Dan Sheehan, a 27-year-old writer in Los Angeles, has felt a palpable shift in the dating world over the last six months compared to the last time he was single two years ago.
When the bill comes on a first date, he doesn’t jump to grab it first. Drinks with a potential partner can feel like a “job interview,” he said, and people on dating apps are flaking on meet-ups more often. That’s partly due to the monotony of online dating, but the tense political climate, the depressing news cycle, and the discourse surrounding #MeToo — a movement meant to highlight women’s experiences with sexual assault and unwanted sexual advances — have put a damper on the dating experience, he said.
“There is a weird apathy on both sides,” he said. “In and of itself dating is kind of exhausting even when there isn’t a larger political movement around it, so I think having to do it in addition to being reminded of this terrible stuff going on is hard,” he said.
That #MeToo-fueled chilling effect adds another layer of dreariness to the already monotonous and soul-crushing world of online dating, which is now a billion-dollar industry. It pays to have singletons coming back for more dates and swiping in location-based apps, but it also makes dating far more random, tedious, and perilous.