By: Shoshy Ciment | Opinions  | 

The Case for Online Dating

The Atayal were a Taiwanese aboriginal tribe with an interesting mating ritual: headhunting. To win over the women of the tribe and display their bravado, Atayal men used to hunt and display the heads of their enemies on pikes as trophies. Because who needs roses and chocolate when you can have an actual human head?

If this doesn’t sound romantic to you, that makes sense. In today’s day and age, receiving a severed head would probably warrant a restraining order instead of a marriage acceptance. But at the time, this was the norm.

Evidently, as culture and time evolve, our customs and social norms do as well. In a sense, online dating is just the newest courtship fad – a product of our changing world.

To its disparagers, dating apps, represent a slide into a technology-controlled world, where screens suck the romance out of any potentially meaningful relationship.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Online dating is like headhunting in one important way: both practices can result in a happy and supportive relationship.

In 2016, it was reported that 20 percent of those in current, committed relationships had begun dating online. In 2015, 7 percent of marriages were between couples that met on a dating site.

To be sure, it is human nature to be suspicious of the unfamiliar. When dating apps and websites first started, people were wary of letting a computer into their most intimate relationships. While technology generally aims to improve life, we cannot help but maintain some kind of distrust to its overall value, lest we end up in our own personal episode of Black Mirror.

But the taboo surrounding online dating appears to be fading as well. That is, downloading a dating app is not considered a “last resort” anymore. According to the Pew Research Center, attitudes toward online dating have significantly improved since 2005, when Americans had less exposure to the idea.

The stigma is going away. Forty million Americans currently use dating apps and the numbers are only growing. At least 27 percent of Americans self-reported using dating apps in 2016, up 10 percent since 2013.

Why ignore innovation when it has been proven to be helpful, time and time again? Dating apps, for the most part, seem to be doing what technology was meant to do — bring people together.

I understand the naysayers. It would be nice if finding love were as easy as it seems in the movies. Nobody wants to court a screen. And falling for profiles instead of people is a scary thought.

At the end of the day, sites like like Tinder and eHarmony aren’t exactly ushering in a dystopia devoid of true love. Online dating may be changing the way people find love, but the game is still the same. The moment you start that first date and say hello to that very real person across the table, the app is void. You are on your own.

And what’s the worst that can happen? Crude behavior? Happens beyond the screen as well. Bad date? That too!

For those who prefer to meet people the old-fashioned way: power to you. I, like most people, would probably prefer that method too. But to those who are trying the online dating thing as well, keep doing you. Despite our differences, we can certainly agree on one thing: Whatever its form, if love is calling, pick up. Or in this case, swipe back.

Photo Caption: Online dating can result in a happy and supportive relationship.