Youth and online dating in Panama

Been part of these generation is taff specially when the art of conversation is long gone, now we life in a word of applications and wifi, a word where is easier to chat instead of make a call; knowing that reality how is possible for a young adult accomplish meaningful relationship? How we can make friends if I not from classes or work? How can I, a 24-year-old woman, can find THE ONE?

My Online Dating Life

I have 3 application of online dating and let me tell you something, it hasn’t become any easier… right now I can tell you my top 5 biggest problems, staring from the beginning, the message on the profile and the pictures. Have you notice how hard is to describe themselves? Well, imagine doing that with a word limit and the thought that a future “match” depend on your ability to resume all your live and still manage to sound flirty… Zero pressure! Ever hear something about how important are the first impression is?

That my friends is the place of the pictures you upload on your profile, yes I say pictures, on plural, you need to get many facets of you because if there is something you forgot to put on the writing part of your profile you can complement with the pictures; you need to show your face and your body, just to guys know how you are, you need to show if you are adventurous or sporty (if you are), you need to have a picture with a pet just to show you like animals and you need to have a funny picture or a serious one just to make a future conversation.

Please Match with me!

One thing is having the ideal profile and the other thing is to get a match, it sound hard and it is, some apps don’t let you message other people if isn’t a match, that’s the best for me because you know if the other one have actual interest, but the ones that allow people to chat although is a like or not are a little more difficult just because you don’t want to make somebody else lose their time if you are not interest or around.

Either is “You got a match!” Or “You like each other” is not the end of the nightmare but the beginning. I can be exaggerating in here, but for me is the scariest part of these, who write first?  That’s the question that everyone asks but me, for me that’s easy, if I was the las one on liking someone I can write first, not big deal for me, my biggest struggle is WHAT TO WRITE, because I want to sound cleaver but also say something that can keep the conversation flowing, something whose response isn’t already on their profile, now we see how these can be a double-file weapon.

I forgot that dating happens in Real Life

Everything go back to your profile because when you are creating your account you have to specify the ages you are willing to date and in that way you have your age there, other part of the creating prosses is to define how long in distance would you like to get a match and that involves to get your location, one of the aspects of that is that you could see where are the people from and that leads me to my last and probably hardest part of online dating in my country: Go out with a foreigner?

Meeting online is a taboo in Panama and not so many people are doing it so the population on these app is approximal 50 percent tourist that are here for just the weekend or maybe two moths (if I’m lucky), 30 percent locals, 10 percent married people (yes, I’m not kidding with these) and the last 10 percent people that I already know, and let’s face it, if I want to date them I would just ask directly.

Sometimes I forgot what I really want

Since there are more foreigner on these dating app, the most logical observation is that the most of my matches are with one, right? But that leads me to other question, what are they expecting with that date? Or better yet, what I’m expecting? Could be just a tour in the city or a trip to a beach, a nice dinner with an estranger or maybe a couple of beers or it can be just a hookup, whether is one or the other I should be clear and know in whish situation I’m comfortable.

Whether you are dating a tourist, a local or an expat, when you reach that point, when you are actually face to face the application game is over, and if you actually did meet, those applications that I hate but love so much had fulfilled their mission that is make us have meaningful conversation again.

By: Muriel Sánchez Laguna
Background: I matched with Chris, but we never met.