To heart dating

Frank and Amy’s chemistry on their first date is electric—awkward and sweet, it’s the kind of encounter one might hope for with a Tinder match—until they discover their relationship has a 12-hour shelf life.

Palpably disappointed but obedient to the process, they part ways after a night spent holding hands on top of the covers.

Over the past few months, not a day has passed without yet another reminder of how unsafe it is simply to exist in public with men, working and socializing, let alone seeking out sexual or romantic relationships.

Nearly every woman and non-binary person I know, married or single, straight or not, has reported a fundamentally negative shift in their relationships with men as a result of the events of this year, be it in pursuing new relationships or engaging with the ones they have.

It’s smart and even kind to promise those of us trying not to drown that there may be hope for love in such a dystopia as ours—and that that hope can exist somewhere between the 100% human and the 100% mathematical.

But the story’s optimistic conclusion can’t quite bury the despair encoded in its DNA.

episodes of the Trump/Weinstein era, the story arrives during one of heterosexuality’s lowest polling moments in recent memory.Something about this story had left me existentially upset.Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror’s creator, has explicitly stated that the series exists to unsettle, to examine the many ways in which human weakness has inspired and been inspired by modern technology, which has naturally required exploring modern romance.5 YEARS, the device reads, before loudly announcing he has “destabilized” the partnership and abruptly recalibrating, sending that duration plummeting, bottoming out at just a few hours.Amy is furious, both are bereft, but fear keeps them on course, off to another montage of hollow, depressing hookups; it isn’t until they’re offered a final goodbye before their “ultimate match” date that they finally decide they’d rather face banishment together than be apart again.In their renewed partnership and blissful cohabitation, we glimpse both those infinitesimal sparks of hope and the relatable moments of digital desperation that keep us renewing accounts or restoring Ok Cupid profiles ad nauseam.With a Sigur Rós-esque score to rival ’s soul-rending, almost abusive deployment of Album Leaf’s song “The Light,” the tenderness between them is enhanced, their delicate chemistry ever vulnerable to annihilation by algorithm.Now take that bone-deep exhaustion and fury and sadness and pile it atop the already soul-deadening experience of swiping through Bumble, or spending countless hours with deeply uninteresting strangers in service of “being open-minded.” It makes the prospect of finding an equitable love, or even a satisfying lust, a laughable unlikelihood.How could even the best dating app algorithm today factor that in?I know that they’re short flings, and they’re just meaningless, so I get really detached.It’s like I’m not really there.”But then, miraculously, Frank and Amy match again, and this time they agree not to check their expiry date, to savor their time together.

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