Theory on online dating
A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.
Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.
It makes it easier for someone who is looking for something very specific in a partner to find what they are looking for.
It also helps the people who use the apps by allowing them to enjoy a pattern of regular hookups that don’t have to lead to relationships.
I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?
Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?
Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.
"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.