You bought her a drink, listened to her talk about her cats, paid for dinner, and maybe now things can get to the next level. All of that and now things can finally get good. Or you could just scrap it altogether and video chat her in real-time.
According to USA Today, that’s what digital dating companies like Dating.fm, Flikdate, and Video Date now offer in their mobile apps, giving us the option to not even have to worry about what pants we’re wearing on the first “date.” Not only do you not need to leave your apartment — especially as the Polar Vortex decides to target you specifically — but you can save money, effort, and energy — energy you need to catch up on Downton Abbey and figure out your juicer.
It is super convenient. You can have a “date” without even having to finish folding your laundry or cleaning up your room (in case someone comes over). You just need to find your best lighting, the cleanest corner of the apartment, and make sure the camera phone shoots you from the shoulders up. And yes, this does mean that you can wear pajama bottoms as you get to know one another better.
We already invest a lot into a first date: new outfit, time to get ready, the dinner bill, and subway fare for a dud of a date. It’s not just the time, it’s also the effort. If things are not flowing, you can always invent an emergency out of frame — like your couch suddenly catching fire — to cut things short. Or, better yet, have the TV on mute as he talks. Though on the other side of the coin, these outside distractions could work against us.
While the frugal, lazy side of me supports the idea of mobile dating, the romantic in me feels slightly cheated. I’d want to see the guy outside of my apartment, partly because I should leave my apartment and have human interaction on a day-to-day basis. I also want to be able to comment on the waiter’s judgmental look and passive aggressive joke after I place a double dessert order. None of that can happen – the order, the joke, the eye contact – if I’m not willing to go out into the actual universe.
I suppose in mobile mode we could discuss our interests, describe our childhoods, debate the benefits of Obamacare, and roll our eyes at Justin Bieber. But where’s the fun in that? There’s no shared experience, no seeing if that person will hold the door for the elderly lady behind you, no body language to read into and overanalyze later. Maybe I’m old fashioned . Or maybe I just want an excuse to get the double dessert.