Jon Bentley takes a look at modern dating

14 Apr 2016


Jon Bentley

It's been decades since I went on a date. Back then it really was a different world. We had no internet, or even mobile phones, to help in our search for romance. Meeting new people was a face-to-face affair pursued through the relatively narrow circles of friends and relatives, schools and college, or pubs and parties. I sometimes think it's a wonder anybody managed to hook up at all in those primitive times.


Now your options are nowhere near as restricted. Thanks to the internet you can get in touch with billions of people from all round the world. And you can discover much more about prospective dates and their interests before you meet them. Even better there are thousands of apps and websites dedicated to helping you search for love.


But in spite of this technological revolution it's still a difficult challenge for some. My mission in this week's show was to assist Mitz Patel in his quest to find a potential life partner. The 36-year-old IT Project Manager has so far been rather unsuccessful in this aspect of his life: in spite of being a regular on all the major dating apps he describes the 90 or so dates he's been on as failures.


Sadly, his experiences with some of the latest cutting edge apps we suggested for him weren't that brilliant either. The app Ten, whose users rate each other on a scale of one to ten so you're supposedly never out of your league, seemed like a good idea but nobody rated Mitz so he couldn't take part. The Antidate app is designed for women to make the first move though there didn't seem to be many users at all when we tested it. And finally an app called Once, with one potential partner a day selected for you by a human rather than an algorithm, and the ability for users to share heartbeat rates from their wearables while looking at each other’s pictures didn't secure any leads either.


Lacking any real dates I had to arrange one with Helen, a friend of The Gadget Show who was happy to help. At least some of the tech Mitz used to prepare for and take part in this rendezvous was more successful than the apps. The Luna 2 facial cleanser and exfoliator made a positive contribution to beard maintenance, for example, and the Thync energising and relaxing transdermal neurostimulation device seemed to have the desired effect.


In fact he seemed to get on better with Helen than many of the assignations he'd arranged through apps in the past. Maybe fixing dates through friends and acquaintances isn't such an outmoded concept after all.