STORY BY CLAUDIA WILLIAMS
The other day, I ventured of off my small, midwestern college campus to a local coffee shop for a good cup of tea and a big muffin to satisfy my craving for carbs. While in line, and then later sitting down, I noticed a handsome fellow looking at me and smiling ever so often. I would smile back, he would look away (you know how that whole thing works). I couldn’t help but think I should go up and chat with him because that’s what my weekly planner said I should do.
“Flirt with a handsome Stranger,” was the cute, inspiring statement Kate Spade chose for the beginning page of the February calendar. I told myself on the first of the month that I would do just that before March showed up, and I found an opportunity to do so that day in the coffee shop.
But as you can guess, I chickened out and left without saying hello and he did the same. I couldn’t help but feel a bit regretful when on my drive home because what did I have to lose? Flirting with a handsome stranger can’t be that hard, and after all, a person is a person and I told myself to never be afraid of meeting new people.
I began to think after this encounter, or lack there of, and realized I had never met a man in the real world except for at college parties or in high school.
In movies, we always see people fall in love from the second they bumped grocery carts at the super market, or picked up each others’ venti mocha on accident at Starbucks. But I had never actually experienced something as simple and wonderful as that, and I blame it all on online dating websites, apps and social media.
People are using Tinder and Match.com as sources for love, instead of letting chance step in and let love happen on its own. According to a large-scale survey done by Stanford University, the Internet has become one of the most popular places for people to meet.
Match.com even posts statistics on their website, stating 40 million Americans use online dating services, which is almost 40 percent of the U.S. population. With numbers like that, anyone scrolling through the website is bound to sign up because “everyone is doing it, so it must be working.”
Young adults, and anyone in the dating scene, have started believing these statistics and leaning towards online dating because it is said to work. I know a vast majority of my friends are currently on Tinder hunting for men instead of meeting them in real life.
Even the Huffington Post has noticed the skyrocketing trend on Tinder, with an article stating 50 million people have downloaded it and spend 77 minutes a day looking for love when they should be letting fate bump their grocery carts or put them in the same Midwestern coffee shop on a random Tuesday.
It isn’t 100 percent proven that online dating has a better long-term effect on relationships, but it is definitely having a negative effect on our abilities to meet people in real life. Instead, we can just use Tinder, swipe right and have a boyfriend in 30 seconds and that is so much easier than flirting with a handsome stranger, right?