By Ashley Solomon, Staff Writer
JSwipe, Tinder, JDate, Bumble, YUConnects, Hinge, SawYouAtSinai, OkCupid, and even Christian Mingle – if you’re feeling adventurous. The digital age has provided us with many new ways to meet people without ever having to leave our bedrooms. These options are especially popular among millennials, due to our lack of social skills and our inability to talk to each other without the crutch of our phones. According to The Independent, millennials spend ten hours a week on dating apps. Match.com released a mega-study in 2017 that said millennials are 125% more likely to be “addicted to dating” than older generations were; 55% of singles made a dating profile, and 40% of singles said they have dated someone they met online. Yet, 55% of people said technology has made dating harder. This raises the question: Are online dating profiles and dating apps helping people, or hurting them? As is commonplace in YU, students have many opinions on the topic, both positive and negative.
First, let’s start with the bad, because that’s more fun.
The main concern most students seem to have with dating apps is the issue of deceit. Anyone can sign up for these websites and apps. People can pretend to be anyone they want, or say anything they want. Some people are concerned with safety; there is really no way to know if you are actually talking to who you think you are talking to. Many people are concerned about being catfished, which is “a type of deceptive activity where a person creates a sock puppet social networking presence, or fake identity on a social network account, for attention seeking, bullying, or as a romance scam.” One anonymous Stern student recalls, “One time I had the sense that I was being catfished by a guy on JSwipe. My suspicions were very quickly confirmed when I swiped on another guy with the same exact picture. I screenshot their profiles and sent them to each other saying, ‘It seems that you are going through an identity crisis.’ Needless to say, they unmatched with me immediately. I’ve often felt bad for the people who feel the need to catfish. Firstly, they obviously didn’t think things through…what do they expect to happen once the person that they are catfishing realizes that they have been lying? People will be more upset about being lied to than they would be uninterested in you to begin with, based on your looks.”
On the other hand, app users can be truthful about who they are, but not about their interests. Another anonymous SCW student said, “The nice thing about chatting on online dating apps is that you can Google everything they say and win brownie points by pretending that you are an expert on everything that they are talking about.” Philip Nagler, YC ‘19, lamented, “In general I’m not a fan of dating apps. I prefer to meet someone in person and get to know them a little before we go out. I went on one date through a dating app and it did not go well at all. After cutting ties, my date went to extreme lengths to contact me, including sending an email to my YU email which I never gave to them. So yeah, would not recommend.” Benji Snow, Syms ‘19, is also of the opinion that it is better to meet someone organically. He said, “I’ve personally never used any of those apps before, but some of my friends have. I don’t see how anything good could ever come out of them. It’s not a natural way to meet people.”
Several have also noted that some dating apps are simply not effective. Shifra Lindenberg, Syms ‘19, said, “While [JSwipe is] an efficient app, I think it’s more used as a hookup finder like Tinder, rather than finding a long-term partner. It’s also entertaining to swipe on others, but I wouldn’t use it to find my bashert.” Another anonymous student noted, “JSwipe is like bad online shopping. The clothes look great on the models online, but when they are finally delivered, you realize that they look terrible in real life. At least clothing gets a hint and doesn’t hit you up once it’s been returned.”
Even with all the hardships that come from online dating, some people do seem to find success. Dina Stein, SCW ‘19, noted, “Despite the stigma around dating apps, they can prove to be highly effective. My sister is living proof, as she met her husband on Tinder.” JSwipe’s Instagram account boasts many pictures of engaged couples with the hashtag #startedwithaswipe. Tinder has an estimated 10 million daily users and an average of 1.5 million weekly dates from its site.
Sharon Cuchacovich, a recent Stern graduate, met her now fiancé on JSwipe. “After months of going out with all types of crazies and being that girl who had all those horrible dating stories, I met my fiancé. At first, I was talking to so many guys that I could barely keep track of his story or notice that he was different from anyone else I had ever met,” she said. “With time, I got to see that not only was he not a serial killer, but he was my other half. Sometimes people ask me why I was on an app on the first place, as if you could only be on an app if you can’t get a guy in real life, or if there is something horribly wrong with you. I don’t really have an answer, it just kind of happened. I guess God needed to put these two souls together somehow and since there was no way we would have met otherwise, an app was His best bet; it is 2018, you know? I think that app dating can be awful, but if you are very, very lucky, it can also be the most wonderful thing that can happen to you.”