The Dating App Debate & The New York Times “Modern Love” Column

Daniel Jones, editor of the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, has read more than 80,000 essays on love over the past 14 years. His conclusion? There are two types of people: those who give up on love after heartbreak and those who keep their hearts open. He discussed the subject, as part of a new Intelligence Squared U.S. debate called “Dating Apps Have Killed Romance.”

The big question that unified everyone who submitted essays, he said is “How happy do I have a right to be?”

“Everyone is trying to determine if this person is right for me. What is happiness? Is this person enough for me? That is what people want to know.”

But back to the debate question “Have dating apps killed romance? Four other people weighed in on the topic, including Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who is “for” dating apps, and an adviser to She said that “Apps can’t change brain chemistry” and says that 30% of relationships start online. “Apps will not kill the brain chemistry for romance,” she added.

Tom Jacques is V.P. of engineering at OK Cupid. He is also “for” apps and said that you can meet people on a dating app that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. “Apps expand your options,” he said, and thinks its a numbers game.

Arguing “against” dating apps, and feeling that they kill romance, was NYU professor of sociology Eric Klineberg, who studies mating rituals and thinks that people who use dating apps are always “looking for something better out there.” He is skeptical of the “true romance” that people think they are having, especially when they haven’t even met each other yet. “Romance is impossible without face to face contact,” he said.

Also arguing that “dating apps destroy romance” was Manoush Zomorodi, a journalist and Note To Self podcast host, who brought up the idea that women  have to deal with insults, (along with chauvinism, misogyny, and really bad male behavior) before they even “get” to the romance part. Because men act so spoiled and act even jerkier when they’re not courting someone in person, her argument was that “Apps are killing romance.” Even Jacques admitted that “People fall deeply for the fake person online.”

Yet a quick glance of The New York Times wedding announcement section will tell you that at least a third of the happy couples met on a dating app; and admitted it.

Jones concluded with “I adore people who have opened themselves up to love after they have been crushed,” he said. “Bitterness vs. openness. If you can be on that right side, you can have a chance for happiness.”

And the big debate continues…watch the full debate here.

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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the new book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and is currently a Sex Columnist for BRITISH GQ. Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.