Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

This is a follow-up article to last week’s article announcing the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate “Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance,” held in NYC on February 8, 2018.


By Suzanne Dooley

Well, the votes came in and it was an overwhelming landslide. Last week’s intelligence2 Valentine’s Day debate on the motion “Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance” left no wiggle room on this issue whatsoever. An unequivocal “no” was had: dating apps have not killed romance.

As is customary in an intelligence2 debate, where fluidity of opinion is important, thoughtful debaters were had on both sides. Romance took on the Oxford English Dictionary’s meaning during the debate: “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” Those for the motion argued: Dating apps are “fast food romance”; “treat people like products”; “it’s a world of limitless dating choices which makes true romance harder to find.” Those against the motion argued: “Dating apps allow you to meet people who you might not otherwise have a chance to meet”; “it’s the newest way to do the same old thing”; “it breaks down social barriers and allows you to expand your options.”

Both sides are, indeed, correct. However, in this digital age, dating apps are just one of the many examples as to how our personal and professional lives are being reshaped, and not necessarily replaced. And that, of course, includes romance and the dating process itself. The method of voting used in the intelligence2 debate was had on personally-owned phones and the choice of three options: Yes. No. Undecided. Similar to dating app options, no? The irony was not overlooked. By me anyway.

Love In The Time Of Tinder

“Hey.” “Whaaaaat’s Up.” “You’re hot.”

Yes, these have been some of the introductory messages I have received on dating apps from supposedly educated men over the age of 35. I have also been on the receiving end of a declaration of an abiding love for me before he knew my name and I, his name (yes, of course, I swiped left). And I’ve also experienced the dreaded, no response.

Last week Drew Barrymore spoke about her dating app experience. And it turns out it’s very similar to mine. Drew was asked by Guy#1: What is someone like you doing on an app like this? She was puzzled as to how to respond to this question. Was it an insult or compliment? Texting with Guy#2, she asked him if he was inclined to go for a drink. No response. Ever. Guy#3 texts Drew that he could meet up with her but only from 7-8 p.m., as he had something else to do afterwards. (By the way, this one-hour interlude is considered by most a “date.”)

Drew says she done with dating apps. I’m much more optimistic. At least, for the time being.

The Bad Boy vs. Mr. Right

This is the digital age and it’s here to stay and so, of course, dating and romance has taken on a 21st century flare. And, yes, as with any unchartered territory, problems arise. But so do opportunities. With the majority of intelligence2 voters agreeing that dating apps have not killed romance – then how do we find it online? Is online romance any different from the bar scene? Walking down the street? As Samantha from Sex And The City warned us: “It’s slim pickings out there. You can’t swing a Fendi purse without knocking over five losers.”

So, here are some rules for online dating if you’re in pursuit of romance:

If you select the Bad Boy, say good-bye to a relationship, romance and real love. Most often this is a potential hookup. Only.

If you think you’re being hustled, you are. Trust your intuition; it’s always right.

If he or she is self-employed. Ask a lot of questions.

Be selective. This is not a popularity contest if you’re truly seeking romance. Meeting Mr. Right means meeting your Mr. Right.

Don’t take things personal. Ever.

Don’t text for weeks. A text here and there calls for a face-to-face simu-date. If you like what you see and vice versa, then a real date follows.

Dating is a game of perseverance and keeping your eye on the prize is essential. And your prize is not another’s prize. It’s not a competition. It’s about compatibility.

It Only Takes One Swipe Right

Online dating is the LinkedIn to find love -or lust- depending upon your wants. Don’t mix these two Ls up. If you’re seeking romance, the right date will feel just that: right. If not, move on.

And remember, there is one notion that remains relevant today and we learned it from Carrie Bradshaw not too long ago. “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” Thank you, Ms. Bradshaw! We single ladies appreciate such candor.



To watch the intelligencefull debate: Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance, click here: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/swipe-left-dating-apps-have-killed-romance


Preliminary article published on February 8, 2018 is below.

If you live in New York City, you’re familiar with the intelligence2 debate series. If outside of the NYC area, then this evening’s debate is the one for you to livestream!

Have Dating Apps Have Killed Romance?
Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

By Suzanne Dooley

Since 2006 Intelligence Squared U.S., a non-partisan, non-profit organization, has been an award-winning debate series whose “mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse.” Intelligence2 encourages the public to “think twice” on a variety of cultural and political topics.

Tired Of Swiping Left?

Have Dating Apps Have Killed Romance?
Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

This evening, intelligence2 will present a special Valentine’s Day debate on the motion “Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance.” Since digital dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry that draws in as many as 40 percent of Americans, it seems fair to ask: Are dating apps really designed to promote lasting love? To find out, join tonight’s intelligence2 debate -either in person or online.

Debating in support of the motion are sociologist, Eric Klinenberg, co-author with Aziz Ansari of Modern Romance, and Manoush Zomorodi, host of the Note to Self podcast from WNYC Studios. Debating against the motion are Match.com’s chief scientific advisor, Helen Fisher, who studies the neural systems associated with romantic love, and OkCupid’s Vice President of Engineering, Tom Jacques. This evening will open with a keynote Q&A with Daniel Jones, the editor of the New York Times’ hugely popular “Modern Love” column.

Join The Debate

Have Dating Apps Have Killed Romance?
Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

So, come join this debate -in person or watch it online- and cast your vote to join the conversation!

WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance”

WHEN: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 / Reception 6:00-6:45 / Debate 7:00-8:30 PM

WHERE: Kay Center at Hunter College (695 Park Ave at 69th, New York, NY)

TICKETS: $40 ($12 for students w/ ID). To purchase, visit http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/

The debate will also stream live online at https://www.youtube.com/embed/41RUPvs4kZA



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  1. I am a devout listener and supporter of NYC’s outstanding public radio station WNYC, whose program roster includes “Intelligence Squared.” This evening, thanks to a friend’s generosity, I will be a member of the voting audience! I am looking forward to this participatory event—not sure which position and argument the majority of the audience will like best. Stay tuned to find out!

  2. Love the intelligence2 debates and I am an avid listener to their podcast. Looking forward to SD’s follow-up article . . . this is a hot topic!