Friday, March 14, 2014

A Normal Relationship? What Does That Mean In This Day And Age?

.:Normal Is Relative. Also, Overrated.:.

I don't really share this much because I don't find it a big deal, but I've been meeting people here and there recently thanks to Tinder, which is, for lack of a better term, a dating app.

Not to be confused with Grindr.

It's been great, really. At worst, I've made several new friends because of Tinder. I didn't come in with high expectations, but I must say, making new friends can't be a bad thing at all. Where's the harm in getting to know new people, right? It's not like going on Tinder means that from this point on, the only interactions I would have would be with people I meet through the app or something.

And truth be told, it's not like I'm in a rush to find anyone at this point. After the emotional beating my heart went through last year, I do believe that just letting things play out as they may would be the most prudent course of action for me.

But Tinder, for what it's worth, really rocks, regardless of that.

You see, I've met several people already that I would never have otherwise. Different points of view, different opinions, different mindsets, and the fact that romance isn't really the primary concern for me walking into it allowed me to really widen my horizons through it. And true, being a guy, I don't get inundated with indecent proposals from matches left and right, but it's not like I toss any of them around myself, so that about balances out.

Despite that, when I told a friend of mine about Tinder and how it's been great for me so far, she suddenly freaked out and told me that maybe I should try meeting people "the normal way."

She found it strange, because to her, women are meant to be pursued, and when it comes to Tinder, the woman has every bit as much agency as a man to pursue if they so choose to. I wouldn't even call it aggressive, because it isn't: it's simply showing that what is good for the goose should likewise be good for the gander, and the notion of gender roles dictating women cannot reach for what they want in a man the way Tinder enables them to is something I can't help but scoff at.

So I had to examine the meat of her statement: that I should try meeting people "the normal way." What does this even mean?

Back then, we had phone pals and pen pals. Complete strangers who randomly get to know each other by sheer randomicity.

Then in the age of the internet, in came the chatrooms. ASL? Yes, please. I know so many people who got to know each other through the internet, and lo and behold, a lot of them are married now.

And now, with the internet fitting in your pocket, the chance to meet people is now as simple as an app.

Yet somehow, anything short of meeting a person physically doesn't fall under "normal?" Or were pen pals and phone pals also "normal?" Were meeting a person and speaking to them through an app mutually exclusive for the latter to not be "normal?" Think about that for a moment, because to me, it doesn't make one lick of sense.

And has it ever occurred to anyone that because you spend more time communicating than anything else before you even meet for the first time, there are some very clear advantages to how people meet in today's internet age, which actually leads to better marriages in general for them?

I can't help but have a kneejerk reaction to the assumption that using an app to meet people is somehow not "normal" simple because it now exists when it did not less than five years ago, or that eyeballing a friend or potential love of your life is not "normal" because chatrooms were not exactly a thing two or three decades ago. And besides, is something being "not normal" necessarily a bad thing? If you met a new friend, or found the love of your life without having to be neighbors with them, or classmates, or officemates, or introduced by friends or family, is that in any way objectionable?

"But you can't know the other person as well as when you meet them in the flesh!" Are you kidding me right now? You have people married for decades, cheating on each other. They've had all the time in the world to get to know each other, but that clearly didn't do much, did it? It's not like you completely shut out the personal aspect when you meet someone through the internet. It's not like you just decide that yes, I will totally fall in love with typed words and not consider the person behind these words and the need to perhaps see them and find that wonder offline as well as I found it online. These things are not. Mutually. Exclusive. So stop treating them like they are.

The times are changing, for better or worse. Despite that, the ability to meet new people when you previously could not have, the opportunity to widen your horizons and explore new realms where you could not have gone before, apps like Tinder do not cheapen the experience or devalue them, at all. These things enhance our ability to find connections where none previously existed, so how could that, in and by itself, actually be a bad thing?

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