Why Is There Still A Stigma Around Online Dating?

Why Is There Still A Stigma Around Online Dating?

Less rom-com and more rom-Vine.
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I ordered a MacBook case from Amazon. It’s marble and makes me feel like I’m adhering to the Tumblr aesthetic.

We order cases online. We read articles online. We order food. We make Facebook study groups.

Our world is becoming increasingly grounded in virtual reality, and yet we still harbor major judgment about meeting people online. After the initial craze of Tinder died down, it became weird to still be on it. We hold judgment about people meeting on Grindr, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel. If someone in college is on eHarmony, we think they’re prematurely considering spinsterhood.

But why is there still a stigma about meeting online? How does it really differ from meeting someone in a bar? Or bumping into someone in line at the grocery store?

“It seems like a last resort,” said Claire.

Part of it is residual—judgment passed down from our parents. Our parents didn’t grow up with the Internet, so they view it with a certain disdain and distance. My parents grew up a mile from each other, and met while volunteering at their former middle school. My grandparents grew up together. Their world was small, and their dating pool was even smaller.

But with the advent of the Internet, our world has been cracked wide open. When I was abroad, I was able to be as annoyed by my parents as I am when I’m standing right next to them. Our world is big and small; everything is instantaneous. As millennials, we don’t see the Internet as some foreign entity. We see it as a natural extension of social interaction. But with the positive comes the dark side.

“It’s anonymous, so people use it to be the weirdest versions of themselves,” said Kate. And that anonymity—and the subsequent weirdness—creates a blanket generalization. If one person was weird, then they all must be weird, right? Because the Internet is the safe haven for weirdos, it carries the bad rap that if you are using it for dating, then you must have something wrong with you.

But that’s not the case. In the same way that people used professional matchmakers and blind dates, we use social dating apps. We’re busy, and sometimes we want to take the impetus out of our own hands. I can only ask out so many people before I want to give up, grab a pint of ice cream and curl up in a ball. It’s not just desperate people who are utilizing the digital dating scene. It’s us; it’s me; it’s you.

“I went through and all of my friends had either a Bumble or something, and I thought, ‘Well you guys are normal,'” said Emma.

So if normal people are using apps like Tinder and Hinge, then the Internet can’t just be for the millennial Norman Bates' of the world. It’s time that we stop keeping our habits in the metaphorical closet. Everyone and their mother—sometimes literally—uses dating apps and websites. It’s the way of the world. And the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner the stigma will diminish. Our world is becoming increasingly digital, so dating online will become more and more common. I don’t think it’ll ever replace the traditional meet-cutes, so keep loitering around that cute barista, but don’t love-shame your friend who uses Tinder recreationally.

Unless they’re literally Norman Bates, in which case maybe report that? Use your judgment.

Cover Image Credit: Oprah

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To The Girl Who Still Has Her Mom This Christmas

To the girl with who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas. 
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     To the girl who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas, please remember to soak every last bit of it in. 

      Please remember to hug her so tight, that the way she smells is locked into your nose. Listen to all the stories you've heard a million times, like you've never heard a single one. Help her, even if it seems completely silly to you, help her mix that cake. Laugh, oh please laugh. Laugh at all her corky ways, at the way she mispronounces words, try's to be hip and use new found lingo, or how she cusses when she forgot to get the rolls out of the oven but quickly asks the Lord for forgiveness. Remember her laugh, etch it into your brain. Make her happy, if she wants to go riding around looking at Christmas lights down the same streets you've went for years, do it. Don't fuss, take her advice, agree to just disagree on things. It's not worth it. Most importantly, remind her over and over how much you love her. 

     Because unlike you, I'm not able to see my mom on Christmas. I'm not able to see her on birthdays, Thanksgiving, or any other occasion. My time with her is up. Death is the most permanent heartbreak. 

     How I long to hear her voice, her laugh. To feel her tight embrace. Smell, oh god, what I would give to just be able to smell her. I would absolutely love to go riding around for hours while she ohhs and ahhs at every single house we pass. If I had the opportunity I'd tell her just how much I love her, how I'm so thankful for all the sacrifices she made for me. In fact, I'm not sure I could ever tell her enough. 

      Some days I wake up and it still doesn't feel real. Others, I panic trying to remember exactly how she sounded. Because, I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget a single characteristic about her. Not one. 

     Take time, not just on holidays, or special occasions to be with your mom. Even if it's just you two piled up watching reruns of "The Little House on the Prairie", soak it in. 

    You only get one momma. Nobody could ever take her place. She's your rock. 

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Solitude vs Community: Who Would Win?

Is this really a competition that can be won?

Janine
Janine
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It can be tough to be alone sometimes. The endless stretches of solitude. The deafening silence within the room. I find it welcoming and maddening at the same time. The need for this time where all I have is myself is necessary to my sanity. It is that time where someone should "just be" as I have seen so many times on social media.

Self-care, stillness, quiet reflection…these are the sentiments that I am constantly bombarded with. However, there is another side to this coin: community. There are those who encourage being in the company of others. Find time to be with others, don't spend too much time in the confinement of solitude, your friends need you.

It calls to mind a series of books my son reads entitled: "Who Would Win?" It pits the strong versus the strong. The winner is not revealed until the very end of the book. One finds themselves choosing a side and rooting for their choice.

The pages cannot be turned fast enough. Anticipation rises as the end of the book draws near. Then the revelation comes and…there is no clear-cut victor. When it comes to the battle of solitude versus community who the winner is will vary from person to person or mood to mood, as it is for me.

I am never quite sure which one I will want. Some days I want to be around my friends and family. Other times, I want to be wrapped up in the blanket of quiet against the noise of the realm of my inner circle. And then there are the times when no matter what choice I make, it doesn't feel like the right one. Is this a competition that can truly be won? No matter how many people I could ask this question to, the answer would be different each time. As for me, I'll take a little bit of both.

Janine
Janine

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