Friday 15 December 2017

In which I predict the future of dating

The apocalypse began this week, but no one really noticed. Or perhaps I only noticed because I've been waiting for the moment that these particular four horsemen would stampede ahead.

Allow me to explain. Earlier this week it was announced that mSpy, a London based tech company, had developed an app called mCouple.

According to the marketese, this "mobile tracker allows partners to share and mutually track text messages, contacts, call history, GPS locations {and} Facebook messages in real time".

The users have to agree to have it 
installed on their phone, which means this is the ideal app for those creepy co-dependent lovers that spend more time proving their faithfulness than declaring their love.

Or the ideal app for the crafty jealous lover who declares his love by gifting his sweetheart a shiny new iPhone… with the app already covertly installed.

I researched DIY spying for a magazine article a few years ago and I was terrified to discover just how easy - and cheap - it is to track somebody. And I shuddered to think how it would parlay into the app market.


mCouple aren't marketing this app as a spying device. They are selling it as efficiency-enhancing technology. "Read each other's text messages!" is the cheery call-to-action, as though we've all been waiting for an invention that would make us feel like we were standing naked in the rain.

I'm not foolish enough to think that mCouple is going to 
become an overnight success, but I recognise that it 
represents a paradigm shift.

As our consciousness goes on the cloud and our neural pathways and synapses are replaced by networks and algorithms, it strikes me that we will soon reach a point when we make grand 
romantic gestures digitally. And I don't mean dick pics.

We'll be spending such vast stretches of time in the digital world - eyes locked on screens, attention fixed on the ping of incoming messages - that we'll learn to create special cyber space for our loved ones. And in a world where 
privacy is dead, my money is on the access all areas approach. The keys to the apartment will become the Twitter log-in.

I've never social networked or internet dated and I think this, at the very least, has afforded me a unique vantage point. Romantic relationships are very different when you don't initiate them online.

Social networking has become the first tentative step in forming a relationship, so when the question "Are you on Facebook?" is met with an emphatic "no", well, you are simply not at the party. And let's not forget that a text - or imagine it, a phonecall - almost constitutes a full-blown relationship these days.

Social networking robbed men of 
their balls. Maybe that explains the 
popularity of penis pictures. "Look! I 
still have them, Aine!"

And broadband robbed their 
potency. You wouldn't believe the amount of women I've met who are dating men that have erectile dysfunction as a result of porn addiction. Even if these men could achieve an erection, they probably wouldn't have a clue how to make love because they've been fed on a diet of mechanical, soulless sex.


Just as well then that couples will be able to have sex via a computer soon. Yes, really. I visited the Dublin Web Summit a couple of years ago when an excitable man pushed a sex toy into my hand. It's called the Vibease and it's connected to a computer and controlled remotely. As in by a partner.

Trust me to go to an event attended 
by visionaries and groundbreakers only to get stuck with the only dildo 
salesman on the premises. He went on to win an award and I went on to think about the ramifications of his invention. It's terrifying.

So where does a woman find a potent man with no Facebook account? I'd say there are probably about three men in the country that fit the brief.

But I shall persist, because I know that social networking is ultimately bad for the soul and because I believe that 
relationships are born out of sharing, and that should happen gradually and organically, not instantly and digitally.

To me, true love is rare and sacred and it's almost irreverent to cheapen it with 'likes' and retweets and emoticons.

I also have common sense. Relationships thrive on 
mystery and mystique, so I don't really see a future for the couples that tweet photographs of what they just did in the loo.

And really, when you think about it, I'm not in that worse a position to the people who are internet dating and social networking.

They'll all admit that the 'hook-up' culture of Tinder has supplanted dating and they tell me that online flirtations are common but then they languish in a state of limbo and rarely convert to real-world meet-ups.

To think that the ability to 
connect with everyone makes it so hard to meet that special someone.

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