$7000 is the New Free

Are dating app algorithms being replaced by self proclaiming matchmakers?

Jayde Atchison // Opinions Editor
Sharleen Ramos // Illustrator

Back in September, CBC News published an article about Dan Hawkins’s journey from deleting dating apps to offering prizes of up to $7000 to the person that can find his soulmate. As the notoriously single friend in my social circle, I can understand Hawkins’ exhaustion with modern dating means. I have downloaded and deleted the big three apps more times than I’ve circled the sun. Even with how bleak the apps may make me feel, I don’t think I am willing to drop a pretty penny on finding the one. Heck, I can’t even be bothered to pay $7.99 for an upgrade on an app. Call me frugal, but if my perfect partner does exist, they will understand that I wanted to wait until fate stepped in—for free. 

Hawkins kicked Tinder to the curb and put his dating chances up to the world at large. He created a form for potential matchmakers to fill out so they may claim their prizes if the relationship is a match. This seems to be a long-run game that makes me wonder what those prizes could be and will they be relevant by the time the couple has wed? Hawkins stipulated that in his search for a wife, he would not pay the matchmaker until after the wedding. Some relationships are a slow burn—so will an air fryer still be cool in 10 years if it takes that long to get to marriage? At the very least, the warranty will be long since expired. 

Waiting until after the ceremony is a good idea, because $7000 can take some people a long way and I can’t help but imagine a 2003 rom-com plotline of a scam, turned romance, turned disaster. I guess a $7000 payout doesn’t seem worth the effort or commitment required to fake an entire relationship and wedding though. Hopefully Hawkins is holding out his prize purchases until closer to the inevitable wedding, and hopefully he puts them on his registry so other people buy them for him—because it’s all about working smart, not hard. 

Just because I would rather spend my hard-earned cash on some new flooring or a vacation to Spain, doesn’t mean that other people aren’t willing to throw their dough away for a significant other. According to Hawkins, people have been reaching out to him about his approach to love, and he has been encouraging them to follow his lead. It doesn’t seem so far-fetched—just take a look at shows like 90-Day Fiancé, The Bachelor, Love is Blind or any of the other 40 shows dedicated to finding love in odd circumstances. People are willing to go above and beyond to feel something other than loneliness and utter despair. 

Broadcasting to the world that you have a reward for finding your spouse is probably not going to become the norm. It might briefly be a trending sound on TikTok, but that might be as far as it goes. Dating apps are not going anywhere, because they offer an instant gratification that being set up on blind dates does not. I don’t know about Hawkins and the rest of the single population, but every time that I have been set up on a date it has been incredibly awkward or horribly matched. I trust my friends to keep my secrets and to be there for me when I’m down, but I wouldn’t stake my life or my money on their abilities to find me a good date. 

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