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Alone/Together: What a Cunning Way to Condescend

Alone/Together web series review

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Groundbreaking Vice Docu-Series Takes on Internet Dating

Like many things in our modern world, the internet giveth and taketh away. It has given us knowledge (although on a sparing level), who wants to read a news story in the New York Times let alone a Supreme Court decision when all one needs to know is blasted on a Facebook post or scrambled together on Buzzfeed? Knowledge is at our fingertips, yet our brainwaves prefer headline and scroll. The same can be said of the dating world which is mainly just scroll and a quickie. As Paul Brunson, a professional matchmaker put it in the new three part docu-series Alone/Together, “we are reaching the point where we don’t know how to date anymore.”

This docu-series is something we haven’t seen since MTV’s Sex in the 90s with the pre-jersey shore’s Dog Brothers, clubbing with a van in tow because who has the time and energy to take her back to your place? But this time around women are getting in on the game as one online dater describes, the girl wrote “my bedroom will be open, a crack [. . .] come in and do your thing and leave.” Twenty years later one would assume we have evolved from club hopping degenerates to inquisitive internet daters who have a profile instead of purely physical traits to go by. On dating sites such as OKCupid one fills out a profile and messages are exchanged a couple of times before meeting. With Tinder, a dating app for your phone, pictures and a tagline are what users go by, typically resulting in casual sex (although I am not really sure I tried to download the app but it wouldn’t let me do so without logging in via Facebook. You know for research purposes).

As Together reveals there is a disingenuousness to this type of dating. No one wants to admit it, but even in the highly controlled internet age (I am still waiting for the app that magically washes my clothes and gets rid of roaches) destiny and all that bullshit are still valued, deeply in fact. This is where the matchmakers and life coaches come in. Matchmaker Amy Van Doran, a cute and petit woman with orange hair and lipstick who looks like she just might be your fairy godmother, does the searching for you. As she eludes in the series, we want love to be “something that happens to [us] as opposed to something [we] pick,” because if it doesn’t happen maybe we didn’t deserve it in the first place?

This is when online dating gets tricky, the fairy tale and chemistry is taken out of dating, causing it’s users to dismiss the relevance of each other, who are treated more like cattle than individuals. Internet dating is for a distinct personality, perhaps the twenty-something’s will be better at it than the thirty-something’s? Our parents listened to Buddy Holly for Christ’s sake and some of our first class papers were written on type writers! Pre-device life akin’s itself to our childhood, after He-Man the backyard and running down the block was far more exhilarating than candy crush.

Technology continues to bother us to an extent; we are still on the cusp of calling people on their birthday or leaving a Facebook prompted message on your “wall.” You still need to call someone on their fucking birthday, its important! When I am not writing a movie blog that nobody reads I look up who is staring in the latest Shakespeare adaptation. A digestive disease keeps me out of the bars and at times I feel like I am living in a world of antiquity. The movie Her scared me because we are already there, talking to people we will never meet in person, disregarding the actual people in our life because they require more time and patience.

Swinging really isn’t a “thing” anymore, so perhaps we will grow tired of electronic speed dating, but chances are it’s only going to get worse. Maya, an attractive woman who appears to be in her early thirties, describes that despite her two master’s degrees and a recent job as a professor, her identity as a woman is not complete until she has a child and a family. As the story goes Maya hires her fairy god mother, Van Doran, to find her prince. But as Together shows, the Y2K impulsiveness is hard to crack:

I do believe that someone’s intention’s initially for using tinder are to yes, meet somebody, but what happens is swiping right, swiping left and saying ‘oh, I match with that guy,’ [. . .] but then you go, but wait, there is somebody else I could meet, that could be even better.
-Anthony Recenello, Social Development Coach

Yes we have become so socially inept that we now need social development coaches. Relying on technology to date for you, is like asking a six year-old to save his cookie for after dinner— “I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now!”

Perhaps if we want to be more like Charlie than Veruca Salt, we should shut off our devices and go looking for our hearts desire on the street, the same place Charlie found his golden ticket (I know, I know he “technically” found it in a gutter). The docu shorts can be found on Vice.com, a provocative smorgasbord of news and pop culture. My hope that in the same vein as MTV’s Sex in the 90’s, Vice will continue to show this series online or at least develop programming that is similar, as a self-inventory through programming.

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Film Noise
In basic, non-clinical terms, I like movies and how they shape the way we perceive the world. I saw my first yellow brick road, mental health breakdown and epileptic seizure thanks to the power of film, why not write about it?