Titas in the time of Tinder


In some societies, it’s inappropriate, rude even, to ask a person why he/she is not dating or married especially if you just work together, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the same workplace for 2 or 20 years.

If you’re not friends with the person, mind your own business. The person could be in a relationship, it’s just that he/she prefers not to share details with you, or with people in your presence at the time you asked. Unless he/she volunteered the information, then you are entitled to ask and perhaps get more details.

Some colleague with a bad mouth would ask inactively dating workmates, “With Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, Grinder, why are you not dating anyone? You don’t even need these apps to be honest, just go online. Be active on FB or IG and you will ‘see’ people you could be interested in.”

 Some people probably mean well; they just have a bad way of saying things. Well, there’s this impression that the digital age has already simplified the challenging process of finding a match that there is no acceptable excuse for emotionally available single people to not date or marry anymore.

9 Pinays who met their partner online
Courtesy: 9 Pinays Reveal How They Found Love Online – Cosmo.ph

But do these quick matches, and random dates turn into a meaningful relationship? Yes, according to several reality tv shows, a certain Cosmo.ph article which put together success stories of 9 Filipinas, and yes, according to actual friends who sought help from social media and/or the dating apps.

My 32-year-old friend “Poch” has gone on 10 Grinder dates in three weeks before he found his current partner who is, as of this writing, still so caring and loving to him and his family.

Two female colleagues of mine – one is a thirtysomething single parent, the other is a fortysomething super single lady, dropped everything to move to the country where their future spouses are citizens. They initially met them on social networks (not dating apps), and they turned out to be real people looking for lifetime partners.

On the other hand, my 35-year-old friend Abbie has gone on several Tinder dates, and not one worked out. She eventually reunited with her greatest love, and now they have a baby together.

Obviously, not all Tinder-based or what have you encounters turn out to be successful and inspiring love stories. Film and television have shown online dating horror stories over the years, but these traditional media seem to have nothing on the promise of love social media and/or dating apps could bring.

After getting past the ‘find your match’ phase, here comes the ‘maintenance’ phase. Will social media be as supportive still (as if it has to take responsibility of that as well)?

Social networking platforms and their chat facilities may prove to be good support for the maintenance phase. Your timeline is a ready space to highlight your relationship milestones because, apparently, posting assures some partners that they truly have each other.

People my age would probably say, “What the heck is wrong with these young people?!” but then the young ones would retaliate, “You’re just being a bitter Tita.” Oh well, then, cheers to being millennials with the emotional maturity of dating adults.

Moving on…Messenger, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp are also alternatives to text (mobile phone) messaging and even audio and/or video calling for couple conversations, especially for those who can commit to a relationship, but won’t spend on text messages for their partners.

Messaging Apps Logos
Clockwise: WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, and Viber logos

For other partners, not only words are exchanged on these messaging platforms. Intimate photos and videos are shared actively as well. LDRs or long distance relationships benefit from this so-called practice, but it’s quite the norm now even for partners who have the option to see each other in the flesh.

It’s strange, though, how they would sometimes opt not to see each other just because there are platforms that conveniently replace face-to-face encounters. Is that behavior still appropriate for people who label themselves as ‘dating’? Is that #relationshipgoals to them?

A research says that a person’s mishandling of a social media platform as a supplement for the maintenance phase of dating tends to divert them into cheating or infidelity. It’s called ‘social intercourse’ for a reason.   When you are out there, you are with a whole network of users, not just the person you are seeing.

Of course you will be ‘meeting’ other people who may strike your fancy. It’s likened to a boys’ night out where they walk into a bar and chance upon an attractive female freeloader. Only this time, they don’t have to buy drinks to get to the girl, they could easily send a private message and if they ‘vibed’, then that’s it. This social intercourse won’t cost you a thing. Oh! But your current relationship, maybe.

When I try to imagine how the future of dating would look like for the Generation Z, Edgers, and the succeeding generations, I can’t help but picture a world similar to the setting of “Hang the DJ”, which is one of the episodes from the latest season of the critically acclaimed Netflix sci-fi series, “Black Mirror”.

Hang the DJ
Courtesy Netflix

“Hang the DJ” tackles a dystopian dating story set in a highly advanced digital age. So advanced that a dating program called “The System” was developed to help willing participants find their ‘ultimate match’.

Main characters Frank and Amy were participants to “The System”. All participants hold a device that talks to them (like Siri would to iPhone users) and responds to being addressed as, “Coach”. Coach tells the participants everything they have to do in order to start and end a relationship – when and where to meet their dates, where to go for a post-date sex, to as far as when to end the relationship.  Yes, expiration dates are set if the person isn’t their ultimate match yet.

The system could also re-match you with a previous partner (as with real life where you may reunite with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend because you both want to help the dating ecosystem by recycling, right?) In the case of Frank and Amy, they were matched twice.  First, for 12 hours of dating, and then rematched on a later dating cycle for what could’ve been 5 years of dating (if it weren’t for Frank who busted the device which led it to recalibrate from 5 years to just 20 hours).

After what looked like months of being separated from Frank, Amy got a message from the device that she is just a day away from meeting her ‘Ultimate Match’.   Since all individuals are given a chance to get ‘closure’ from any ex-date prior to meeting their ‘Ultimate’, Amy picked Frank to meet up with.  Not for closure though, but to express their love for each other and their fear of being paired up with other people. So together they decided to escape from the dome they inhabit as participants to ‘The System’.

It was revealed later on that they weren’t the first to defy ‘The System’, and that the act of rebellion was a signal for ‘The System’ that it has found an authentic match (and that a ‘dictated’ participant can tell for himself who his right match is). Their bodies went static before vanishing completely because Frank and Amy were just digital simulations of real people who may have or have not met in the real world. Now that’s a creepy digital future, right? But not really a far out prediction of the future of a digital dating system.

One of my young confidants Jorron Monroy, who was supposed to write this chapter with his by-line, says, “It can’t be said for everyone who has been on the app, but Tinder is a way to broaden the spectrum of candidates for romance. I guess it’ll soon be gone…exciting nights we had, finding a possible target by making that glance from across the room, and then striking a sharp look at a specific person. How exciting it is to plan the night’s moves to score on that bull’s eye.”

To the emotionally available single person reading this now, while the dating scene is a little more realistic (like Tinder realistic and not ‘Black Mirror’ augmented realistic), then try those dating apps.  But if you have the time, energy, and everything else that it takes to find a partner, which entails more than creating an attractive profile, and swiping left or right, then go traditional. Although there’s an allure to the use of a sophisticated dating system, bumping into an old flame, or whatever your version may be, that transitions to ‘and the rest is history’…makes for a good story to shock your grandkids who could be dating avatars in the next era.


This article was first published as a chapter from the book, “Yes, you need space: a social media guide for the ‘auntie social’ (female anti-social)” by Tia Manila


Categories Lifestyle, SocialTags , ,

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