“It’s no different than approaching someone in a bar,” my friend countered when I explained my apprehension with dating apps.
“It’s all based on looks.” My friend had a point about superficial attraction and subconscious evaluations—but she wasn’t completely right.
All encounters (online or not) might be looks-based, but when you happen to meet a stranger in a coffee shop or a bar, you have zero expectations of who they are as a person.
I settled for the least disagreeable photo I could find.
In it I’m wearing a simple black dress and smiling with two other friends.
On the flip side, it enabled me to indulge in narcissistic behavior, like spending time searching through photos I thought I looked best in, or suddenly having the urge to take a better photo of myself that would boost my profile.
The carefully crafted online encounter I created felt both misrepresentative and misleading.
Expectations that either we project on others, or expectations we hope to set through the profiles we carefully craft.
A lot can be discerned from photos, and apps like Bumble give you the option to reveal information like where you went to school and where you work. As a result, I had preconceived notions of people based on their profiles, and I was primed to view each person through the lens of my own expectations.
Without ever meeting, I already had a watercolor portrait of this guy painted for me, all thanks to Bumble.
I had pinned him as the friendly, family-oriented, outdoorsy type.
In the case of online dating, it would mean meeting someone without having context of who they are.