Online dating for cyclists
That is, we take a lot of pleasure from online dating, but the pleasure seems to consist mostly in loathing a great many of the people we meet.
This post is one of a three-part series that explores the hi’s, hello’s, and what the actual fucks of modern dating.
Invented in 1886, the so-called “safety bike” was, after the horse, the first entirely personal and private mode of transportation. But they couldn’t ride wearing a dress or carrying a parasol. “It has done more to emancipate women than anything else in this world.”And that included in the realm of dating, too.
But it happens to be bullshit for an interesting reason. And women — much to the chagrin of finger-wagging traditionalists, disapproving matrons, and men who’d rather see them remain in their drawing rooms, wrapped in crinolined skirts and bodices — women were out in the streets, wind in their bloomers, riding bicycles. It’s worth being super duper clear about this: the bicycle disrupted everything. At dusk the cyclists rode homeward, their wheels revolving silently under the lanterns and through the soot. Unlike its predecessor, the big-wheeled “boneshaker”, women could mount the safety bike with relative ease. Anthony, in a 1896 interview with the New York World.
But luckily I found this line in the site’s mission statement: “So whether you’re looking for a new relationship or just seeking new friendships, now you can find it in an environment populated with people just like you.” So I guess it wouldn’t hurt to find some riding buddies. Topics range from appearance to religion to your fashion sense and drinking behavior!
You can even upload a photo to complement your written description. I checked out the search function it worked marvelously.
Online dating seems to be the big thing these days, with new matchmaking sites popping up every day.
Gary Kremen: a self-proclaimed “loser” from Skokie, Illinois who, in the early ’90s, having spent a small fortune (and not a small amount of time) making phone calls to -per-minute 1–900 personals hotlines, decided it would be imminently more efficient if he could find women by looking them up in a searchable database. Now, it’s going to take a minute, but I want to explain that dating apps are simply a faster type of bicycle, and that dating apps have done the exact same thing to human relationships that bicycles did: They have rearranged how we relate to each other by organizing their users around their functions. That hyper-efficient and convenient coupling may not be in our long term best, humans-living-among-humans interests.
That many of us today are just so accustomed to swipe-swipe-swiping that we forget that dating online is not just “meeting more people in less time” but “meeting many more people, in much less time, every single day, no matter where you are”, and is so cursory an experience that it fundamentally changes what it means to value another living, breathing, bones-and-a-butt person.
It was just as true for the heartfelt personals of 19th century England, which aggregated attention via newspaper (“seeking a woman having good teeth and little feet”) as it was for the tender frugalities of the first online dating site, Match.com, which aggregated attention via web site (“subscribe to contact members for under /month! The evolution of dating has continually been towards maximum possible reach (more x, less y) with maximal possible speed (z).
If this description of dating economics sounds unattractively clinical, I present for your consideration the motives of one Mr. Match’s calculus is, today, at least doubly or triply true for apps like Tinder or Bumble, where maximum possible reach is any of the apps’ 50 million users, and minimum possible effort is swiping your thumb. But one big argument I’m going to make is that the most dangerous thing about dating apps is that we don’t take them seriously enough as a definer of what it means to be a human being.