Yesterday I watched a very powerful video that has apparently gone viral about our newfound inability to look up from our phones and engage in the real world. It highlights the moments in life which we often fail to truly enjoy and instead herald through our social media outlets. Scenarios such as the birthing of our children, the reading of our wedding vows, and even shamelessly posting the final moments of someone’s life, for the public eye. While I believe sharing certain aspects of achievements are inspirational and it’s always nice to see people doing well and living life happy, it’s important to know that these situations are amplified just as any media outlet amplifies its subjects.
In the situation where dating is concerned, one part of this video captures a moment where two seeming strangers walk past each other on a street. The man is staring down at his phone, completely unaware of the beautiful woman who just crossed his path. The video insinuates that if he were to look up, his life would magically change and alter course however, what we fail to realize is why social media has altered dating life dramatically, and it comes down to the simple fact of the catalogue of options and not just that he isn’t looking up, it’s because what he is looking into is a massively glorified version of what reality really looks like, and this hits the world of single life hard in our modern days.
Disclaimer* Online dating is a great gateway to meet people, however this modern day time-saver, while useful, has (in my opinion) altered the way we seek partners. The opinions I am about to promote are not intended to offend or demote the use of online dating.
It used to be that person A would meet person B in a physical setting whether it be through a mutual friends gathering a workplace, or by absolute chance (like crossing paths in the street.) From there, the two would get to know each other and if compatibility allowed, a relationship would soon follow. Nowadays, we meet person B through a catalogue of options, the most common place being online dating websites, though some use Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets to pick up a person of interest as well. The problem with online dating is that if person B has a slight flaw, it’s insanely easy to move on to person C, D, E, F and G through Z. We see hundreds of profiles, pictures, hobbies, and really limit our options by creating an ideal person whom we’ve been exposed to by social media glorification. The Fitspo movement has taught singles that we should strive to look like and be with someone who has a body manufactured by hours and hours of work, extremely disciplined dieting and non-exposure to life’s good stuff such as happy hour cocktails with friends and a slice of pizza followed by two bite brownies. We see photo shopped celebrity pictorials, skimpy fashion trends, unimaginable fairy tale wedding proposals that have most definitely induced some severe Ben and Jerry’s comas and the funny thing is, we buy in to all of it.
Our exposure to the world which has been made so easily accessible has taught us that we can always do better, and it constantly seeking the next bigger and better thing “we saw online”. This mentality is great to a degree but we have become a society constantly living for the chase, instead of enjoying the options to which we have already been presented. To chase a better career is one thing, but to constantly chase an idea of perfection based on this online “catalogue” is not just looking down, it’s looking stupid.
When it comes to finding someone to love, we hesitate. I can’t tell you how many people have scrutinized me and every tiny little defect I may have, but I am only human. To that same effect, I know I am also guilty of this tragic new world order. We are all about money, who has the better job, expensive fashion and baubles, nicest body, who looks great without makeup on, new cars, and the list goes on. What about the person you can talk to for hours and can make you laugh and shares the same life morals you do? Will you write him or her off because they don’t have as many Instagram followers as person J but person K really does have the best ass it’s just that person R comes from a wealthy family… AHH! Decisions, decisions! Social media is vanity for most people. “Look at me, look at my life, isn’t it fabulous? Don’t you just want to find your own perfect life like mine? Well you can… here, let me show you the internet…” and a red carpet rolls out, you walk it cocky with your head held high knowing perfection is just one step (click) away.
This is precisely what social media does to dating. Suddenly your minor defects are huge liabilities and can be avoided just by swiping left or clicking “see next profile” until one becomes so overloaded with options that we have created a version of ideal that annihilates any average Joe or Jane. It becomes impossible to compete and even more impossible to find our distorted version of what we think we deserve. So yes, I agree with the fact that people need to look up, not just so they don’t miss out on what real life has to offer, but also to face reality and stop constantly seeking a life we have been brainwashed to desire. So go ahead, date the person with the snaggle tooth, the dorky dumbo ears and the person shorter than you. Understand that great relationships are two individuals growing together and stop looking for the person already completed. Your catalogues are blinding you into thinking you want something that you might not even really need. Maybe what you need is right in front of you, if you are willing to “look up.”