“Dating apps are ruining everything fun about romance,” says Marie Le Conte in The New Statesman. I’m not just talking about the usual gripes: that women receive “constant, grossly lewd messages”, and the whole experience encourages bitterness by “endlessly showing you beautiful and successful people” who will never give you a second look. My complaints are more esoteric, like the fact that these apps force you to “spend too much time thinking about the sort of partner you want to have”. Potential matches fall into the rigid “types” of teenagerhood: tall, dark and handsome; slim, blonde and smiley. But attraction isn’t a “strict formula”. Filtering people based on arbitrary traits like education, profession and political views removes all unpredictability and excitement.
Worst of all is that apps have turned dating into work. Falling in love is no longer “something that can happen to you serendipitously” – it’s something you actively set out to do. Like “the CEO of your own life or the bouncer of your bedroom”, you interview people, assess their flaws and repeat until you find a match. It’s a tiresome process – but if you opt out, you somehow feel guilty. “Your friend has three dates planned in the next two weeks. What are you doing to ensure that cats won’t devour your carcass in a few lonely decades?” Dating used to be exciting and spontaneous; now it’s “constant admin and effort”. Is anyone really better off now that our love lives have become no more than “online job hunting”?