In case you missed my recent article in Advertising Week, here it is again.
Once upon a time, there was a little thing called a date. There was a boy and a girl, a car and a dinner. There was an awkward goodnight moment, a silly 3-day waiting period, a little spark, a follow up, and a second date. There was a little thing called romance. It is a with a heavy heart that we must place a metaphorical rose on the coffin of these ancient concepts in favor of a new time; the dawning of a new era where you’ve most likely DTR’d* if a guy uses his phone to call – a time where snap chats are the new non committal text – a time where guys ask ‘how do you like to be Tinder’d girl’ – and that time, ladies and gentlemen, is now.
You all know what Tinder is by now but in case you don’t, it’s a ‘Hot or Not’ dating-esque application that has very successfully removed the stigma from online dating as we know it. By showing mutual Facebook friends and eliminating rejection, coupled with a dash of gaming, Tinder has crafted a modern day love potion for the anti eHarmony 20-somethings of today. They’ve recently made updates to their platform to address slow chat time and age filter issues, two of the top complaints, and have even added a matchmaker feature where you can set two of your friends up on a date, to network or whatever you little heart desires.
Old news right? Stay with me.
Taking this a spark beyond the kindling, a new Facebook application recently hit the world wide web – it’s called BangWithFriends and no, I’m not kidding. God forbid you have the balls to friend request the girl you met last night or dare I say poke her, now, you can outright request a bang sesh with no strings attached. The app’s dev team, who describes themselves as, “badass dudes happy to play wingman to over 10,000 couples and counting now,” saw a void in the modern dating arena – and boy did they fill it (giggity).
Obviously I see a few issues here – the largest of which is security. For example, that moment you forget to put Spotify on private while jamming to ‘Just Around the River Bend’ because, well – it’s important to remember that the water’s always changing, always flowing and you just don’t know what’s around that bend. If those colors of the wind stream to Facebook though, color me.. I mean you- embarrassed. Despite supposedly secure settings, I’m not about to take any chances of being publicly associated with an application that reveals my desire to go to pound town with a random.
One of the many other unsettling parts of apps like this, while I understand their motivation and even appreciate their entertainment, is what they might mean for the future. The ‘why date when you can bang’ mindset is a messy one. Of course issues like safety, security, etc. will always be there; but taking a rather large step back, what might these social taboos turned norms mean for us and the way we ‘date’ moving forward? Online dating has been revolutionary in the way people meet and form relationships- but these digital booty calls take it to another level entirely.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m glad dating isn’t like it was in the 1950s. I do though, implore you Tinder-ers, Grinders, and BangWithFriends-ers to step back and properly categorize these new toys with a clear mind…and at least one foot firmly planted on the ground.