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On Valentine”s Day, Ditch Dating Apps for Old-Fashioned Dating

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has been tough on couples. Even rock-solid couples have felt the pressure. But the pandemic has arguably made it harder for partnerless singles to navigate the end of the world, especially those whose relationships broke down somewhere between vaccine doses, leaving us not only alone but heartbroken and with no good. many of the usual outlets for recovery.

How frustrating is it to browse Tinder and stumble upon someone cute — only to see that their entire profile is pizza emoji, eggplant emoji, and lightning bolt emoji?

I am in the last group. My ex and I moved in together in September 2020, and a year later I moved out. Now that Valentine’s Day is upon us, and my six months of online dating has yielded no serious love interest to share the holiday with – only the revelation that after a two-year hiatus, online dating is just as hellish as before the pandemic, if not more.

Sliding has never gotten easier, or more fun, or sexier. Establishing a profile can always be exhausting. Sending messages that turn into nothing can always be disheartening. But while it was often brutal before, talk of vaccines, outdoor-only dates and the dreaded first meeting via video chat mean the pandemic has added a new layer of evil.

Perhaps that’s why this Valentine’s Day, a holiday celebrating love that dates back at least to the Middle Ages, I considered going old school and posting a personal ad — or at least its modern incarnation.

For those of you who weren’t born before the internet bit our brains, personal ads were a precursor to online dating. They were published in newspapers, usually in classified ads, and involved a concise description of the researcher. An interested reader could respond with a handwritten letter or, in some cases, a 1-800 number prompting the caller to type in a code to hear the voice behind the ad. Then callers could leave a message to set up a conversation.

In the digital age, things are a bit simpler. The personal ads that have started to flourish since the start of the pandemic are now on Instagram, Twitter and in newsletters. These ads tend to be longer than your average Tinder profile, and the benefit is that the person placing the ad must answer all of the questions provided in order to be posted. (Anyone who’s ever gone through dozens of dating profiles without words knows what a relief that is.) There’s the added bonus that it’s a real human who usually checks submissions before they go. publish, so submitters must fill in all of their information. if they want to be introduced.

I first discovered the resurgent personal ad through the Instagram account @letsf—ingdate, which is connected to entrepreneur Serena Kerrigan’s hit card game of the same name. Every Saturday, the Instagram account posts a carousel of singles that includes their name, age, location, star sign, fun fact, and, of course, a photo. Each person’s Instagram handle is also included, allowing potential suitors to click through to their profiles and send them a personal message.

Other modernized personal ads include the Hot Singles NYC newsletter, which delivers one new single to your inbox per week. New York magazine’s nightlife newsletter has a personal section titled “Sweeties

When I came across my first Instagram personal ad, I immediately wanted to place one – and not just for the nostalgia factor. Rather, it’s a more curated collection of singles that stands in stark contrast to the stream of open-fire potential matches we’re ambushed with every time we open a dating app. Announcements are only released on certain days, and when they are released, a few select singles are highlighted at a time.

This instantly swaps the dynamic. Instead of endlessly scrolling through dozens of faces each time you stand in line at CVS or the supermarket, you see the singles of the day in a focused time, then get on with your day. This is the word of dating. Apps want you to keep swiping – they make their money by keeping you engaged, after all. Personal ads, on the other hand, help you avoid scrolling through all those apps by offering curation.

Dating also allows you to circumvent the secretive, unnecessarily shady, and often super racist algorithms that dating apps force on us. They’re the closest we’ve been able to recreate in a bar in the digital world: you see a group of sexy people and approach the ones you’re attracted to. But in this bar, you know they’re single.

Personal ads also force the advertiser to make a little effort on his profile, since they will not be published if he has not completed a certain number of questions. How frustrating is it to browse Tinder and stumble upon someone cute — only to see that their entire profile is pizza emoji, eggplant emoji, and lightning bolt emoji?

For me, however, the main appeal of personal ads is simple: it allows for a dynamic of a passive partner and an active partner. I am a 31 year old woman who is done with approaching men. I spent my 20s on apps like Bumble, where women are the only members allowed to initiate messages, channeling my inner #girlboss and messaging guys first. I finished. I am tired. I prefer a dating situation where I am the one being approached.

Posting a personal ad is an easy way for me to let people know that I’m open to being approached. It’s kind of like a taxi light. I can turn mine on and then drive around waiting for someone to flag me down or slip me into my DMs. Part of the reason I’ve been so dissatisfied with dating apps lately is probably because that dynamic is watered down: you both have to swipe on each other in order to start messaging, there so always has a sense of pursuit on my finish. I don’t dig it.

Call me a grumpy old millennial, but placing a personal ad online feels so much more manageable than browsing through the barrage of dating apps I used to download to my phone. I don’t have the stamina for that. I know what I want, and I’m not interested in walking through a bunch of bozos to find a half-normal person to sip pinot noir with for half an hour. Perhaps our nostalgia for the 2000s should extend to our love lives. We’ve already brought back the low rise jeans. Why not go back to Craigslist dating?

So consider this my own personal ad: A 31-year-old single writer is looking for a hunky creative guy with an easy laugh and a big appetite. Must like carbs and disco music. Interested? I’m up for a late drink for Valentine’s Day.


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