The end of summer has dawned and with the new 10 p.m. curfew came the start of cuffing season. Dating can only be described as a complicated dance but with the pandemic evolving and an increase of app usage set to occur, astrology app The Pattern saw this as an opportunity to officially announce its upcoming dating feature. Connect uses natal charts to help others decipher love languages and find companionship through sign compatibility. Could astrology be the answer to all of our dating dilemmas?
Until recently The Pattern was described as a “hyper-personalised social experience bringing astrology into the 21st century.” All you had to do was to enter your date, time and place of birth. Following the app’s success, The Pattern came out with two new developments aiming to regenerate the dating world this fall: Bonds and Connect.
Bonds offers users a chance to explore how one’s chart uniquely matches with a fellow friend, romantic interest and even a celebrity. Someone bragged about being extremely compatible with Edgar Allan Poe. Meanwhile, Connect is a service that utilises The Pattern’s methodology to allow users a new, authentic way to seek and match with like-minded connections. In short, Tinder for astrology fans.
It’s not uncommon to know or have a friend presently going through a ‘Mystic Meg phase’; seeking every opportunity to tell you that the cause of your mishaps is due to a retrograde or point you to the nearest tarot reader when they sense a tear forming In fact, the age of Aquarius encourages us all to find the appeal. Between the second lockdown, burnout and excessive usage of social media, an increase of anxiety and depression plagues our generation. So much so that it came as no surprise to me when astrology resurfaced and started integrating itself into internet culture. It has given people a sense of comfort like no other, hence why astrology now falls under ‘self-care’.
Rina, from Serbia, first created her astrology meme account @Astrhology as a vessel for information but its purpose shortly shifted, “Astrology is my method of escape and a way of justifying and understanding other people’s actions”, she explained. Whereas, Saint, from Miami, loves the comfort her account @Sassygyalsag brings to her everyday life, “As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I look to astrology as a tool of learning more about myself.”
Still, with growing concerns over the accuracy of AI apps, The Pattern and Co-Star beg the question: how effective can they be when it comes to online dating and if so, is it worth joining the ever-present waitlist?
Simone, a London-based healing arts practitioner, yoga teacher and owner of spiritual business Mystik Bones has signed up to Connect three times, out of confusion and enthusiasm. “I reference astrology every day of my life because it’s accessible and there’s always something going on. I tend to check it either at the beginning or end of my day so I can understand or get up-to-date with the collective energy or simply my planetary alignment,” she tells Screen Shot. “I think it’s important to observe someone’s Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Rising and Sun signs to gain an all-round perspective of who they are on a soul level and what to expect when investing into their energy.”
Wanting to gain a sufficient amount of information before deciding to step into a situation is not peculiar, in fact, it’s highly encouraged—hence why so many turn to online dating. It’s rapid, it’s effective, and most importantly it’s less confrontational. So, for those, who date based off requirements, Connect simply fulfils another human need, but with the future of dating heading into astronomy, what factors should we consider?
Trainee clinical psychologist Lola Kotun believes the rise of interest from millennials stems from the need for instant gratification, “I’m slightly apprehensive about the truthfulness behind these birth charts because what makes sense for one person doesn’t make sense for another. As well as this, how true can an app be in understanding the family circumstances someone was raised in or the culture one’s come from that aid and shape a person and therefore influences what one wants in life?”
These differences in life experiences could actually sway two traditionally highly compatible signs, such as fire signs with other fire signs, in polar directions of each other and no app would be able to anticipate that.
The way technology has integrated itself into our everyday lives, especially given our social situation was inevitable. However, as astrology continues to gain momentum it’s important to remember that immoderately using these applications for dating won’t actually address the hidden differences that come with dating—it requires self-work.
How often did the eggplant emoji make you absolutely cringe when swiping through Tinder? A recent study conducted by researchers at the Kinsey Institute found that a frequent use of emojis is directly linked to having sex more frequently. Yes, you read that correctly—your sex life now depends on emojis.
And it is not just your sex life; in fact, emojis have been proven to be effective signals for relationship-oriented digital communication, leading to a more successful dating life. The researchers have conducted two separate surveys. In the first, they found that 28 percent of Americans use emojis regularly, 3 percent use one in every text, 2.5 percent use more than one in every text, and all participants found that using emojis provided them with a better outlet for self expression than text-based messages.
The second survey found that 97 percent of its partakers use emojis when speaking to potential love interests and showed that emoji use is related to maintaining connections with a first date, meaning that people would be more likely to engage in intimate behaviours as time progresses. Both surveys were then connected to information such as how often do these people have sex, go on a second date, and kiss their partner, and it appeared that those who participated in these activities the most also happened to send the most emojis.
This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise—emojis, in a way, are a 21st century art form in itself. There is even an animated film dedicated to them titled, perhaps unsurprisingly, The Emoji Movie, and a few years ago a university in Ireland shared potential plans of creating an emoji as a foreign language course. Somehow, emoticons have gained immense pop-cultural value, and it was only a matter of time until they caught up with the way we communicate among each other.
There are limitations to the study, however, as there is no evidence of what type of emojis are used most frequently and which emojis link to what outcome. It is also important to note that the survey focused on the sending out of emojis rather than receiving, therefore there is no proof of how the latter reacts. While we question the likelihood of each emoji’s ability to turn us on, it is important to take the entire research with a grain of salt. But what does this say about our use and understanding of emojis?
It is no secret that when conversing via text certain elements of human communication get lost. Verbal communication and its meaning are greatly affected by the person’s voice, tone, and intonation, which simply can not be present in a text. Emojis can add that tone of voice into the conversation, allowing for a much more expressive and friendly flow, and essentially ease out the conversation.
Dating in today’s world is, without a doubt, stressful. Dating apps and websites have made dating a lot more accessible, as we now have the ability to plan our next hook-up with the tips of our fingers. However, the link between romance and technology has also created a handful of its own issues, such as the inability to find meaningful love or presenting us with too much choice, which results in confusion as well as anxieties over not appearing too desperate. Emojis are able to add a certain tone of casualty and laid-backness to the conversation.
The previous idea could then be traced back to the survey and success of emojis in conversing among potential romantic partners. Emojis can sometimes make the conversation more relaxed and less serious, which could lead to a follow-up date. Of course, the fact that we need emojis to communicate better is slightly concerning, but, then again, we are shifting towards a digital future, and it is only natural that each and every element of our lives will become impacted by this, for better or for worse.
Considering the countless debates around how technology and mass digitalisation have changed dating as we know it, making it even more difficult to connect romantically and intimately, the argument that emojis are now improving our sex lives certainly comes as a paradox. But hey, it seems to work. So go on and up your emoji game.