Why Online Dating Is A Lot Like Online Shopping


We were standing in the middle of Houston Hall in New York City when my best friend’s friend Christa and I — hours after meeting each other for the first time — were discussing the differences between Tinder and Bumble and she dropped some philosophical knowledge on my dome: “Online dating is like online shopping — you just throw a bunch of shit in your cart, then leave it there and never look at it again.”

It’s easy to see how one would think she was joking, but considering there are 87 matches in my Tinder history since downloading the application years ago and 57 matches in my Bumble history — not counting Bumble matches where the girl did not reach out in the one-day time limit — it’s a painfully accurate analogy.

I also don’t have a rebuttal to disprove the claim.

Let’s talk time.

Most of us probably do the majority of our online shopping and swiping at the same part of each day — between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., when we’re curled up in our beds or on the couch and have nothing better to do.

It’s convenient for us. Since we’re working or running errands throughout the day, we don’t usually have the time to peruse through Express or Victoria’s Secret online or seek out our potential next fling or relationship. We save those tasks for when we’re in for the night and are looking to kill time during commercials or before catching some shut-eye.

Let’s talk money.

There are times that I don’t follow through with an order of clothes in my cart for the same reason I don’t pursue a conversation with a girl I match with: I can’t really afford it. Sure, theoretically, I can afford the $62.36 worth of clothes or whatever the cost of a few drinks would be, but do I really need either? Not really.

If I’m not itching to go out with this girl, why would I make the effort to make plans, meet up with her, and (almost certainly) pay for the two of us? It doesn’t make much sense to me, ideally or financially, and so more often than not, that wardrobe addition or potential night out gets pushed aside and my checking account breaths a little easier for the night.
Not for nothing, but the girl shouldn’t be subjected to a night out where the guy isn’t all that interested before he even arrives (and vice versa). And that brings me to my next point…

Let’s talk interest.

Oddly enough, I still remember Sandra Bullock’s line in The Blind Side about shopping: “If you don’t absolutely love it in the store, you won’t wear it.” While that statement is undoubtedly true, judging by the piles of tagged clothes I’ve discarded to younger cousins and the Salvation Army over the years, the same can be said for your online dating matches.

Anyone can initiate the conversation on Tinder, although many feel the man should break the ice. Bumble requires women to kick things off. There have been plenty of times I’ve matched with someone on Tinder and never reached out, yet it still puzzles me why I could match with someone on Bumble and she doesn’t send a message along.

Maybe she was bored when we matched. Maybe she thought it was a good idea at the time. Maybe it was an accidental right swipe. Whatever the case, there will be times when you realize that something just isn’t worth pursuing. It’s not a bad thing, that’s just the way online dating cookie crumbles.

Let’s talk checking out.

The reality is that if we want something bad enough, whether it’s a pair of open-toed heels, a new suit, the buff bro, or the blonde bombshell, we’re going to at least make the effort to get it.

Unlike in the three-dimensional world, where we actually have to work up the courage to approach someone and communicate with them using our words, or physically get out of our houses and drive to a store for the outfit(s) we want, we can make the pursue a new purchase or match with the push of a button on our phones thanks to the internet.

You can be someone’s “to-die-for” stilettos, or you can be the little trinket someone thought about buying while making their way to the checkout line; but, much like clothing, there’s not much you can do to sway someone’s interest in you.

Even if you could, would you want to have to theoretically win over someone’s interest? Personally, I’d prefer to be left on the rack. I’d rather wait for someone who doesn’t hesitate to scoop me to come along than be an impulse buy that sits and collects dust.