A culture’s food trends say a lot about a culture’s values. Just look what’s trending in America now, with all-organic, grass-fed, non-GMO, whole foods—we want high quality. No thank you to the whole milk from the pasture nearby (why do humans drink milk anyway?), I’ll take the almond milk. Forget the cheaper, hormonally cracked-up avocado, I prefer organic, and yes, for quadruple the cost.
“But why do people care? If a food keeps me going and tastes good, is that not enough?”
Those following the trend quickly say “no,” because it’s not just about preference, it’s about a lifestyle. And if the quip is true, “you are what you eat,” then we sure as heck better care about what we’re putting in our bodies.
The same trend is rising with skin products, encouraging consumers to be conscious about the hormonal consequences products effect and invest accordingly. So, bring on the essential oils and homemade shampoo. Even if this means paying extra at the counter, smelling like apple-cider vinegar, or standing in line longer, people are making the sacrifices because they care about the quality of what they put on and into their bodies.
To make the point even further, consider the minimalistic movement that aims to live with the bare necessities. This is great news for poor college students who resort to thrifting since judgements are now about the quality of a product and not about the quantity in one’s closet. So, bring on the hand-me-down, second-hand Loft dresses and Madewell shoes. Besides, the more ware, the more vintage—and that’s definitely in vogue.
One would think, then, that high quality is valuable, right? Then why are dating apps prospering?
Consider what makes something high quality. It’s not just about the materials that go into the final product, but about the process. You can have all the right ingredients for good coffee—the beans, the water, the grinder, the cafetiere—but rushing the process will only botch the outcome. This is the same frustration and aversion individuals have to processed foods. One reason the demand for such food remains is because of indifference, driven by impatience that couldn’t care less about natural processes. This is also the reason for delight in the converse processes of home-cooked meals. Whether cooking or baking, the process requires one to slow down—patiently stirring, hopefully waiting, and carefully tending. And we all know that a slice of fresh, home-made bread spread with cool, salted butter tastes better than any “perfectly shaped” loaf from the stores.
Dating apps are like processed food–cheap. They are catalysts, thus overriding the natural process of relationships.
If we care so much about what goes in and onto our bodies—all things that affect our physical appearance—why not also care about the immaterial influence of company? Why not care about the process by which we make relationships?
Thus, it seems that if we are to be consistent about valuing high quality, then we should reconsider dating apps.