I often mention that it’s so perplexing to me to live in NYC, which is full of all sorts of people and places and things to do, and yet it appears to be one of the loneliest places I’ve encountered. It’s seemingly impossible that such a city would be missing deep connections between its inhabitants, and yet it’s so. Most often, people complain to me about the dating scene in NYC and the inherent difficulties in finding a partner, or even someone willing to devote enough time to truly understand them. In the age of Tinder, and the vastness of eligible singles, NYC has become a disappointment for many, making me wonder if any of it is irreversible.
With so many people, and a culture obsessed with perfection, none of it may seem so surprising. With another potential date around the corner, people often find themselves putting in lackluster amounts of effort into potential new romances, always searching for something better, striving to find the best, which can simply be around the corner. And as I look around, I wonder how many of those singles could actually be happy together, and work well together, to build lives and start families. For all of technology’s benefits, access has become a major flaw. If we don’t like this thing or that quality, we’re quick to give in and resume our online search. The notion of being good enough has been superseded by sub-standard. And in our, apparently, perpetual quests, we remain a lonesome society, and the most lonely city I have ever encountered.
The world seemed so different fifty years ago, when mates were met in one’s neighborhood; good enough really did mean good enough. Back then, we didn’t look for the best, well at least most didn’t, and we were okay with marrying an attractive and decent human being, having no need for any extra bells and whistles. But in our age of dating apps, we now expect to be wowed, as though we’re so exceptional that we deserve such a thing. Mating, in essence, has devolved into a form of entertainment, leaving no space for authenticity; it’s nothing more than a sales-pitch, with most men behaving like used car-salesmen. And when one feels the heat of competition, even in its potential, and imagined, form, they’re either going to turn up the charm or leave the marketplace altogether, eliminating the possibility of a deep and genuine connection.
They say that our generation is more narcissistic than ever before, and that may be so, but it’s also the loneliest. We wear masks in our general fear of being replaced; we entertain, believing that we necessarily have to be perpetually delightful; we boast in our frantic need to impress; and, we negate, disintegrating any leftovers of our once vibrant identities. And then we’re left, in our lonely world, with other lonely people, nothing remaining but our hollow selves and our shallow masks, in other words, our dating profiles.