Think about yourself ten years ago, before the age of the iPhone and before social media served as the most prominent beacon for self-expression. How did people communicate? How would you find find your crush’s profile picture from three years ago and like it by accident? How did we even live?
The way we communicate and share our personal stories and emotions (insert “surprised kitty face emoji” here) has been shifted and with that the pressure to share and express yourself has grown exponentially. Games on your iPhone now all urge users to invite and challenge their friends comparing scores and IQ levels, while Snapchat allows for sharing literally any pointless moment in your life for a limited number of seconds, just to disappear forever and never matter again. Even dating applications such as Tinder require you to connect with your personal Facebook or Twitter profile in order to set up an account.
Lets take a step back and consider the concept of said dating apps. The first time I came into contact with them there was Grindr. Having recently “come out” during my sophomore year, it was an unfathomable concept that Prince Charming may, in fact, be hiding behind one of the (rarely face, mostly body) pictures presented by the app. I quickly realized how naive I was since all the app did was offer a new concept of “sex-on-the-go,” and even the ones that claimed they weren’t were ultimately looking for the same thing.
Then there was Tinder, a new more inclusive form of online dating since it was also open to women and heterosexual men. Tinder offers a 21st Century view on speed dating, where you can actually “like” or “dislike” the members offered to you. You will be able to interact with members if the liking is mutual, only then can the conversation begin. Although rare cases of people meeting on Tinder and building long-lasting relationships exist, it is still highly unlikely for your friendship to develop past a first date, or, again, the bedroom. Fun fact, this notion was probably instilled into the app by the creator himself who took one of my friends on a first date and then disappeared forever.
Your iPhone, however, is not the only thing forcing you to actively search for a partner. More and more locales are quickly adapting to the trend and becoming “singles-friendly” and setting up an environment where people can actively seek for partners in a welcoming atmosphere. The trend has gained a widespread amount of attention and popularity within the U.S. and Europe, so much so that website appropriately titled “Singles Bars Near Me” allows you, with a few simple clicks on State and then City, to find the list of best single bars near you. And there you have it, a new form of tourism!
Bringing it back to social media, the inspiration for this post was actually an app called Cuddlr, the Tinder for people who want to cuddle with no strings attached, removing the necessity of exchanging sexual favors while you’re at it. I downloaded the app for the sake of experimentation and after signing in with my Facebook profile (of course) and filling out how I like to be cuddled I was good to go.
Cuddlr promises to connect you with other lonely souls looking for a cuddle in a time of need. These will be displayed as profile pictures on your feed, along with their cuddling preferences, age and total time it takes to walk to their house. Once you get a cuddle request you only have 15 minutes to respond and if you guys hit it off you can be on your way towards your desired cuddler!
As excited as I was to embark on this adventure, much to my dismay it became clear that cuddling strangers was just not in my cards. As you can see in the image below, the only member who matched my preferences was “Mike.” My other two options were “Peter,” the guy in the mask who looks like he’d sell my organs at the black market, or “Sebastian” the cat.
Although the app’s fresh idea garnered massive attention from the media and publications such as New York Times and The Huffington Post, the response to Cuddlr has generally been quite underwhelming. The main reason to it, as seen in the picture displayed, is that the app has a “testosterone problem,” meaning it has already been swamped with a myriad of horny, heterosexual males who try to use cuddling as yet another excuse.
Although my quest for the perfect Cuddlr was cut short and I was never able to experience the app for myself, I did come across yet another dating up, Luxy. Seemingly with each name more ridiculous that the next, Luxy provides its members the opportunity to “meet wealthy men & attractive women,” and adds “seeking a millionaire is easy on Luxy.”
Despite realizing that Luxy was basically an escort service masking itself as an app, I decided to also get an account and experience the latest developments of online dating through social media. Following the concept and layout of Tinder, Luxy tries to make itself look more upscale by adding black and gold tones while keeping the same layout. The only thing that differentiates the two, in fact, is the option to incorporate your net worth (minimum $200K+), top 5 favorite luxury brands and the fact that you can only play three like/dislike rounds a day.
To conclude I would like to answer my original question, does the future look down upon being alone? Perhaps “look down” is not the phrasing I would use, but there has definitely been a shift in the way we communicate and search for partners. Even though Tinder and Grindr are both popular worldwide, they carry little credibility when building lasting relations due to the hyper-sexualization that takes place, making it hard to search for committed
partners. Sex is almost an expectation of any such date, therefore adding that sort of pressure from the very start, jeopardizing your romantic date. I am not sure, and slightly frightened, to see how far these apps will go but if there is one thing this this experiment brought me to was a deeper understanding and appreciation of my physical friends.
by Stanislav Ledovskikh/ Twitter @StasStasStas/ Instagram @Stanisland3013