How Online Dating Is Turning Us All Into Bigots
There’s a niche dating app for everyone.
Compared to 10 years ago, there is no longer anything sinister or shameful about online dating. A lot of my single friends have given up on meeting decent guys at parties or bars and have converted to full-time app-dating.
It seems like everybody is on Tinder nowadays, spending a lot of time swiping left (that’s rejecting someone) and every now and then swiping right (match!). The dating app has 50 million users worldwide with 1.4 billion swipes made every day. That’s a lot of people!
Clearly there is a market out there for matchmaking services, so it’s not surprising that there have been plenty of new dating apps popping up over the past few years. The latest trend seems to be niche dating. Why look through thousands of random guys’ profiles if you can limit the dating pool you’re fishing in to, for example, guys with an income of at least $200,000?
Say hello to Luxy, the dating app for rich people. Marketed as “exclusively for the top one percent”, Luxy requires every membership applicant to provide proof of their income before asking such vital questions as “Which luxury brands do you identify most with?”
If you don’t meet Luxy’s financial criteria, you can still set up a profile but you will then be at the mercy of other users voting you in or out over a period of 24 hours. According to reviews, a sexy photo helps. (Not surprised there at all.)
Luxy is just one of many niche dating apps out there, and arguably – and shockingly – one of the more justifiable ones. MouseMingle is a dating site for Disney lovers, SaladMatch wants you to “find your salad soulmate today”, and there’s even an arguably racist dating site dedicated entirely to white people (yep, really).
There are apps for bearded people (I wish I was joking), tall people, gingers – no matter what you are, there is an app for you so you can find a love of your life who is exactly like you. It’s digital segregation at its most extreme.
So what happened to ‘opposites attract’ and being open-minded? In a world that’s increasingly globalized, with cities turning into cultural melting pots, niche dating seems somewhat out of place. Similar interests may be important in a relationship, but so is challenging each other and growing together while learning from one another.
It seems incredibly narcissistic to want to be with someone who is a mirror image of yourself. Have we become so cynical about falling in love that what we really want is to be with people exactly like us? Maybe we have just become lazy. When dating is as easy as swiping right on your phone, how is anyone going to want to put effort into really getting to know someone better, especially when that someone doesn’t fit into our niche?
Dating used to be quite random, and, to this day, the best love stories I’ve heard have come from the most unexpected moments. By relying on dating apps that only expose us to one type of person, we are automatically turning down the majority of people, and thereby hundreds of possible dates whose company we would not only really enjoy, but could challenge us in ways that would allow us to grow, emotionally and spiritually, by exposing us to different attitudes and possibilities.
Niche dating sites can be fun, I get it. But we cannot deny that the increase of users seeking out carbon copies of their world views has a xenophobic effect. Online dating in general is superficial enough – let’s not make the color of our skin, the amount of money we earn, or trivial things like our fave salad dressing the preliminary criteria when it comes to finding love.
Image via favim.com.
Comment: Have you tried online dating? Do you agree it’s becoming too segregated and superficial?