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Why online dating apps are a big scam

Relationships

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 Online dating may seem fun but there is no guarantee of getting real love (Photo: iStock )

Long-term relationships are a function of time, work, patience and commitment. Any relationship whose foundation is love, shouldn’t be instant because as they say, love grows. On the contrary, dating apps and hook-ups in the present day have made relationships instant - like coffee. And short-term.

One Saturday afternoon, I’m in the village under a tree watching my son and his cousins play. I’m in my father’s compound again for the umpteenth December holidays after several boring dates in the city. I had a clear sense that I needed to try online dating after a friend told me the boyfriend she found on Tinder is an awesome human.

I quickly download Tinder and create an appealing profile. Do a few swipes on the male profiles to find a match; I hear you pick a number of them then (delete) one by one until you finally ‘settle’ on ‘the one’. Seven minutes inside the house of Tinder and some character is already asking if we could swap nudes! Like, my profile is just seven minutes old; bro, nudes?

Another one is here asking if we could Netflix and Chill. I get tired and just decide, okay, I’m staying here to watch how people manage to stay sane in this Tinder world of weird characters. Responding ‘hey’ to all the boring and horny ‘hey beautiful’ messages from strangers, swiping to check their profiles and photos, fake or otherwise.

Finding the right dating site and a genuine person for a relationship is almost as hard as dating in itself. Old-school humans like me, find it more attractive when things happen in real time, in the real world. Suppose I met a random man in the streets, at a restaurant or even a pub, in a queue in a supermarket or banking hall. In that case, that’s a person I’ve seen and making a decision to respond to their ‘hi’ is based on the fact that I’ve actually found them attractive, everything else remaining constant.

Say, if you walked into a party or room and threw your eyes around the occupants of the room or participants in the party, there are those you’d find attractive. Two or three. Or just one. By making a detailed observation of those two attractive people, you’ll narrow down to one whom you think is approachable.

This might not necessarily have anything to do with their looks, what they do or like. It could be about character - something you quickly noticed about them, the personality and stuff. The little real things that Tinder can’t show.

Online, Tinder, say, you have to have the best. Fake it till you get it. Everyone on the app is putting their best foot forward to get attention. And in most cases that best foot isn’t an honest foot. Fake filtered photos or old ones from their youthful days lie about personality and character. A 5.2 could even pose as a 6.2. Fake lifestyles and unrealistic standards. Well, those few are real, but still, that’s very scanty information about a person for you to hook up with, for dating.

You keep auditioning for total strangers with the hope of finding love for a happily-ever-after kind of life. It’s like gambling. Screen for the most basic attributes that you find attractive (that could still be as fake as they come), then get out there and meet. Three minutes into the real-time date and you already know that this thing is never going to work. It can’t, won’t work! But you’re committed to playing around and being polite and pleasant, smiling sheepishly and laughing at their very dry jokes on an entire date.

So I’m here thinking about those people who go on these dating Apps to look for serious love. Life partners. Marriage. Because statistics show that a person has an average of three Dating Apps on their phones. Now, let’s say one has 5 potentials on three Apps. Tinder. OKCupid. Afrointroductions. You meet all these 15 strangers, or 10 of them, in say, two months and none of them is good enough. Nothing clicks. You’ve gone out with a whole village of strangers and risked being murdered and stolen from, all in the name of finding love.

Wastage of time and money to go out with a bunch of people you’d have just met in person at a party or in a matatu, local bar or in the lift. Deciding to meet a 42-year-old based on an old photo when they were 32, young and succulent is quite interesting. Old school is sexy. See someone and like them, then decide if you want to meet them for a date. Blind and online dates are for the lazy and cowards.

If worse gets to the worst and we’re not getting time and chance to meet and date the people we want, then social media is even better. Facebook and Twitter. Because here you get to read their tweets, Facebook posts and comments on several topical issues. A like or a simple comment can go a long way, than just reading a short, fake dating bio of someone who simply wants to get laid.

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