I think we can all agree that today we live in a world where when something is broken, we often don’t even try to fix it and instead try to buy a new one (e.g. I’ve been through about half a dozen iPods because it costs almost as much to fix the stupid things when they’re out of guarantee as it would to just buy the brand spanking new model with a whole host of unnecessary features– I am so not an Apple person!).
Through my highly scientific analysis of the dating game (aka sitting around my living room with my dear friends and wasting hours sharing stories about our lost loves) I am beginning to see how this consumerist mentality is infiltrating the world of LOVE. People are now seen as commodities, nobody is irreplaceable. Social hierarchy exists. Whether it’s based on looks, ethnicity (something I’ve been told clearly effects your success in the world of internet dating especially here in the Rainbow Nation), nationality (yes, declaring that you hold a Brit passport on Tinder will certainly make you more eligible), education (come back when you have at least PhD) or income (the fact that he is an unattractive dwarf can be bypassed if he can afford to wine and dine you at fancy wine estates) – hierarchies exist and the asinine individual that tries to mess with this sacred order is bound to get hurt.
Much of this trend, I believe has to do with the technology available to us and the way it has served to widen the pool of potential suitors. Dating apps and websites have made it possible, for a vaguely pretty but proactive girl to potentially line up a date for every night of the week (I admit in a world of pervs, things aren’t so easy for my guy friends). Knowing that one has access to so many options, has allowed us to become fussy. This is exacerbated by the fact that sites like OKCupid let us set filters – you can now shamelessly say you’ll only date a blond haired, blue eyed, rocket scientist, who holds a Brit passport, has run at least 10 Comrades marathons and earns at least a million rand per annum.
People now set standards for what they want and the moment they see that a potential partner falls short, they can discard them to make way for the next suitor. Being a hopeless romantic (who is becoming more jaded everyday) though, I do find this state of affairs rather grim. Firstly, speaking from experience (I’ve probably been on +/- 50 Tinder dates this year), there are certain intangible elements that these arbitrary filters can’t account for – such as banter, chemistry, attraction. By setting standards, we might miss out on some real gems. And then how about further down the line when the person we are dating goes through a tough time? Shouldn’t we help them through and try to fix the problem, rather than just kicking them to curb? Ugh, maybe I’m just being idealistic here, but it seems that this is what our grandparents’ generation did.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan on settling for anything less than butterflies. But what I am saying is that maybe we all need to stop being so superficial (comparing people like we do when looking at the specifications of a car), start removing SOME of the filters (I will continue to block anyone who begins a conversation with Hey GORGEOUS!), not lowering but maybe being a bit more flexible with our standards, ignoring the minor setbacks, and focusing on our gut feelings about a person, maybe then we’ll give Prince Charming a fair chance in that epic battle to win our heart.
Give us your thoughts Rinsers… Has dating become yet another consumerist game? Are people becoming to fussy in their quest for the ‘perfect partner’? And will this ‘shopping for a spouse’ attitude just lead to failure in the end? Answers in the comments below…