Tired of dating apps, Vancouver man launches ‘social experiment’ to find a mate


Dan Hawkins is tired of using dating apps to meet someone.

He has been on them for several years and describes the experience as “suppressed”.

He says the right or left swipe nature of most apps means people judge a person based on very little, a photo, and a short bio.

“I was watching strangers without context,” he said, adding that he had not enjoyed the short online chat before meeting in person.

According to research by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld in 2017, 39% of heterosexual couples said they had met their partner online, compared to 22% in 2009.

He said meeting a significant other online has replaced meeting a partner through friends and confidence in matchmaking technology has increased.

Rosenfeld also discovered that online dating improved chances of relationships leading to marriage because people could choose their partners according to their preferences.

Hawkins, however, doesn’t like it. So he started his own social experiment to find a “life partner”.

He’s offering prizes worth up to $ 7,000 to anyone who can help him get a date and ultimately a woman..

“I’m looking for someone with a good heart, someone who is curious and maybe has a sense of humor, that’s not necessarily my sense of humor.”

People are welcome to send potential matches to him. After completing a form, hopeful matchmakers will be entered to win prizes.

A committee made up of his friends will then sift through the leads to identify the right matches, host Hawkins on certain dates and, ideally, he says, a court will lead to the wedding.

After the wedding, Hawkins will present the awards.

Dan Hawkins tends to a plant in his apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, September 16, 2021. (Maggie MacPherson / CBC)

Hawkins realizes that he’s probably not the only person who’s fed up with dating apps.

He says he’s heard from other people who enjoy what he does, and he encourages others to embark on their own dating plans – although he realizes that his model might not work for everything. the world.

“It’s hard to get this email posted because you make yourself pretty vulnerable and you seem pretty desperate,” he said.

“I think people know I’m a little weird, so that works for me quite a bit.”

Dating coach Dino Bodovski says online dating apps are difficult because they create a lot of hope that is quickly undermined when a match stops communicating.

“Because there are maybe so many other people talking to them, it’s very easy to get lost and forgotten,” Bodovski said.

That said, he recognizes how important they have become during the pandemic for people trying to find a potential mate.

Dating habits change during the pandemic

Billie Coben met her partner online during the pandemic. She says using dating apps allows her to choose who she “opens the door to.”

“It’s not something you can do by meeting people in a bar. You don’t have the ability to put up those same barriers,” Coben said. “Everyone needs a blanket.”

Dating apps have become more popular during the pandemic as people seek ways to meet potential partners safely. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images)

Logan Ury, director of relationship science with the dating app Hinge, says the pandemic has caused an increase in use of the app, and user feedback suggests the pandemic has also encouraged people to give priority to finding a romantic partner more seriously.

“There is an even greater feeling of people who really want to connect in a meaningful way, not just for a connection,” she said.

Bodovski, however, still thinks there is a better way to find “the right one.” He suggests that people work on themselves and their ability to bond in person, rather than focusing all of their energy on online dating apps.

“As humans we really need connections, it’s the most natural thing for us. We want companionship, a real genuine connection.”


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