Looking For Love in a 'Swiping’ Culture

Say the word “love” and immediately you think of Romeo and Juliet or Dr. Zhivago or Brokeback Mountain – and everyone seems to know what you are talking about, and yet to live through love is to know nothing at all. – The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding

True or false?  It used to be a joke for couples to meet online.

Apparently it was OK for tech nerds and 35-year-olds guys who lived in their parents’ basements. But not for anyone else.

Well, no more.

My hero, Henry, is a bit past the “dating” game in his life … he’s more into the what-do-I-get-my-wife-for-Christmas? and the oh-dear-I-ran-into-an-ex-girlfriend phase of life. But he’s still dealing with that old demonic question: How do I not only find love, but how do I recognize it when it’s right in front of me?

My novel, “The Heart of Henry Quantum,” might help you wrestle with these questions. But out in the real world, what is it really like these days ... say, in San Francisco? I mean, how DO you meet the love of your life in these all-eyes-on-your-iPhone days?

At work? Well, it’s typically officially taboo to date a co-worker, isn’t it? At a bar, drunk, looking desperate? That’s a winner. At the grocery store? Lame, especially if you have three kids in tow. At the local cineplex? Uh, you’re sitting in the dark munching popcorn trying to pretend you love going to movies alone. (Full disclosure: I kinda do.) Or … the more likely scenario … macking on one of your buddies’ spouses or spousettes at a dinner party when you’ve had just one too many glasses of Kamen cab? Finding a true-love fembot (or studbot) on Ashley Madison?

Will anyone admit to trolling around on Plenty of Fish aka pof.com? Yeah, that’s an exercise in futility and self-torture. Log in for one night, I dare you. 50,000 new singles per day – please.

The local CBS station in San Francisco kindly compiled a list of the five best dating website, but I don’t trust their findings because POF is listed. (Obviously everyone at KPIX is married or dead or both.) They also list OKCupid.com – which is great if you want to be bombarded with pictures of naked hairy parts. Hey, you get what you pay for.

So, it’s on to Tinder! Swipe right, swipe left, swipe right …  I try to envision how my hero Henry Quantum would use Tinder. His internal dialogue would be painfully humorous, but to write it I’d have to go on Tinder myself. Oh wait! I have. I know it’s designed for uber-superficial, snap-judgments based on looks alone, but hey, this is the 21st century.  And research is so important to good writing.

As for Henry Quantum, I think he’d be so overwhelmed by the fact that Tinder registers about one billion swipes per day, that he’d just have to go take a nap.