Superficiality (and the biomechanics of dating)

My brother and I are both in our 40s, divorced, single, and use dating apps. Over Thanksgiving weekend, and in the midst of day drinking while binge watching Poldark, we had a convo about our experiences.

We talked about how we’ve (plural on a societal level, ourselves included) quickly become even more superficial in the internet age and how easy it is to make value judgements before we’ve even met someone “in real life”.

For my brother, he knows his car is a turnoff. He said it’s embarrassing to show up for a date in an old, tired-looking vehicle. He knows that even when he gets to the meet in real-life stage, women judge him on his current car. His self-admitted superficiality: he has a definite, narrow physical type.

While my physical type is fairly (caught that qualifier, huh?!) broad and encompasses the full “chocolate spectrum”, if someone only has a high school diploma or works a blue collar job, I’m much more likely to swipe left, before I even check to see what they’ve written. And bad teeth. That’s a turnoff for me. I know I’m judged on my appearance. As someone who doesn’t have clear, smooth skin or the body of an athlete/model/actress (but do have gorgeous eyes and great smile, gotta flaunt my positive physical attributes!) I know that guys are swiping left before they have a chance to read about me in 299/300 characters on Bumble and 497/500 characters on Tinder.

And these apps make it soooooo easy to be superficial. It’s extremely difficult to say anything significant about yourself or what you’re looking for in 500 characters, let alone 300! And as a bit of a grammar snob, I want more than just emojis. How do I know if your use of its/it’s is due to grammar knowledge or character limits?!

It’s hard to meet people in real life, even when living in urban/suburban communities. We still make value judgements, but we do get a sense of someone’s “essence” and they ours. They hear that we have a great laugh. We see how they treat others. Our character starts to come into play. That’s what’s important after all. Physical attributes change with age and disease. Character has staying power.

In the meantime, my brother and I are both stuck with people pimping out their kids in their profile pics (another post for another day), my brother with duck face, and I with guys holding dead animals. Neither one of us are seeking anything serious (or just hook-ups) right now. Good thing we’re both comfortable being single! It’s a jungle out there.

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