The Grand Experiment: Part 1

                I’ve written quite a few blogs in my life.  I’ve only ever done research for a handful of them.  And even then, the research only lasted a few hours each time.  I’ve never written a blog that required a long period of research or experimentation… That being said, I’m about to do something I haven’t done before, and I’d like to document it in a blog.  So this post is my “before” post.  And part two will be written after this little experiment concludes, in a month or two…

                Dating as a Millennial isn’t the same as it was for previous generations.  It has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  Online dating sites, matchmaking services, and most of all, dating apps, have led to this massive money monster.  But what is that doing to the actual process of dating?

                All of these sites and apps are advertised as if they make dating easy.  The love of your life is simply a click away!  And maybe it works for some people… and maybe I’m old fashioned with this idea of mine that dating isn’t supposed to be easy.  It’s the process of building relationships with other people and watching them crumble one by one until you find the one that won’t.  

                Dating is ugly, it’s painful, humiliating, heart-wrenching, scary, and difficult.  But it’s also beautiful, fun, exhilarating, hilarious, fulfilling, and rewarding.  The one thing that dating absolutely isn’t?  Easy.

                It can’t be easy, not really.  If it’s easy, then you aren’t emotionally invested, and that person means nothing to you, which isn’t a great way to build a relationship.  And that’s my problem with the dating industry that our generation has built into such a massive economic powerhouse…

                We don’t build relationships, instead we text because if we say what we want to say over the phone, our voices may crack, and there will be less room for interpretation of what we mean.  If we actually meet someone face to face for a difficult conversation?  Then we may have to see their face, or even worse, they’ll see ours. 

Our emotions show on our face, and showing our emotions is how we get to know each other.  If we let this person know what we’re feeling, we may become vulnerable.  And if we’re vulnerable, we get hurt.  So instead we wrap ourselves in the emotional bubble wrap that the dating industry provides through technology and anonymity. 

There’s a glaring problem with that though… that vulnerability that we’re protecting ourselves from?  It’s the only way to build connections that truly matter.  A friendship or relationship without that vulnerability and without emotions, is empty.  It may be fun to spend time with that person for a while, but they’ll never truly matter in your life, nor you in theirs.

At least, that’s my current point of view on dating as a Millennial.  That being said… I’ve only very briefly used one dating site before I cancelled my subscription.  And I’ve never used a single dating app.  So I feel like I can’t justify this hatred for them unless I actually give them a try, and a fair one at that.

Admittedly, giving them a fair try won’t be easy, I’m clearly biased on the subject.  Still, I’m going to do my best to withhold judgement… for at least a month and a half.

I’ve decided that I will download three different dating apps (now that I have a smartphone, which will be the topic of my next blog).  And I will give them all at least a month and a half, maybe two months before I write the second part of this blog, which will be my findings.  Did I absolutely hate the entire process?  Or did I at least have some fun? 

Having a bit of fun is, I’m fairly certain, the best I can hope for from this adventure.  I’ll believe their advertising about true love being one simple click away when Emma Watson’s dating profile shows up on my phone… Still, I’ll try to keep an open mind… stranger things have happened I suppose.

Anyway, the three I’m going to download are (drumroll please…)

Tinder:  This one is obvious.  It’s the king of the dating apps, and it has played a significant role in shaping the dating industry and the habits of my entire generation.  Its logo is a small flame, which I’m sure is in reference to the fact that Tinder has turned the world of dating into a dumpster fire.  Still, what’s the worst that can happen?  It is built entirely to protect us from ever having to get hurt by someone after all… 

Match:  I should mention, I’m only downloading the free app, not getting a paid subscription to Match.com.  I’m not committed enough to this experiment to spend money on a subscription.  And if you’re wondering why use Match at all then… it’s because Match.com has ruled the online dating market with an iron fist for years, now that they’re getting into the app market?  Well, maybe they know what they’re doing, or maybe they don’t.

Bumble:  As I understand it, this is basically Tinder, except that it’s more popular in 2016 because it’s newer and things move pretty fast around here… Also, when two people are looking to become a match on Bumble (at least for hetero couples, sorry everyone else, for you it really is just Tinder), the girl must make the first move.  This caught my eye, because I’ve always been attracted to confident women, so it will be interesting to see what it’s like to flip the script.

All right… I don’t want to rant anymore about the degradation of the dating pool, not yet anyway.  So let’s get this ridiculous experiment started… And ladies, if you are on any of these apps, I’d like to just apologize in advance.  Chances are that I’m going to make an ass of myself, probably frequently.

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