My mom told me today that she read that young people aren’t going out as much any more because everything, even dates, come right to your home. It’s the swipe culture. See, my mom is a champion of both of her daughters’ dating lives, hoping that her work may result in us one day settling down. She sends my sister and I the latest New York Times’ social commentary about what’s happening in the technology and dating world. My sister has recently been liberated from the forwarded Times’ articles since she moved in with her boyfriend, the car czar.
A few months ago my mom was convinced that meeting someone online was weird and creepy and she’d have me text her at the beginning, middle and end of a date to make sure I hadn’t been kidnapped. It was ironic since I used to go days without any contact with my parents when I lived abroad. Now going to get a glass of wine with a stranger down the street needed a play-by-play, but I oblige because she’s adorable.
But now my mom was convinced that “nobody meets in bars anymore, it’s all online” (the tech and dating scene is a quickly evolving beast according to the Times, or, er, my mom). Weeks ago I was browsing through one of those horrid early 2000s dating websites (workoutguypdx and ballzztothewallzz were early admirers) when up pops a forwarded Times’ article from cupid. No subject heading, no punctuation and certainly no shame. Placed just above the attachment she writes, “have you checked bumble? you just swipe. shake if you change your mind. good luck.”
So I checked it out. I swiped right (‘hot’) a couple of times and left (‘not’) many more. A couple of times I couldn’t remember which way was which, so I violently shook my phone and got a redo. Bumble is the one that only allows a texting conversation if the woman initiates after a match. Guys feel more assured that, yes, we are into you. We have 24 hours to decide if we want to initiate. There are only photos, a brief bio, and a note of any mutual Facebook friends. Including your height and your residency sequence is important. So my Bumble bio read something like this: Likes house music, aspiring winemaker, 5’8″, PDX –> MAD–> PDX –> MAD –> PDX. It’s genius and on my first try I got a date with a tall, gorgeous foreigner.
With said foreigner we double-tap for an Uber, scroll for a pizza, click for a Netflix, and text to set a meeting time. Sure, at some point we have to actually talk to each other, but it turns out that when you enjoy someone’s company, that’s effortless, too.
My mother’s opinion of dating continues to evolve. Currently, people don’t even use actual online sites (she actually snickered at my last mention of Match.com). Regarding Tinder, she warned, “People just go on there looking for sex!” This made me giggle. But, sure enough, the Times published an article about a series of attractive, college-educated couples who had met on Tinder and married. This almost made her head explode.
So why all the fuss over a swipe? Well, I’m convinced that the wine industry is the same. People choose wine based on the label. Some people come into the tasting room where I work looking to nerd out and talk Pinot clones, rootstocks, and vineyard spacing. I can nerd out with the best of them, but I get that they mostly just want to take home a nice-looking bottle of wine and get a buzz. All the better if they have an attractive right-swipe to look at.