Though most of us can only imagine what dating was like before the Internet, there’s still a certain nostalgia about the times when copying and pasting generic messages was reserved for reproducing cover letters rather than hooking an online date and “how we met” stories largely started with chance encounters. The romance of it all seems to have slipped through the many fingers of the World Wide Web, where bigdick56 has cluttered your inbox with requests he’d probably be too shy to ask a prostitute.
That being said, the Internet has done a lot of amazing things for dating (convenience and options being a couple major ones), but what if we stepped back from our computers for a minute and tried out dating in the real world again? What would it be like…?
1. No Constant Stream Of Options
The barrage of people “in our area” on Tinder or the never-ending slew of OkCupid messages makes people unrealistically picky and allows one face to simply flow into the next. People stop looking like people, and we begin to approach them as we do movie options on Netflix. Not a good thing.
2. You Got To Learn About People Gradually
Instead of having upfront access to where they went to high school, all of their past jobs, and what they do with their closest friends via social media, you got to slowly excavate such information from a new and intriguing person you were getting to know. What fun!
3. Googling Your Date Was Not An Option
Some of us are lucky enough to have popular first and last name combinations, thus making ourselves virtually un-Googleable. However, you can discover something about the rest of the population just by typing their names into a search engine, which, frankly, feels creepy.
4. Real Friend Recommendations
Instead of connections through shared “friends” via dating apps like Tinder, pre-Internet dating recs came from your actual friends (you know, people you contact in real life). This often led to more genuine connections with the person you consented to meet for dinner.
5. You Can Now Always Be Reached Via Email
Even Facebook messages, Tweets, and OkCupid communications will show up on your phone if you don’t stop them! That’s way too easy access. In the early stages of dating especially (and even more so when you’re seeing multiple people non-seriously), you do not want to be available virtually 24/7.
6. People Had To Put In More Effort
The lack of effort in today’s online world can be summed up in the endless “sups” women get on their OkCupid accounts. Instead of copying and pasting the same message over and over like baiting your line and waiting for it to budge, people had to come up with original things to say to every different person they met. Imagine that, personalized greetings for your date–who would have thought?
Back in the day, you had to wait patiently by your phone to see if that hot guy you met at the grocery store would call you. Now, that magic has been replaced by various instant communication options.
8. Blind Dates Were Truly Blind
People got to live a little by throwing themselves into truly novel dating scenarios with the classic blind date. Nowadays, people are overly cautious when it comes to meeting new people, performing unnecessary background checks on the World Wide Web. If you’re meeting your new date in a public place (as you should), there’s no reason to be so thorough. Embrace the surprise.
9. No One Could See Your Nerdy High School Pics Without Your Direct Consent
Unfortunately, you now have them on Facebook for any “friend” to peruse at will. So yes, your online date will see your 10-year-old self giving a presentation on Cystic Fibrosis before he gets to catch your 26-year-old face in person. Hopefully, he’ll find it endearing.
10. Catfishing Was Not A Problem
If you met someone, they at least had to be roughly the same age (and gender) and live in the same state as you expected. Not so with the Internet, where the insanely hot girl you’ve been cyber sexing for the past six months may turn out to be a ten-year-old boy in Nebraska.
11. More Fun Expectation Fantasies
Without the abundance of baseline expectations that come from the information available concerning any individual online, the only false hopes you could build on an early date with a stranger came purely from your fantasies. That’s a lot more fun than creating a picture of a new acquaintance from detailed accounts of what he did last weekend and a slew of pictures of him with all of his bro friends.
12. You Met People Closer To Home
Instead of ending up dating someone who lives in Newark while you reside in east Brooklyn because the Internet made it so easy for you guys to get in virtual touch, you’d meet people in places closer to home. Instead of scanning the Internet on your smartphone while in line for your morning coffee, you might have freed up your eyes and attention enough to strike up a conversation with the beautiful woman standing right in front of you.
13. You Couldn’t Sound Like An Idiot In Advance
People almost always sound dumber or more pretentious in their online dating profiles than they do in real life, and that includes you. Before the Internet, the opportunities to give off a douchey impression were significantly fewer.
14. More Spontaneous Dates
Instead of Googling your ideal destination days in advance, you could meet your date at his or her apartment and simply wander to the nearest restaurant/bar/park that piqued your mutual interests. Of course, the Internet doesn’t prevent you from practicing spontaneity, but it does serve as a highly tempting alternative.
15. No Engineering Your Matches
It’s impressive that dating sites can pair you up with people “scientifically” proven to optimally mesh with your personality, but since when did love become so damn practical? Passion defies rules, and don’t allow online dating to let you forget it.
16. Cleaner Breaks From Bad Dates
So your first date with Internet Tod was a total disaster. From the nasal voice you could barely discern over his loud, open-mouthed chewing to his insistence that he walk you home to finish explaining his newest theory about southern insect migration, you realized you had no desire to spend another moment with Tod for as long as you live. Unfortunately, social media allowed him to message you via Facebook, tweet at you, and send email after email once you made it clear that you were not going to answer his phone calls. Too bad.
17. Less Ability To Put Off Meeting
If you were shy about meeting someone, you couldn’t prolong your communications for too long by sending message after OkCupid message instead of taking the plunge and setting a date already. Some people virtually message people for months before sucking it up and meeting their potential dates in real life, and all this just because sending a message via the Internet is so easy (as opposed to talking on the phone, which requires nearly as much effort as talking to a person face-to-face).
18. Lower Chance Of Encountering Psycho Creeps
The Internet has notoriously been the place for crazies to search out prey. Remember the “Craigslist Killer”? Though you can of course meet dates of dubious character in the real world, the Internet provides increased invisibility for people with not-so-honorable motives to maneuver.
19. Their Families Couldn’t Stalk You So Easily
If you wanted to avoid serious scrutiny from your new boyfriend’s mom, cousin, and uncle, you didn’t have any obligations to accept their Facebook requests to have access to your daily thoughts and photos of you and your friends taking tequila shots in college.
20. The Most Embarrassing Way To Meet Your Partner Didn’t Exist
Although meeting your partner on Match.com and OkCupid has become increasingly popular, those who took this route still tend to dread that dinner party moment when they’re asked, “And how did you two meet?” The stigma of a contrived meeting still clouds people’s views on even their own romantic situations…and that’s got to mean something, right?