By Phil Pastor
Senior Staff Writer
Typically, attraction boils down to: “Are they hot or not?” Apps and websites such as OkCupid and Tinder have created a new way for people to meet others and interact. However, only a decade ago, online dating was commonly frowned upon and disdained as an illegitimate method of meeting people. According to a comparative study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2012, 42 percent of adults knew someone who used online dating, while 29 percent knew someone who entered into a long-term relationship using it.
Dating habits have always changed, but a person can easily see how our social lives are now linked to technology. Before, asking someone out for a date required a face-to-face interaction. Around the 1960s, the rotary phone made asking your distant admirer out possible. Now, apps and websites created for smartphones have furthered that innovation in dating with a twist – texting. All it requires is a smartphone and a desire to create a relationship with someone.
Based on a survey of more than 125 Brookhaven College students, 28 percent preferred to meet through social places such as a club, a classroom, a church or a game, with only 3 percent open to meeting someone online. “I don’t like that there may be people who aren’t always honest,” Brookhaven student Alexis Polichetti said.
Online dating has its perks for those who are in a hurry to find their significant others. Unlike taking a gamble with someone hoping to score, online dating uses more scientific methods to connect with potential partners. Most dating websites feature an algorithm, essentially a mathematical function that calculates your compatibility with nearby users, filtering while providing a sort of synopsis of who they are. “I liked that you can find out if a person is a creep or not before wasting your time,” student Imari Connor said.
The requirement of filling out a profile adds an extra layer for interpretation. On top of mathematical compatibility, a profile provides a chance for a user to define themselves by sexual orientation, religion, goals and musical taste. These apps and sites also allow the user to evaluate a profile as they would look over a résumé. However, this method sometimes has drawbacks. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University said 80 percent of users lie about height, weight and age. “It’s like that Catfish TV show – you never know what to expect,” Brookhaven student John Rivera said.
For those who are looking for a more unique partner, a number of dating websites offer something new and unusual for those more particular tastes. Mulletpassions. com connects people who prefer or have mullets. Glut enf r e e s ingl e s . com offers relief from the burden of being gluten free while dating. And Clowndating.com gives red nosed entertainers with a lonely heart a chance to find love. Internet dating, whatever the site or app used, has made securing a partner all the more convenient.