[article posted originally on http://www.balleralert.com]
For most people, dating apps have always been a little sketchy, but I don’t think anyone has ever thought to themselves, “Am I sexting with a terrorist?”
This is the question that millennial singles, both gay & straight, are beginning to ask in light of the recent discovery that Orlando mass murderer, Omar Mateen, responsible for the deaths of 49 and injuries of 53 patrons of a popular nightclub, used gay dating apps prior his attack on Sunday.
So, now the question looms, “If you cant go on dating apps—where the hell can you go!?!?”
Whether it’s Tinder, Soulswipe, Jackd, or even the throwback favorite, Black Planet; if we haven’t done so ourselves, we have at least one friend who’s a dating app addict. It seems almost ironic that the eery details of a domestic terrorist using dating apps surfaces just as stigmas about online dating were finally dissipating. Research even shows that 15% of Americans use online dating apps. It has also been reported that usage by 18- to 24-year-olds has increased nearly threefold since 2013, while usage by 55- to 64-year-olds has doubled.
So in a world where casually swiping through photos of your potential bae is the norm, where do you turn when your main dating source no longer feels safe?
The answer is simple; you kick it old school…
Yes, you take it back to the pre-social media days, when we made our romantic connections face to face, unlike today’s microwave method of popping your preferences into a computer and messaging the result that appears. While it’s nice to skip a few awkward moments and find compatible people off bat, we’re kinda cheating the system by seeking love this way. The convenience factor is great but meeting people through a smartphone buzzkills the thrill of meeting people organically. I mean who doesn’t love to hear a good, “How did you two meet?” story? Personally, I enjoy the “We met at a strip club” or “The checkout line at Walmart” stories MUCH more than the lame, “We met on Tinder” tale. I mean, the idea of omitting physical touch, smell, body language, and eye contact from the criteria in which we choose a mate seems so far removed from the way human love was intended to be.
At the end of the day, we can’t truly say that dating apps are less safe than meeting people in nightclubs or bars. History has shown us that even our churches, movie theaters, and elementary schools can become unsafe when people wander into them with the intention to kill. So if you decide to stop online dating, let it be because you prefer to find love the old fashioned way—-not because of fear. We can’t allow fear to paralyze us from moving forward. For all you know the love of your life might be just a few steps ahead of you, but you’re too busy updating your apps to realize it.