If you were of drinking age (or close enough, with a serviceable ID) in New York in the mid-aughts, you remember the crazy notion of a relatively deviceless nightlife experience. You dated people you met in the bathroom at Don Hill’s, waited with a mix of terror and excitement for photos to be posted on Last Night’s Party (a full 24 hours after the fact), and may still have friends you made on the fire escape of a random person’s apartment on Avenue C.
Today, apps have streamlined this process so we can set controls to only find eligible bearded men, Ayn Randian bootstrappers, farmers, Ivy Leaguers, or the already attached. Look around a crowded bar on a weekend night, and eight out of 10 people will be swiping, double-tapping, and charming their way through the evening. While one can argue that it vastly increases the odds of success, it’s overwhelming, and can engender some nostalgia for a bygone era of consensual stranger danger.