Consumer Culture in the Dating Game

consumerism in dating

I think we can all agree that today we live in a world where when something is broken, we often don’t even try to fix it and instead try to buy a new one (e.g. I’ve been through about half a dozen iPods because it costs almost as much to fix the stupid things when they’re out of guarantee as it would to just buy the brand spanking new model with a whole host of unnecessary features– I am so not an Apple person!).

Through my highly scientific analysis of the dating game (aka sitting around my living room with my dear friends and wasting hours sharing stories about our lost loves) I am beginning to see how this consumerist mentality is infiltrating the world of LOVE. People are now seen as commodities, nobody is irreplaceable. Social hierarchy exists. Whether it’s based on looks, ethnicity (something I’ve been told clearly effects your success in the world of internet dating especially here in the Rainbow Nation), nationality (yes, declaring that you hold a Brit passport on Tinder will certainly make you more eligible), education (come back when you have at least PhD) or income (the fact that he is an unattractive dwarf can be bypassed if he can afford to wine and dine you at fancy wine estates) – hierarchies exist and the asinine individual that tries to mess with this sacred order is bound to get hurt.

Much of this trend, I believe has to do with the technology available to us and the way it has served to widen the pool of potential suitors. Dating apps and websites have made it possible, for a vaguely pretty but proactive girl to potentially line up a date for every night of the week (I admit in a world of pervs, things aren’t so easy for my guy friends). Knowing that one has access to so many options, has allowed us to become fussy. This is exacerbated by the fact that sites like OKCupid let us set filters – you can now shamelessly say you’ll only date a blond haired, blue eyed, rocket scientist, who holds a Brit passport, has run at least 10 Comrades marathons and earns at least a million rand per annum.

People now set standards for what they want and the moment they see that a potential partner falls short, they can discard them to make way for the next suitor. Being a hopeless romantic (who is becoming more jaded everyday) though, I do find this state of affairs rather grim. Firstly, speaking from experience (I’ve probably been on +/- 50 Tinder dates this year), there are certain intangible elements that these arbitrary filters can’t account for – such as banter, chemistry, attraction. By setting standards, we might miss out on some real gems.  And then how about further down the line when the person we are dating goes through a tough time? Shouldn’t we help them through and try to fix the problem, rather than just kicking them to curb? Ugh, maybe I’m just being idealistic here, but it seems that this is what our grandparents’ generation did.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan on settling for anything less than butterflies. But what I am saying is that maybe we all need to stop being so superficial (comparing people like we do when looking at the specifications of a car), start removing SOME of the filters (I will continue to block anyone who begins a conversation with Hey GORGEOUS!), not lowering but maybe being a bit more flexible with our standards, ignoring the minor setbacks, and focusing on our gut feelings about a person, maybe then we’ll give Prince Charming a fair chance in that epic battle to win our heart.

Give us your thoughts Rinsers… Has dating become yet another consumerist game? Are people becoming to fussy in their quest for the ‘perfect partner’? And will this ‘shopping for a spouse’ attitude just lead to failure in the end? Answers in the comments below…


  1. Nice post…If and this is to everyone because I went through this myself if you keep getting bad dates or people that just don’t feel right and if that is what you are attracting then the question is …why? Why am I attracting that kind of person why do they seem to gravitate toward me? We may say want one thing but attract something else. Don’t get jaded …I agree that when relationships hit a speed bump right away instead of fixing it we throw it away and on to the next and the pattern keeps happening then we don’t understand why we can find someone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup you are right. We all have types and patterns in our dating games I think. And we shouldn’t just look at the trolls and be crying about the lack of good potentials out there. We do need to be more self-reflective.

      Speaking for myself, I think maybe when we attract the ‘wrong’ type of person or only go for the bad boy…its probably a sign from the universe telling us that we are not ready for a meaningful relationship just yet. It seems we all have to go through those tough phases…it’s character-building, perhaps? Sadly, there’ll always be collateral damage.So I’ll just apologise to all my Tinder boys ahead of time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol good point. We like to believe we are ready for a meaningful relationship. ..they just don’t happen out of the blue. They do require work . One thing you have working for you is that you are now becoming aware of that and will start to look to make better decisions on relationships going forward.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting question you posed. I’m a traditionalist at heart. I think the old idea of a family – a mum, a dad, a couple of kids – is the ideal. However, sadly, this is no longer the norm in the world. People make mistakes, marry the wrong person, get divorced, leave the kids to suffer or abandon them. So sometimes we need to play our part to sort out a bad situation.

        I don’t think people should be carelessly bringing kids into the world and thinking that its OK for kids to grow up in a single parent home…its not really, its not ideal, so it shouldn’t be justified. But the fact is there are lots of orphans out there that need to be looked after so whoever is capable should be allowed to step in when the biological parents are incompetent or neglectful….that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Makes sense. … I agree the traditional family has been under siege for some time. Families have become blended through more than one marriage, or like the point you raised about adoption or same sex marriage and adoption. It takes all kinds to make a family. I am hoping others share their point of view.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is nothing but the truth! We no longer have time to sit and talk about issues in relationships the moment things go wrong we just NEXT a person!
    I have come to the conclusion that nobody is perfect and if you go through life hoping to meet the perfect partner then you will forever be on a search. I agree with you here ” not lowering but maybe being a bit more flexible with our standards, ignoring the minor setbacks, and focusing on our gut feelings about a person, maybe then we’ll give Prince Charming a fair chance in that epic battle to win our heart.”
    Amen to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I reentered the dating pool in my 40s after my divorce. Talk about scary. I went on a few humorous/scary dates from a dating site. I even dated one man from that site for about eight months, which was about four months too long but I didn’t want to give up at the first sign of trouble. So I hung in there a bit. It didn’t work and ended pretty bad though. After that, I avoided serious dating for nearly two years. During this time, I agreed to go on a non-serious, just-for-fun blind date with another couple. I had never met the man, never looked him up on social media, nor knew his last name. All I knew was that he was a friend of my friends and he was nice. I expected nothing but a pleasant evening with friends, but here I am three months later, still dating this blind date and it’s turning into quite the fairytale, butterflies included:) So the moral of the story is, don’t give up and there are still some good old-fashioned dates out there in the world. But I would have never found it had my friends not forced me to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think there’s quite a bit of bitterness in this post and it reminds me of how upset with dating I was myself. It reminded me of a sushi belt – sometimes you skip (no date), sometimes you eat (first date) and then you move on. It’s very tiring and also makes a person doubt that there’s anything else out there. I think the novelty of dating wears of quite quickly, after a while the dates get boring and you do start feeling that maybe you’re being picky. At the end of the day, you keep having it wrong only till you have it right and I’m sure that eventually you’ll find your salmon roses 😉 in the meantime you should know what you want. There’s nothing wrong with wanting someone on your intellectual level, you’re only being picky if you agree to date people with green eyes only. And yes, maybe by deciding on what you want you’re skipping some things that could possibly become relationship but ending up with people doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy and instead of fixing things that are broken it’s better to find something that’s more to your taste at the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the sushi belt analogy 😉 I’ll keep shopping for my salmon rose.

    I am not bitter but just sad that my Prince could potentially swipe left cos the photo was taken at the wrong angle. Its like internet shopping though, you can’t get a real feel for the product without going into the store. 😦


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