As a stand-up comedian in 2018, it is required by law that I have at least five minutes of material about dating apps. If I don’t do it, the comedy police will leave the scene of whatever Facebook group they’re reprimanding, SWAT my apartment, and make a truTV documentary about it.
But even for the noncomedian, dating apps tend to lead to bizarre stories that you bring back to your social circle and reenact, as opposed to valuable human relationships. It’s fun to post a quick status about an awful date, but then your real friends are want the story, and you had better not bomb. These bad-date tales have become the go-to small talk of the singles world, and your tight five needs to be on point to keep pals paying attention.
So I wonder: Has dating just become an awful series of encounters that we go through to have “life material” that we use to entertain our friends?
There are many apps at our disposal: Coffee Meets Bagel, where serious people screen their serious partners in the bullet-pointed fashion of a corporate job fair. And of course Plenty of Fish, which seems to be the best app for meeting divorced people whose side hustle is breeding mini horses.
I like Tinder. The Coca-Cola of dating apps. My thought process has always been that it’s the most popular one, so it must have the widest spectrum of human, and thus my chances of meeting “the one” are vastly improved. Tinder, like most of the people on it, is basic. “Like” or “Dislike,” swipe left or right. If two people “Like” one another, they “Match” and can chat in private. From there, you can trade phone numbers and info, or most likely never chat at all and simply sit in one another’s matches for eternity, our avatars an ongoing reminder of an alternate universe where we may have met, fallen in love, and perhaps co-authored a series of racially sensitive flip books for children.
Sometimes, you actually meet. This is the gold. These are the stories people, especially people who were married before Tinder existed, want to hear. What is it like to meet a complete and total stranger on a date? The blindest of blind dates? Is it awkward? Is it just filled with grabby hands and wild sex?
They look at you with eyes wide open and mouths tilting into smirks, and you know that you can’t disappoint them. They might have some kind of vacation timeshare, or a kid, but you have stories. Good stories that involve people who smell like wet subway floors.
In those moments, everyone’s a comic working out a bit: You open with the sketchy Uber driver who rolled you to the bar. You follow that up with a little light roast of your date’s animal-skin outfit and fried voice, and then close strong on a sexual mishap that brings it all home and leaves the crowd wanting more.
And just like any stand-up comedian, the dater’s never satisfied; we’re always on the hunt for new material. Diligently back to apps we go, an open mic than never ends and may even produce nudes.
Forget about finding “the one.” Most of the time, it’s all about finding material.
Check out Will and get his show times at willnoonan.com.