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“For beginning dates, I prefer a cocktail someplace nice, with the option of it turning into dinner if we are feeling it.” Online dating has been instrumental in this shift toward more casual outings like coffee or drinks, said April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert.Location-based apps like Tinder and gay dating app Grindr have made the number of potential partners endless and the prospect of buying dinner for all of them impossible.“I could have [anyone] I wanted,” says Rochkind, now 40 and an Upper East Sider with a muscular build and a full head of hair.“I met some nice people, but realistically I went for the hottest girl you could find.” He spent the better part of his 30s going on up to three dates a week, courting 20-something blond models, but eventually realized that dating the prettiest young things had its drawbacks — he found them flighty, selfish and vapid.“Beautiful women who get a fair amount of attention get full of themselves,” he says.
Already some millennials see the value in the old-fashioned dinner dates—like Elizabeth Whitney, a New York-based educator who describes herself as “heteroflexible” (that is, she considers herself heterosexual, but is open to dating members of the same sex).
Sure, women have made tremendous gains since the famous first line of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was published, but some of the same dynamics still stubbornly persist in heterosexual relationships today.” Other romantics say the dinner date could make a comeback as people dating online grow tired of the endless swiping and seek more intimacy.
“There is going to be a trend of getting out of this digital deluge and having real life experiences,” said Brad Grossman, the founder of Zeitguide, where he advises business leaders on cultural and economic trends.
There is a major upside with skipping dinner and going straight to coffee, too.
Rejection after a coffee or drink feels less painful than one after an all-out dinner date on a Saturday night, Masini said.
This offers an opportunity for new platforms to emerge that take online dating to the next level, he said, partnering with apps to provide dinner and date deals and ideas.