Lately, it seems like everyone with whom I engage in conversation is perpetually bitching about the sordid trials and tribulations of "online dating" and "dating apps."
"It's so damn impersonal," my lovely friend Mona coldly declared to me over a mid-afternoon coffee. Her deep-set honey brown eyes met mine. The once infectious, brightly burning spark within her looked dead, like someone had extinguished her internal flames.
"F*CK TINDER!" my other friend, Mel*, loudly slurred to me at 1 am on a salacious Saturday night. She was wearing a red glittery jumpsuit of sorts, a bizarre-yet-oddly-chic little number that only a natural born fashionista can pull off. She was eight glasses of champagne deep and had stopped sugarcoating hours ago.
"Ugh, I just had the worst date. I'm DONE with dating online. Screw men, I'm switching teams ASAP," Luisa* told me via text message the morning after a Bumble date gone sorely awry. The date in question was not only a vehement Trump supporter, but he also, at 33, still lived in his parent's basement at the wrong end of Long Island.
"I had a Grindr relapse again," confessed another one of my dear friends, Miguel*, his massive doe eyes resembling two electric blue pools of shame.
"Not only that," he continued, "but I got a blowjob from a 24-year-old, closeted accountant with braces. Twice."
I watched his slender frame slip further into his brown leather couch. His fingers ran across the frayed edge of his rugged denim jacket.
"In one day."
Even I have gone on my fair share of sh*tty dating app dates, including one with a girl I met on OKCupid who tasted like stale cigarettes and practically ate my face off when we made out.
When it was over, my head spun from too much white wine and bad kisses, and I rushed to the bathroom so I could rinse my mouth of the physical and mental toxicities. But after gargling a stealth portion of Listerine, I kicked off my platform boots and stared into my reflection in the bathroom mirror, watching in amazement as my lips curved into a small irrepressible smile.
Because despite the sh*tty breath and crazy banter that had been bestowed upon me that fine evening, I had still enjoyed myself, in a twisted, narcissistic way.
This date was evidence that I was living life. I was out on the mother f*cking scene. I was officially a girl with dating stories.
Let's face the sweet music, kittens. Who are we kidding when we say we hate online dating? We wouldn't be so sorely addicted to dating apps if it wasn't a little, tiny, bit fun, right? We wouldn't be swiping left and right at the speed of wild forest bunnies breeding if we didn't secretly enjoy the whole circus right?
I would argue that the recent influx of mass cultural acceptance of dating apps/online dating has only enhanced our sex lives, love lives and, of course, lest we forget: our dating lives.
Nothing in the world is more fun than bitching to your friends about a sh*tty date.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as engaging in a full-throttle, RAW bitch-fest with your friends.
Human beings, as gorgeously graceful, madly intelligent and authentically "kind" as we can be, we all love a good bitch and moan. It just feels good to be bad. To let it all hang out. To let the juicy gossip run off the surface of our tongues and linger in the air.
Online dating gives us so much beautiful bitching material to work with. I love meeting a comrade for a morning mimosa on a Sunday and exchanging horror stories of bad breath, catfishes and mortifyingly awkward conversations.
They're less pressure.
It's insane pressure to meet a living, breathing entity in a bar setting. When I saunter off to the bar with my ladies, I find it very awkward to approach a stranger I find hot or intriguing.
My mind spirals straight into the "what if" vortex: What if they're taken? What if they're girlfriend is just in the bathroom and is going to beat me down with a baseball bat when she emerges and finds me hitting on her significant other (after all, girls can be crazy)? What if I'm outwardly rejected (I can't handle a face-to-face rejection from a stranger!)? Oh, oh, what if, what if, what f*cking if?!
It's so much pressure! It's all-consuming!
On the contrary, online dating is about as low pressure as it can get. You know everyone is single (they're on a dating app, DUH), and you can scroll through his or her neatly displayed profiles in the comfort of your favorite pinstriped pajamas whilst cuddled up beneath the down comforter with a nice cup of straight up vodka.
They give us the perfect excuse to get dolled the f*ck up.
When you're stuck in a dating rut, it's easy to become a complete and utter recluse who never leaves the confines of her six-story walkup.
Your sweatpants start to take the shape of your body. You start to make passionate love, nightly -- to your remote control -- and you know the delivery guy a little too well.
Online dating means more dating opportunities. And it's fun as f*ck to put on a fierce shade of lipstick, dust off ye ol’ sex-vixen heels and toss on that pretty mini dress.
Even if the date rapidly goes south, getting dressed up is fun! It pulls you out of your sloth slump. And when you’re done, you can always go dance the night away at the local gay club with boys who will surely appreciate your chic efforts.
We get to meet people outside of our inner circle.
Sometimes I forget there is an entire, teeming world outside of my three-piece group of friends. I get so caught up in OUR lives that I forget that I live in New York Goddamn City, and there are millions of untapped people I haven't ever connected with.
Even if my date doesn't end up working out romantically, just one person can become a friend for life exposing you to a whole sea of new, exciting people.
They remind us how varied our taste is.
Sometimes we get so sorely stuck in the same bars meeting the same exact f*ckboys and f*ckgirls in their same exact f*ckboy and f*ckgirl outfits that we forget there is a huge diversity in our spectrum of attraction.
Suddenly, as you scroll through Tinder, you think, “Sh*t, I didn't know I was into punk rockers, but damn, she's hot!" Or "I never thought of dating a bisexual banker -- but maybe it's kinda sexy!"
It's refreshing to know we can be attracted to more than one flavor from more than one shop.
We actually go ON DATES.
I'm sorry, but meeting people at bars rarely materializes into a proper date. It's too booze-fueled. It just doesn't happen. At best it leads to a one-night stand in a sh*t hole apartment and a hungover trip to Walgreens to purchase Plan B.
They provide us with a nice buzz of validation.
When you have had a sh*t day, sometimes it's just nice to get a little cheap high off validation, a temporary pick-me-up from the crack pipe of Tinder.
"You're pretty" or "You seem interesting" is just enough to get a little buzz.
Now, kittens, we can't depend on outside sources like Tinder or Bumble for our self-esteem. But a lovely little compliment is sometimes precisely what the doctor ordered after a long, arduous day.
So stop kidding yourself, kids. Online dating is a wild, thrilling rollercoaster ride we're not hopping off anytime soon -- that is, at least until we find someone worth "cuffing" with.
*Name has been changed