Online dating apps > bars

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click to enlarge Online dating apps > bars - SHUTTERSTOCK
Online dating apps > bars

The current landscape of Internet dating/mobile dating apps is a far cry from the you-seem-desperate-and/or-creepy iteration of yesteryear. This is mostly because using the sites, which have proliferated to cater to every demographic, has become commonplace. The rarity of serendipitous meetings in bars and the increasingly busy schedules of men and women alike have droves of people joining new dating interfaces on the regular. Online dating applications, available on all smart phones, have made finding a partner as easy as the flick of a thumb.

I swam out of the dating pool just a few minutes before all of my friends started finding partners in flirtation, hookups and dating via the Internet. I canvassed a group of ladies and gents who seem well-versed in the online dating world to figure out what all the fuss is about. I found out that (a) everyone is doing it and (b) the rules are different depending on gender, sexual orientation, age and goal (i.e., hook ups or relationships).

Jacqueline, straight, 24, female:

A recent Florida transplant in Washington, D.C., she started using dating apps when she moved to the city because she didn't want to rely on random meetings at bars.

She likes Tinder and Hinge because both parties have to like each other to start a conversation. Hinge, her favorite, requires people to be connected through a third party (shared Facebook friends). She’s also on OK Cupid, but isn’t a huge fan.

She's met some cool guys — some hookups and some who became friends, but no boyfriends — and hasn’t met any creepers yet, nor has she received any dick pics.

Bill, straight, 61, male:

He joined after his 20-year marriage ended. He said that for the most part, “The women in my age range are lonely as hell and they want love and needed a man, so it wasn’t that enjoyable.” Pump the brakes, ladies.

As he put it, “They [dating sites] work, but you have to get through the toads to find a princess.” He ended up finding her after a few months of dinners and drinks with non-starters, and the lovebirds moved in together in the spring.

Niko, gay, 23, male:

“I don’t have any experience ‘dating,’ in the technical sense of the word. Most of the guys I met online were really just for fun.” According to Niko, he and most of the gay guys he knows who are using online dating apps are looking for “sex, and only sex.”

A couple of the dating apps that cater exclusively to the gay community, like Grindr and Manhunt, definitely give off more of a “Let’s hook up” vibe, rather than “Let’s explore monogamy and commitment." 

Jane, straight, 89, female:

After her husband died, she gave online dating a spin. “The old men wanted a nursemaid, and one was a fruitcake! It might be better now, though.” Jane is allowed to say fruitcake, because she’s an octogenarian.

After doing some crowdsourcing on the issue, I’d say we’ve got a mixed bag, which is no worse than what you get if you try dating the old-fashion way. Whether you are looking for sex, love, a nursemaid, or something in between, online dating can probably find you what you want if you give it a shot.

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