It’s been almost a year since everything changed. I had a slight cough the day we were told to evacuate our campus accommodation here at UC, which prompted me to quarantine myself in my room until everyone who lived. in my apartment maniacally clean all surfaces and go out the door.
No one touched. Not for weeks, even months. It changed more than the way we “got to” at work and school. It has also changed the way we date. As middle schoolers, face-to-face dating was put on hold and a unique methodology for dating became the only option.
According to 2019 data, the the use of dating apps was on the decline before the pandemic hit, as more and more people began to recognize that they wanted to meet organically. While the available data is unclear on the increase in the use of dating apps after March 2020, the jury is out. Romantic interactions online have increased – anyone who lived through that time would tell you the same.
I mean, there was no other option. Quarantine was made for many lonely singles, especially those in their teens and twenties accustomed to a thriving and active social life. The culture of hook-up was once rampant, and although it was often known to be toxic and degrading by cultural critics, it was a symptom of young people’s relaxed standards regarding dating and sexual freedom.
It hasn’t gone away –– dating is more relaxed than ever. Clearly, the contactless politics surrounding COVID-19 meant that real connections were suddenly no longer secure, and dating practices turned to virtual-only online means.
Instead of the culture of connection, single college kids find themselves in a world of online dating, as always. Nowadays, the culture of “talking” online has submerged the dating sphere. Casual dating – often left untagged – via online-only interactions has changed the whole game, so much so that if you’re not good at constantly following up on messages, you practically can’t date someone for it. moment.
All of my single friends, caught in a tangle of constant online messages, are overwhelmed and constantly disappointed. Those who choose to be safe have the small end of the stick when it comes to romantic and sexual fulfillment these days, chained to speed-dating systems based entirely on first impression photos and full biographies. of spirit.
Although, on the bright side, those who embraced the fully app-dependent dating atmosphere were much more intentional about their interactions, according to studies. Understandably, people began to seek out more meaningful connections than online adventures during this isolated and sometimes unbearable moment in history. Meanwhile, these unprecedented amounts of online interactions can also make history a turning point in our use of technology to stay connected.
When everyone ushered in a “new normal” what seems like ages ago, I really didn’t think about the effect of the “new normal” on dating. Now dating apps and messages from people you’ve never met before four in the morning are the definition of normal, at least for those not in a relationship looking for connection in a dystopian world.