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Watch: Does organic dating still work?

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Stylist Team
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We put the old school method of approaching people in the street to the test

Does the idea of approaching a stranger on the street for directions strike fear into your heart? What about asking whether they’re single and whether you can have their number? Yes, it truly is a terrifying idea.

And yet, that’s exactly what we did when we sent out our brave reporter to see whether organic dating - that is, dating without the help of technology - is even possible any more. 

Experts predict that by 2040, 70% of couples will have met through a dating app, and at the moment 17% of married couples first met online. Whether that’s a future to look forward to or not remains to be seen, but our experiment went some way to showing what kind of interactions we might be losing.

The first issue we came across is that (unless it’s a couple snogging on the street) you can’t tell whether someone is single or not. This isn’t as much as a problem when swiping through Bumble, where it’s safe to assume that at least most people are single and looking for a relationship. Asking people who are trying to get on with their day whether they are single wasn’t only nerve-wracking, but also very time consuming, though at least we weren’t ghosted in real life.

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There is one major benefit to dating IRL - there’s nothing to hide behind. Sure, it sounds scary, but it also means anyone who is interested in you will have already seen the real you at your most vulnerable, with no exaggerations about how fantastic your life is as we’re all guilty of on Instagram. The same goes for your potential date too - dating in real life means you’ll never again be surprised by height, lack of hair or bad shoes.

Once we found someone who was single, we had to get their number. We were lucky - or perhaps brave - enough to be successful, but now the fate of our relationship was left down to technology again. Do we text him first? Ring him? Or just hope we run into him on the street again? Maybe we’re all too embroiled in our phones for organic dating to ever happen again…

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