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I don’t believe hookup culture has infected our brains and turned us into soulless sex-hungry swipe monsters. It doesn’t do to pretend that dating in the app era hasn’t changed. Tinder arrived in 2012, and nipping at its heels came other imitators and twists on the format, like Hinge (connects you with friends of friends), Bumble (women have to message first), and others.Older online dating sites like OKCupid now have apps as well.“But on the other hand, Tinder just doesn’t feel efficient.I’m pretty frustrated and annoyed with it because it feels like you have to put in a lot of swiping to get like one good date.”I have a theory that this exhaustion is making dating apps worse at performing their function.

I don’t believe technology has distracted us from real human connection.I can feel myself half-assing it sometimes, for just this reason.Larry Lawal, a 27-year-old straight male software developer in Atlanta, says he used to meet up with women from the apps for dinner or drinks several times a month, but now, “I don’t know, something happened [since] the earlier days,” he says.“So it’s almost like the only recourse other than just sort of sitting around waiting for luck to strike is dating apps.”But then, if you get tired of the apps, or have a bad experience on them, it creates this ambivalence—should you stop doing this thing that makes you unhappy or keep trying in the hopes it might yield something someday?This tension may lead to people walking a middle path—lingering on the apps while not actively using them much.

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