Occupy the Dating App
New York magazine|June 21-July 4, 2021
In today’s marketplace for love, everybody wants to eat the rich.
Extremely Online: Emilia Petrarca. Ilustration by Simoul Alva

After getting my first vaccine in late April, I re­ downloaded various dating apps on my phone to discover that everybody—at least straight males ages 27 to 36 in my three­ mile Brooklyn radius—seemed ready to abolish capitalism. One night, while sitting on my couch swiping through Hinge, where users are asked to respond to cutesy prompts about their hobbies and interests, I found Enzo, a man with a mustache and a professional headshot who identified his “Love Language” as “the decommodification of food, housing, and healthcare.” Shortly after, I came across a guy named Jordan whose profile said, “Together, we could: Make art, dismantle the system, and eat grapes at the park.” He was followed by Carl, who, posing with a yellow Labrador retriever, said he wanted to “watch the collapse of the American empire.” Then came another wholesome­looking man who said he was “convinced” that “looting is reparative wealth distribution.” On Tinder, it was the same thing: Almost immediately, I matched with a 27­year­ old who was into parks, people­watching, photography, and woodwork and also identified as a biracial communist.

Curious, I asked around to see if people with different settings had noticed the same phenomenon. A male friend told me that within two minutes of opening Hinge, he saw a woman’s bio declaring, “I’m weirdly attracted to The end of capi­talism.” (“It’s funny the way people find a way to shoehorn it into every prompt,” he said.) After changing my own settings to include women, I came across someone on Tinder who listed “ranting about capi­talism at the drop of a hat” as something she does “for fun” in addition to making memes and TikToks. Plus a “Commie mommy” and another bio that declared, “Capitalists, zionists, and swerves [sex worker–exclusionary radical feminists] can fuck off.”

“It feels like it went from ‘Okay, you live in Brooklyn and are anti­Trump unless you say otherwise’ to ‘anti­Trump’ being replaced with ‘BLM,’ which was replaced with ‘anti­capitalist,’ ” observed another acquaintance.

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