Online dating. As soon as you type or say those words everyone has an opinion. Your grandmother is sure that you’re going to get kidnapped and murdered by some creep catfishing you (although she doesn’t know what catfishing is, and that’s a whole other discussion). Your parents look at you with those pained, worried expressions, like “did we not give you enough compliments as a child?” or say something like “what about that nice boy you dated in high school? I hear he’s an insurance broker now!” And then there’s your friends. The coworker who wants to set you up with her boyfriend’s sister’s best friend’s hot cousin. The commitment-phobe friend who is constantly encouraging you to just “go with the flow and get laid.” The worrier about to get engaged to her high school boyfriend who thinks you’re just having a quarter life crisis. And all the people in-between who have already made up their minds and don’t actually care what your experience is or why you’re there to begin with.
And then there’s the best friend. The friend who listens to all the stories, good and bad. The 2am excited texts with 100 exclamation points when the date goes well and the depressed can-you-just-give-me-an-arranged-marriage-already messages when you accidentally go to dinner with a misogynist who wants to mansplain farm-to-table to you. This friend – there for all of it – who tells you to start a blog. So here I am.
And while these examples may be a bit too stereotypical and hyperbolic, most of us millennials who have strayed into the world of online dating have experienced some variation of these responses – as if online dating is some one-dimensional activity that can never lead to anything positive. I disagree. Not that I haven’t had my fair share of disappointing dates, because I certainly have. But in today’s world of long work hours, low wages, and side hustles, millennials just don’t always have the luxury of strolling around the National Portrait Gallery for hours on a Sunday afternoon waiting to run into the charming, impossibly handsome, wealthy investment banker who also happens to share your obsessions with Renoir’s use of color. Sorry Netflix, that just doesn’t happen.
All this to say, that I believe online dating is here to stay and it’s time that we millennials show the world, or you know, the five people that might actually read this, that online dating is as multi-dimensional and complex as the “traditional” form of dating we grew up seeing on Friends and Sex and the City. It’s here to stay, so let’s talk about it, angst about it, and unpack it for the internet, just like we do with our friends over avocado toast and mimosas (bye bye down payment) at Sunday brunch.
This is Dating in the District: one girl’s search for love, rooftop bars, and the perfect saison.