In Defence of Online Dating...

If it’s good enough for Halle Berry...

Is online dating’s new direction is quashing romance or saving it?

For past generations, most of Ireland’s meet-cutes, love stories and romantic gestures all boasted identical geographic whereabouts – beneath the golden hands and deep green face of the Clery’s clock.

It was the undisputed courting (long before the Americanised idea of dating hit Irish shores) focus in the capital, until the department store’s closure back in 2015.

Little did we know that when liquidators shut a door, they also opened a window – as, within that same timeframe, we witnessed the new greatest shift in localised love stories; the rise of swiping right.

While, in 2019, the notion of Tinder is no longer a novelty, what is increasingly coming to the fore, as analogue dating disappears into the rearview mirror,  is the online dater’s desire for subcategorisation.

We tell children – by way of Howard Gardner – that there are multiple types of intelligence, so surely there are various ways to go about romance?

The answer, invariably, is an emphatic yes.

Those with disabilities, allergies, niche interests, inflexible schedules and religions are provided for by the myriad of exclusive and/or niche dating sites targeted to one single demographic.

Among them are, JSwipe (Jewish dating), Spectrum Singles (autism), Farmers Only, Christian Mingle, Shaadi (for Indian matchmaking), meaning that potential swipers’ anxiety is put at ease due to the fact that common ground is a given.

In a post-Repeal, post-Marriage Equality Ireland, this new era of dating is undoubtedly intertwined with the country’s woke sexual reawakening. But does it serve on your quest for the one?

Online dating stigma still definitely exists, seen most paradoxically in the bio of every second male who is ‘willing to lie about how we met’.

But, statistics are promising. A recent report from the Spark Network (the umbrella company behind Elite Singles) states that 85 per cent of singles say that online dating is socially acceptable, and two out of three singles know people who have met online.

And while most people are quick to admit they met on elite dating sites like Bumble or Beautiful People, it’s hard to deny the fact that online dating isn’t just the new normal — it also works.

And, hey, if it’s good enough for Halle Berry…

Main image by @littlebylupin

For the full article, check out this month's Irish Tatler. On shelves now. 

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