Has Social Media Ruined Dating? A Young Engineer’s Perspective

By Ashley Dube

Clive Masike was living every young man’s dream looking from the outside within. Engineer Clive as he was affectionately known was one of the first certified Polymer Engineers in Zimbabwe by the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers. Engineer Clive was an expert in the production of polymeric materials ranging from plastics, rubber and fibres as well as their use in a wide use of applications ranging from packaging, construction, agricultural as well as bio-medical industry.

Following his graduation, he was roped in by one of the leading packaging companies as a graduate-trainee, he was promoted to Operations manager to oversee all operations around the firm in order to ensure the firm meets customer’s specifications on all products on the firm. This job entailed a very health salary and lovely perks which also came with it. In addition, Engineer Clive had a thriving Upwork profile. Upwork is a platform which connects businesses with independent professionals and agencies around the globe. Engineer Clive used his vast knowledge in Computer Aided design programs to secure jobs on Upwork which significantly boosted his income.

One might say things were smooth sailing for our favourite engineer with as he rocked in his neat Mercedes Benz coupled with staying in a lovely apartment in Greendale and was also building a lovely mansion in Greenside in his hometown Mutare. One thing seemed amiss for Engineer Clive: He had a disastrous run with romantic relationships which came as a shock to many given his stature in society.

Initially it was the engineer’s fault as following his success Clive hopped from one lady to the next and refused to settle.“Kutamba ujaya” he called it thus in -his mother-tongue—enjoying bachelorhood with the reluctance to settle.  But all these escapades eventually took their toll, and engineer Clive was now in a position to settle in a solid long term relationship.

Like karma, the stars were refusing to align in that department for Engineer Clive as he attracted partners who were not willing for that sort of relationship he craved. It seemed they were more interested in the material value he offered rather than accepting him as him, Clive the smart polymer engineer who was and still is making waves in the industry. This made him more and more insecure as he began losing trust, and an iconic line from one of his favourite artists, Dan Reynolds hit hard, “Who to trust when everything you touch turns into gold?” He pondered on why it is very easier to get a one-night fling but frustratingly difficult to get a solid romantic relationship.

Clive attributed this problem down to the increase of social media. Social media has transformed the world as we know it and all facets of life and dating is no exception. He felt it in this area the cons overshadow the pros. Clive’s reasoning was the ease of contact between strangers being brought about by social media has given individuals a false sense of options and as a result a lack of commitment. An individual with an inbox flooded of “potential’ relationship partners is very unlikely to have time to fight and build a solid faithful relationship with one partner. Moreover, with the overemphasis in material things and instant gratification it makes settling difficult as people continuously chase the next ‘big thing.’

Clive’s recent encounter was the most disastrous of the lot after matching a beautiful lady on Tinder. They hit it off quickly. With the couple going on amazing dates and having an amazing together, Clive was a happy fella. He felt he had finally met the one who will take up the Masike name and be the mother of his offspring. Unfortunately, it was not to be, the pretty lady was a wolf in sheep’s skin deceiving our favourite engineer filching a hefty chunk of his savings lying they were for his father’s medical bill. Poor Clive then discovers it was all a ruse as the money was used to fund her thrift store business – he was devastated to say the least.

Clive remembered the tales his parents used to tell him growing up on how they went through their dating phase. He remembered how he used to laugh at his old folks when they said they used to wait for two weeks so that one could hear from their better half. With low use of cell phones in that period letters were the way to go and as expected took longer. This form of communication is unheard of this day and age but Clive always thought to himself this kind level of experience his parents went through whilst it was slow and clearly tedious, it breeds huge commitment to the relationship between the particular couple–unlike the click away associated with the modern day dating space. Clive kept on trying though and even went on to created a Tinder account, and in next to no time he had already over twenty likes and a fair number of ‘matches’… This made him wonder even more that are all this people genuinely in love with him or are just in love with his profile.

Engineer Clive kept on what he is good at, that is engineering, as he could not crack the code on the relationship side of things, and it was not a problem where all the mathematical formulas he learnt could come in handy. While one may feel for our beloved engineer, as the years spent gallivanting and having his time of life are coming back to bite him. Is it a case of chickens coming home to roost?

I for one am not a believer in karma, but who knows? He may also have dived into relationships with the “wrong intentions.” Mr Masike however attributed it to the wide use of social media, but is it so? Or it is an oversimplification of a much bigger problem? Or just bare misfortune for our engineer? Who knows, this life knows no balance anyway…

31 March, 2023