Dating in Techno-Color

by Lindsey Ellefson

I hate that question. I hate it. “What’s a girl like you doing on one of these sites anyway?”

I hate it so much.

Okay, so you think I’m accomplished or you think I’m smart. Maybe you even think I’m cute. Whatever you think I am, you think I’m too much of it to be swiping left or right through a sea of nameless faces, meeting up with the ones whose two-dimensional words are the least offensive. What about you, though? Are you not smart? You’re not accomplished? Not cute? Why is it only weird for me to be using the same app that I see on your phone every time you hit its home button out of nervous, Millennial habit.

You are all of those things. You totally are, I swear. I should be having fun. I’m out grabbing drinks with someone cool, am I not? I shouldn’t be being so hard on someone so accomplished, so smart, and so cute. I shouldn’t be so harsh with someone I just met.

One stupid question, no matter how much I hate it, shouldn’t be getting to me.

I guess that means it isn’t the question that is bugging me.

What are we doing? Why are we actually here? The big cultural assumption is that the primary objective of these vacuous apps is sex, but I’ve never really used them that way. I can’t really guess why you’re here, and maybe it’s just because you want to get lucky, but I’m here because I feel obligated. I’m here because I’m terrified of missing out on experiences, terrified of spending Sunday mornings brunch-less and Friday nights party-less. I don’t want to be dating but I refuse to be date-less.

You’re nice enough. You seem funny and even though I think it’s pretty lame you work at a tech start-up, I admire your ambition. I can recognize that you’d be a good guy to date. The problem is that I’m not even over the last one I dated.

You know you wouldn’t be here either unless you were trying to get over her. You know her. She’s the girl who went to the state university with you upstate. You met her during orientation, forgot about her for a few wild semesters, and had a class with her at the end of your junior year. She knows everything about you and everything about the school that made you who you are. Too bad she moved back in with her parents after graduation. Too bad you got into that huge fight a three weeks before she left. Too bad she lives two states away now while you business-casual your way through an unfulfilling job and three random first dates a week. Meeting someone organically doesn’t feel right anymore. I get it.

I’m no better than you. I’m here because I keep my eyes down every time my train rolls through his stop. The train passes that station hundreds of times per day and there are eight cars per subway but I know I have bad luck and I keep my eyes firmly on the floor because one of these days, he will get on. When he does, he might be with that new girl from his Instagram photos. I’m here because there is a new girl in his Instagram photos. I’m here because I want to know if they fight when they’re not smiling for pictures, just like we used to. I’m here because I wonder if he met her by swiping right on her picture or finding out they have an 89% match even though they are 11% enemies. I’m here because we were a 100% match and 100% enemies all at once but it doesn’t matter anymore.

I probably won’t see you again. You probably won’t care. We are going to keep meeting other people, having insipid conversations, and working through whatever we are all working through separately, together. Consider, though, not asking any future dates what a girl like her is doing on one of these sites. We’re all doing the same damn thing.  

Lindsey has one motto: Learn stuff and have fun. To see more of her learning stuff and having fun while learning stuff and having fun yourself, check her out on Twitter, on Instagram, and on her writing portfolio!

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