I am sure that neither Leonard Kleinrock, JCR Licklider, Larry Roberts, Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, nor Radia Perlman had any idea that when they were developing the concept of the internet, it will be used for this – mobile dating.
I remember in the early 90’s during my pre-teen years, it was all about looking cool like a member of a boy band, shooting hoops during the summer to impress some girl in the audience and later have a summer fling which you brag about when school starts – very reminiscent of Grease’ Summer Nights I know. Then in late 90’s and early this century, most of the people around the globe were into online dating. Trying to be worldly, people started joining chatrooms, getting email addresses, visiting each other’s country and later on getting married; if not, the process just repeats itself. Online dating became a bigger sensation when webcams and headsets were introduced to the world and still is a hit. Then came the smartphones.
A few months back, very much single during St. Valentines Day, two of my best friends came and went on a wine bender with me. During our discussion of dating, one of my friends mentioned that he, being a very gay man that he was, had excellent “gay-dar” which is why he had a very active dating life. Noting various instances when people are wrong when judging people’s sexual preferences, especially when it came to celebrities, I tried to disprove his gay-dar theory. Little did I know that what he meant was something more concrete – an application on his iPod Touch pointing out other gay people to him – Grindr. It is a social media application where one can locate gay people within distance of the user. It was quick and easy with photos and basic information about the people for conversation starters. I asked him, “Is there a counterpart for straight people?” He, then, told me about Blendr, a social media application for my iPhone to track down single women. I downloaded it immediately and it even had a screening process based on location and age preferences. This connected me to hundreds of single women who had varied reasons for joining in – from looking for one night stands to finding “the one,” all in the palm of my hands.
Most men will agree when I say that one of the best parts of a romantic relationship is the chase; That is why even some married men still flirt around – to feel that rush of excitement of trying to bait a girl into liking them. With a mobile dating application on your smartphone, you can have that feeling at one touch a button. Going through Apple’s App Store, there is a whole list of other mobile dating application. Being the geek I am, I did the math. If Blendr can connect me to at least a hundred women, downloading other applications can only double my chances. So I tracked down two of the best applications with good reviews online, OK Cupid and SKOUT.
Blendr, OK Cupid and SKOUT have thousands of users from the Philippines and millions all over the globe. Each application has its preference selection tool allowing you to modify who you want to see and who can see you. Using location services for iPhone users, you can even track those around your area with Blendr calculating the distance down to the last meter. You can send photos and private messages over the application, which saves the hassle of getting their phone numbers. For SKOUT, you can even build a “hotlist” where you can make an inventory of users you really like and get back to their profiles easier than browsing through the whole lot all over again. OK Cupid has a very comprehensive series of questions that matches your answers to others from simple hygiene questions to belief systems.
True enough, I’ve had meaningful conversations with plenty of women, who were, in a Pick-Up Artist’s scale, would be 8’s, 9’s and even 10’s. More than their looks, most of the women I’ve talked to were very smart from degree holders to supervisors in their companies. I got more information from them than what I would’ve gotten from an actual date.
In a world that moves faster than us, mobile dating has become a great tool for meeting new people and cutting the barriers of awkward conversations and the hassle of city traffic. But it does beg the question, how far will mobile dating go? Just like internet dating, it may be used for prostitution and mail-order brides. It is not far, if not happening now., when membership in these applications become saturated with exploiters who sell themselves to the highest bidder. So I leave a caveat to my fellow users, be wary to those people you talk to. They may be just after your personal information, or worse, your money. With the convenience of dating nowadays, why pay for something you can have for free and it comes better because it is not founded on something as superficial as money.
Nevertheless, the technology is out there. I’m excited to find out what will be next after mobile dating. Teleporters maybe?