He’s had only one real relationship with someone he met in person: Justin Bettis, his podcast cohost. It’s not that people don’t want to strike up conversations with strangers and fall in rom-com-style love.
Bettis, a 31-year-old lawyer who lives in Francisville, said he wants to feel the “magic-making” of a serendipitous meeting. “It’s a lot easier to make a move in a way that society says is acceptable now, which is a message,” said Philadelphia-based matchmaker Erika Kaplan, “rather than making a move by approaching someone in a bar to say hello.
Their free membership, which allows you to create a profile and view potential matches without messaging them, is the perfect low-stakes testing ground if you’re trying to figure out whether this whole dating-site thing is for you. Plenty of Fish Plenty of Fish is a happy medium between Tinder’s easy-to-use, hookup-friendly platform and Match’s more value-driven, retro platform.
“And, honestly, we become lazy.” Will, a 26-year-old CPA who lives in Fishtown and asked to use only his first name so he could speak freely about his dating experiences, said about 80 percent of the first dates he’s been on since college were with women he met on dating apps.
He said it’s not rejection that stops him — it’s about avoiding making the other person uncomfortable in denying him.
If someone messages her, she always responds (even if she’s not interested) by thanking them for reaching out, commenting something positive, and wishing them luck.
She said treating online dating “transactionally” is “commoditizing the people with whom you’re interacting." Social graces can be smoother on apps that allow for more up-front explanation.
“They don’t know where the line is,” said Edwards, who added that he doesn’t want to excuse unacceptable behavior, but said the difference between flirting and harassment can be different for different women. It could be for someone.” Kaplan, vice president of client experience for the matchmaking service Three-Day Rule, said men are "afraid to approach women for fear of being too aggressive or forward.” In turn, women “have been conditioned to be surprised and almost confused or put off when a guy makes a move to say hello at a bar.” One woman, a community organizer from West Philly who’s in her early 30s and frequently goes out with people she meets on dating apps, said she likes to bring up #Me Too early in conversations with men as a litmus test of respect.
She said since the movement took off in 2017, “it’s not like men are any better or different, it’s just they’ve learned more what they are and aren’t supposed to say.” The woman, who asked to speak anonymously to talk about her exes, said sometimes she “screens” potential dates with a call.
Ditto for her friend Thyo Pierre-Louis, also a 20-year-old Penn student, who identifies as bigender and uses masculine pronouns.
Pierre-Louis said he’s never approached someone for a date in person.
For young people who have spent most of their dating lives courting strangers online, swiping feels easier than approaching the local hottie at the bookstore.