I was eight years old when my mother passed away. I consistently asked my dad questions about her. How did you meet? What was she like? What could have been different? I wasn’t really sure what I was asking, but knew their story inside and out.
From 2003 to 2004, my dad was overworked, commuting, and tired from running to different little league games. In late 2004, he started ‘going out with friends’, leaving my brother, Jon to babysit me. However strange this was, Jon and I had a great time. He never brought anyone home to meet us except for the woman, who would go on to be our mom, Janet. In fact, he didn’t even bring her home to meet us. It was 2005 and my dad retired from coaching my older brothers little league team to coach mine. It was an important playoff game for my team, and I pitched a stellar three innings. After we won, I met the one woman in the stands I didn’t recognize. Unaware and the affable kid I was, I told Janet to come over and eat dinner with us. She complied, and the rest is history.
However, as great of a love story as it is, I later learned that my parents met on J-Date (an online dating site for Jewish folks). I didn’t even know that this was thing. All I knew was how my dad and mother met in a past life. I was confused as to how and why people would subscribe to such a strange means of encounter.
As time went on, and life was normalized, I learned about online dating through apps like tinder. Fortunate to have met my girlfriend in a more holistic real-life setting, I thought online dating was being used purely for casual hookups, and anyone who met their significant other on an app was weird. In 2013, I met a pretty cool guy in college who legitimately met his girlfriend off Tinder. He was the first person I met who actually admitted to meeting his girlfriend off of Tinder. I still found it odd.
Since then, I’ve learned that my parents were early adopters to what I would consider normal if not expected for contemporary times. With the emergence of better technology and algorithms to more effectively connect people, it’s plausible to say that in five years the majority of new relationships will be from apps. There are apps for all different types of encounters, whether casual or more serious relationships.
Part of me sees a dystopian future straight out of Black Mirror where people are unhappy with their matches and constantly swiping. On the flip side, I think the more unique and personalized the dating app, the better likelihood of a true match. I’d be interested in seeing relationship data behind between Tinder Vs. Hinge. As you can see with Coffee Meets Bagel, dating App founders are asking for venture funding to build empires, not just meaningless hookups.
Some of my best friends have met their boyfriends and girlfriends on apps. It’s interesting how something went from being a faux pas to a $3 Billion industry. I’ve learned that dating apps are changing the world, and my parents were of the first crusaders.