British Columbia

Valentine's Day advice for the single person

"You don’t fall in love with anyone anymore, you don’t have that physical action because it’s all mediated by OkCupid, Tinder, or whatever."

The CBC's Elaine Chau spoke to professors, writers, bartenders and happily married people about finding love

Artist Monique Levesque recently put together an art exhibit entitled 'Why am I afraid to love,' based on her experiences with online dating. (Elaine Chau/CBC)

Dating, or looking for someone to date, has never been easy. But for those who are looking right now, like 29-year-old R.J Hunt, it seems to be a particularly difficult time to make genuine connections.

"Tinder is a big part of my life, and all these online dating apps," he said, adding that he often tries to develop relationships through his smartphone.

"You try to get to know someone over text messaging. You get there [to the date], and sometimes you're pleasantly surprised, and the person is like the way you think they are, and other times, I don't think the conversation translates into real life."

For Monique Levesque, it's a struggle to find spontaneity and romance in an age of swiping left or right.

"We're losing our verbs because of the Internet. You don't fall in love with anyone anymore, you don't have that physical action because it's all mediated by OkCupid, Tinder, or whatever."

Levesque is an artist who recently put together an exhibit called 'Why am I afraid to love', which showcases, in part, some of her frustrations about online dating.

UBC metaphysics philosopher, Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins says people looking for love tend to overthink it in the wrong way. (Jonathan Ichikawa Jenkins)

"There's no seeing someone on the street, and having to go talk to them. I want the real life, I just want the magic."

For Levesque, Hunt, and for all the other single ladies and gents out there, here are a few words of advice:

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, philosopher:

Ichikawa Jenkins studies the metaphysics of love at UBC.

"There is this perception that we can't understand love, and that it's really mysterious. Nothing we do is going to get us any closer to figuring out what it is, and you have to let it go and not overthink it. "

"Actually, we're underthinking love. If we had more of an opportunity to get into the philosophical questions, like, 'what is this thing?', 'where does it come from?'...I think that could really help people who are struggling with living up to expectations."

Raymont Arnott, happily married for 48 years:

Arnott says he's glad he doesn't have to create an online dating profile.

"You walk around, you go shopping, and you go to different places, and you see a lot of women that have no rings on, that are single. Ask them out! You'll see a response, whether it's positive or negative, at least you see the person — right in front of you."

Raymond and Betsy Arnott have been married for 48 years. His dating advice for single people? Don't be afraid to ask someone out. (Samantha Garvey)

Marina Adshade, economist:

Adshade says she sees the benefit of more choice in the dating market, because we're no longer settling for the guy or gal in our small town.

"We go on online dating sites, and we check boxes off, and we're like: I'm going to find this person...he's going to be [6-foot, 2-inches] and he's going to have a post-graduate degree," she said.

Bartender Lauren Mote says she's witnessed plenty of dates while slinging cocktails. Her advice is to go on dates over lunch. (Adam Blasberg)

"All the things we like to measure, all they do is eliminate the size of our market. At the end of the day, a lot of those characteristics don't matter. For me, I've tried to dispense with that, and tried to focus on things that do matter, like companionship and how that person makes you feel."

Lauren Mote, bartender:

Mote has over a decade's experience observing dates while slinging cocktails. She says, go on more lunch dates that don't involve any booze.

"Daytime dates are the best because there is zero obligation that there would be something afterwards. I think daytime is a great way to see what a person is really like. It's a great way to take the pressure off".

Jen Sookfong Lee, writer:

Sookfong Lee is dating again after her marriage ended last year.

"Learn to be alone. And when someone does come into your life, learn to be generous with them; to not write them off quickly.  It can be very easy, if you're a single person, to eliminate people very, very quickly. I'm trying to learn, say, not to eliminate someone for wearing ugly brown shoes."

"Try not to take it too seriously. Being single is a good thing too. I much prefer being single now, than being in an unhappy marriage."​


Elaine Chau

Associate Producer for CBC Radio in Vancouver

Elaine Chau was born in Hong Kong, and grew up in Montreal and Vancouver. She is the 2008 recipient of the CBC Radio Peter Gzowski internship, multiple RTDNA winner, and Gold Radio Winner in the Health/Medicine category at the 2011 New York Festivals for her series "AIDS: Then and Now".