Dating has always been in some ways (or perhaps more accurately, for certain people) a bit of game. But now it is something else entirely, a game we play on smartphones or Macbooks in solitary bemusement and without the hope for real human connection. What happens when we lose our desire to find someone right for us in our haste to achieve the highest score? I’ve found myself de-humanizing the faces I come across, reducing them to the basest ideas of attractiveness, personality, or fit. What does that say about me, or is it merely a reflection of the world we now come to accept as inevitably colder than the one in which we once lived?
The ability to create a persona that presents who we think we are, or perhaps who we want to be, is incredibly tantalizing. We kid ourselves into believing we are some better version, and even the most self-effacing of us will either unwittingly embellish or out-and-out fabricate at least some portion of the online presence we put up for auction. If you stop for a moment to examine that hard truth about your own self, the potential magnitude of this dishonesty terrifies you. You casually browse profile after profile and try to gauge just how many of these people in fact horrible, lying sociopaths. The beautiful med student with the runway cheekbones and platonic ideal level thigh gap? Photoshopped. That adorable pixie bartender who hikes every weekend, unless she’s volunteering at the YMCA? Probably strangles puppies. And the intriguing sculptor who just moved here from Austin? She definitely loves Kings of Leon.
Even in the old age of dating, we began relationships with a degree of dishonesty. We dare these entrants into our lives to fight to discover who we really are. What chance do they stand, do any of us, if we now place a world of false positives between us and those who would love us? I’m as saddened as I am guilty. I am not the man you find on that screen, who fits seemingly so nicely into such neat little buckets. I am more than that. I am less. My faults are not so hard to find that I couldn’t simply list them out for you.