Trouble with online dating
An increasing number of Americans are looking to social media and online dating sites like Tinder or OKCupid to meet potential romantic partners. They’re shopping for human beings, commodifying people.In a Friday column, David Brooks reviews the data presented by the book People who date online are not shallower or vainer than those who don’t. They have access to very little information that can help them judge if they will fall in love with this person.Through apps like OKCupid and Tinder, we’ve learned to emphasize the temporary and the sensually gratifying in our pursuit of love.But enchantment requires us to look beyond ourselves and our temporary desires—it requires us to give up control, or as Brooks puts it, to become “vulnerable.” Part of the reason we love quantification—of our love lives, our vocations, even our pastimes—is because we love having a sense of control, the reassurance of a pleasurable outcome.– I’m going to tell you something that you already know: dating is a frustrating process of trial and error.
We forget that embracing our limits and vulnerability can actually bring us greater pleasure, greater adventure, and even greater closeness.We do not see them as human beings: we see them as objects.How do we re-capture an attitude of enchantment, a qualitative rather than quantitative pursuit of love?Quantification can destroy our very for the unique: seeking love through an algorithm necessitates that we look for some sort of golden mean, some perfect conglomeration of ideal attributes.
Thus, we do not see Andrew or Carl—we see Andrew, the 70 percent match, or Carl, the 94 percent match.
Our culture prizes quantification to the detriment of true intimacy, as well.