It’s that time of year again. That time when 6ft teddy bears take over newsagents across the country and the CEO’s at Hallmark gleefully rub their hands in delight as they dream about the estimated €540m that will be spent on Valentine’s Day cards this year.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is well and truly approaching with all its glory and trimmings intact. Who could have predicted that after his canonisation in the 19thCentury that one man could influence such a grand profit for the gift card industry?
St Valentine, as many will know, is the patron saint for love and both engaged and married couples. But in his spare time, the man is also the patron saint for beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and travelling. A man of many talents.
It’s hard to know what a man like that would make of Tinder and other contemporary dating traditions.
The dating, or ‘courtship’ scene as it was once known, has changed drastically over the past few years. The days of meeting a potential suitor at the local dance under the watchful eye of the parish priest are long gone. Instead, you’re now more likely to find your match slobbering over a pint in Coppers while aggressively dancing to S Club 7.
How has this influenced the dating scene? Are people more inclined now to meet a partner after a round of Jagerbombs? Or after an extensive Facebook, Twitter, Instagram AND Tinder creep… as well as maybe sifting through a few selfies.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Willie Daly, one of the few Irish matchmakers still working the trade claims that the internet has ruined the essence of dating.
“I know a lot of people are going on the internet now,” he explains. “But it’s cold — it’s a machine.”
Apps such as Tinder have dominated the way we date and meet people. Recent figures from Tinder claim that one in five Irish adults have an account, with usage of the app most prevalent among younger people.
Does this mean that in years to come most dating will be done through our phone screens?
One of the problems with dating today is that there are too many options and too much choice and the process itself has become a little over-complicated. With Tinder, online dating and speed dating becoming increasingly popular there is more focus placed on looks rather than getting to know a person and sharing common interests.
These advancements have made dating quite hard work for young people.
“It’s very social,” he says. “In the beginning it starts fairly slowly then it heightens up in the night. It’s a great opportunity for people to meet others in the normal social setting. It’s more natural”.
Coming from a man who’s arranged over 3,000 successful partnerships so far – it mightn’t be long before we revert back to the old hall dances and the local matchmakers for potential matches this Valentine’s Day.
By Sharron Lynskey