ground. First impressions are always awkward and it takes time to get to know someone both online and in the real world.
One of the best things about dating apps is that they allow you to meet and interact with people that you might not have met otherwise. Let’s face it, we’re creatures of habit. We order the same thing when we go out to eat, we go to the same places to hang out with friends on a Friday night, we do the same things day in and day out. If the person that you’re meant to be with doesn’t go to your favorite bar or they don’t like Chinese food, how are you going to meet them? Dating apps give you the opportunity to expand your social circle in a positive way and, in doing so, expand your horizon. Can you imagine if Lady and Tramp had Tinder? They’d have shared their plate of spaghetti and meatballs a lot earlier on in the film.
While swiping right and matching with someone is definitely not as romantic as trying to meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s day, dating apps should not be discredited simply because they create a different “meet cute” than what we’re used to. In every romantic film I’ve ever watched, the two lovers meet in an unexpected way. Rather than try to find someone who is exactly like you, these apps serve to help you find the person you didn’t know you were looking for. Why does it matter how you met if you end up together in the end?
About the Writer: Elizabeth Schoof is a junior at Aquinas studying English and Communication. She loves reading, writing, GIFs, and laughing at her own jokes