“#Memoir ‘Nothing Personal’ reveals why online dating sucks”
When she was 49, author Nancy Jo Sales was getting over a breakup when she downloaded Tinder on a whim. Why not, she thought, this seems like it might be fun. What ensued was quite the adventure through the world of online dating.
She never intended to write a memoir — “and certainly not about my sex life!” she says with a laugh. But she felt compelled to with her newest book, “Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in the Dating App Inferno” (Hachette Books) — if for no other reason than to reassure thousands of young people, mostly women, that they aren’t alone in finding online dating to be woefully lacking in substance.
“I think there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like [online dating], who feel like it must be their fault. They want to be reassured that they’re not doing something wrong. And I know it’s not normal. It’s not OK,” says Sales, referring to the aggressive messages, unsolicited nude pics, or the kind of exchange that can turn verbally abusive the minute a woman says, “No thanks.”
“A lot of women feel alone in their feelings like they’re in an impossible situation. Dating is such a huge part of young women’s lives. And I felt like I had to share and be personal about it.”
Her personal experiences and the research she did for the 2018 HBO documentary “Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age” convinced her of something: The medium itself is the problem, encouraging people to see each other as objects rather than individuals.
“I am not glamorizing the past at all. But there was more true connection. There was more courtesy,” she says of old-school dating. “There’s something to be said for having a social contract where we actually show up at a bar at 8:30. A promise of — not marriage, but actually showing up.”
One of her biggest takeaways: The fact that Big Dating doesn’t care if you find a mate — in fact, they’d prefer you didn’t.
“These companies don’t care if you ride off into the sunset,” she says. “They just want you to stay on the app.”
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