Like a lot of things these days, dating in the 21st century has gone mobile. And NYU’s steady resistance to forming a community has led many students down the path of the dating app, whether they’ll admit it or not.
Not surprisingly, most students shied away when asked about their activity on the apps. They wanted to be left anonymous, as if this was a piece would accuse them of an illegal activity. It’s just dating, people, everyone our age wants to meet someone.
As of May this year, Tinder, a popular dating app, had served 50 million matches, according to TechCrunch. Seems like a pretty good chance for finding someone, even if it is just a hookup. And that’s just one of many apps and sites out there designed to help you find “the one” or “the many,” as it would seem. There’s OkCupid, Grindr, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Grouper, Swoon, and more.
Generally, the apps all work the same, but are built for different interests. Grindr is for finding “gay, bi, curious guys,” while Swoon recently rebranded itself as “putting women first.” Grouper is for blind group dates, and even has an official hashtag on Instagram: #groupergram.
Profiles and location are used to show people in the area and some of their basic information, like age and a photo. Tinder and Okcupid seem to be the most popular among NYU students.
“It’s NYC–we’re all so busy running around in our own worlds that it can be difficult to date,” said Kim Pham (Stern, ’14). “NYU students are some of the most hectic people I know, but relationships, and/or hookups, are something we all want. It makes a lot of sense in today’s lifestyle. For me, my entire life is online– so why not take dating there?”
Pham prefers Okcupid, but not all of her matches with the app have been positive. Just like any dating situation, there were some less than prefect pairings. One guy she met up with ended up arguing with her about the value of Twitter (she works in tech and startups) and left her at the bar in a fit. “It was so bizarre because, ‘A’, I never expected him to pay for my drink, and ‘B’, his pride was so hurt by someone challenging him,” Kim said.
Despite the prevalence of dating apps, an overwhelming amount of students seem to feel guilty or embarrassed about using them.
“I felt there was a stigma against it,” said Cullen Schiele (CAS ’14), who has had some experience using Okcupid. “However, once I got more into it and realized that normal people exist on OKC, I got more comfortable with it and actually had fun. I think online dating is totally fine and will only become more so as more people get into it.”
Basically, everyone seems to be ashamed for no reason. We all want to meet people and NYU makes it particularly difficult to find someone. Apps might help some students find love or something (anything) else.
“I think some people use them to hook up. I think others genuinely want to meet someone they might miss out on by sticking to their usual social circles,” Schiele said. “Honestly, for me it was a bit of both. Once I started chatting with people on OKC I got really into the idea of actually meeting someone on there.”