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You would think dating has gotten easier with all these apps. After all, online dating connects you with more single people than ever before. Yet somehow, dating in 2020 feels like an ongoing nightmare. It’s just swipe after swipe. First date after first date. Your crushes have no desire to be in a relationship with you. Your casual flings confess that they love you. You have a laundry list of qualifications for your ideal partner, and you can’t seem to find someone who meets even half of them.
That last point could be a big part of the problem with online dating. You may think you know what you want, but in actuality, you have no idea. We learned this from Netflix’s reality dating show, Love Is Blind, where couples dated and got engaged in “pods,” without ever seeing each other.
Warning: Love Is Blind spoilers ahead.
Despite the show’s seemingly ridiculous premise, two couples got married (Cameron and Lauren, Barnett and Amber) and a third is still dating (Damian and Giannina). Throughout the series, Lauren said she never would’ve considered Cameron if she’d seen him first, because up until the show, she’d never dated a guy who wasn’t also Black. Now they’re happily married and living their best lives together.
It’s not just the Love Is Blind cast: Blind dating seems to be reemerging as a legitimate way to meet people, as singles grow exhausted from the constant disappointment of apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble. (BTW, When we say blind dating, we mean a date set up by a person you know, as opposed to an algorithm on an app. If a buddy says, “You have to meet my friend Julie,” we get it if you still want to Google Julie.)
“It sets up a lot of excitement if you’re willing to give it a shot,” says Jennie, 37, who’s been on two blind dates in past two years. “The endless potential, an insight to how your friends see you, or maybe just to say you’ve tried it.”
Sadie, 28, has been on roughly 10 blind dates in the past two years. Every time, she was set up through friends or coworkers. She prefers blind dates to using dating apps, because these men have been vetted by someone she knows and trusts. “It feels like less of a risk than meeting a complete stranger from an app,” she says. But outside of the safety concern, she trusts her friends. Her friends know her. They know what she likes in a man and which values she holds close to her heart. That’s why she thinks it’s more likely she’ll find a man through a blind date than an app.
James, 31, was set up on a blind through a close guy friend about two years ago. His friend had just started a new job, and befriended a female coworker he thought would be perfect for James. “I was so done with dating,” James remembers. “I’d used every app out there. Tinder, the League, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble—you name it, I’ve tried it.” It turns out James wasn’t done with dating, as much as he was done with dating apps. “When my friend said there was this girl at work he’d think I’d hit it off with, I was skeptical at first, but then figured I have nothing to lose.”
“The sparks were there,” James continues. Their night of drinks lasted for three hours. By the end they were drunkenly making out at the bar. That evening, they didn’t go home together, but two days later, they met for another date. After that, they were inseparable, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two years later, James is living with his girlfriend, and there’s talk of getting engaged.
Still, like any method of dating, there are downsides. One is having to tell your friend that the supposedly “good” person they set you up with is, in fact, not a good person at all.
Sadie had one date she describes as being “overeager,” which—based on the story she tells—is a polite way of saying “a jackass.” After the date, while the two waited for the subway to come, he asked her to go back home with him. Sadie politely declined. He then screamed at her while standing on the platform. “The subway ride back to my apartment wasn’t the hard part; the hard part was telling my friend that it didn’t work out because he called me a ‘bitch,’ ‘slut,’ and groveled for sex in public.”
Nevertheless, Sadie wasn’t deterred from blind dating. “I like that there is more accountability than online dating because of the shared connection,” she says. “I also like that they’re less likely to ghost or cancel because their actions are accountable to whoever set us up.”
In this era of dating fatigue, excitement and potential are exactly what we need. Since we’re not getting that from online dating, perhaps it’s worth it to trust our friends and let them set it up. They may know what we need in a partner even better than we do.
Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on lifestyle, sexuality, culture, and entertainment.
Source: Mens Health