Metaverses give virtual dating a much-needed upgrade where we no longer have to do the shower-shave-glam routine every time we have a date (whew!)
If the idea of a first date in real life makes you want to curl up in a corner and call it a day, perhaps it’s time to take your dates into a parallel universe: the metaverse.
Imagine this: you’ve got a date (you rock star!). But instead of finding the right outfit, texting your friends about what a terrible idea this is and feeling nauseous, you are chilling in your sweats. No, really. After all, you don’t need to dress up; your digital avatar will. You don’t need to drive there; your virtual headset will transport you from your couch. And if your date turns out to be a dud, well, you can just leave with the push of a button. It sure makes your in-real-life (IRL) dates sound lame, doesn’t it?
First off, how does metaverse dating work?
Let’s get into the details. In metaverses, you don’t need to worry about your date peeing all over your bathroom floor; stepping into a house that reeks of cat poo; or, worse, them turning out to be vegan and not letting you order a good old hot dog (the horror stories are endless). Additionally, there’s no pressure to look good. To go on a metaverse date, you design an avatar that represents you. It could be an accurate replica of you or what you aspire to look like. You could also choose to be an avocado in the metaverse (there are no rules).
Once you choose your avatar, all you need to do is step into the ‘verse using your headset and haptic gloves (equipped with cameras and sensors to give you a lifelike experience). The Founder and Managing Director of a Hong Kong-based wellness center, Sonia Samtani, expounds, “The VR (virtual reality) experience gives us the opportunity to receive non-verbal messages from our dates through this multisensory experience where we can see their body language and expressions, and even ‘feel’ their touch with a virtual glove.”
So, where can you go for your date?
In the metaverse, anywhere! If you’re an adventurer, go from Paris to Bali in a single day. If you’re all about fantasies, ride unicorns across a new galaxy. If you’re a risk-taker, find Tom Cruise’s metaverse house and stand outside with a boombox—maybe your date will enjoy it, maybe they won’t. Rest assured, Tom Cruise would know about you, and that’s all that matters.
If you wait a little longer, you will be able to grab a drink at “Aaron’s Bar” or walk around in “The Enchanted Forest”, courtesy of virtual reality-based dating app Planet Theta, which is set to launch this year. Unlike your IRL boyfriend, your metaverse one might actually bring you the moon and the stars—even in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT)!
Can a metaverse boyfriend be your soulmate?
Why not? Love can be found in the most unlikely places, so there’s no reason you should rule out the metaverse. After all, nothing says “meant to be” like finding someone who chooses a “toast” avatar to complement your avocado. And if they pull out a salt and pepper shaker NFT to honor your relationship? Put a ring on it!
The CEO of virtual reality game company FireFlare Games, Chris Crew, says, “You get an incredible amount of information about how someone feels about you without them saying a word.” According to him, every meek turn and stolen glance can be experienced in VR, thus making it a worthy venture, perhaps even worthier than IRL dating.
The perks of metaverse dating
Spoiler alert: it’s better than online dating in numerous ways.
1. Romance whenever, wherever
The best thing about dating in the metaverse is that borders are blurred. Living in Hong Kong, you can take a walk in an enchanted forest with someone from the United States easily. The concepts of time and place are suspended in the ‘verse, leaving you to explore the world with your significant other as you please.
2. Boring dates? Not a chance
Remember when Aladdin took Jasmine on a “magic carpet ride”, promising to show her the world? This is what he meant. In the metaverse, you can visit a variety of places that only exist in your imagination. In the coming years, who knows, you might even get to have your date at Hogwarts. Rest assured, none of your dates will be boring in the metaverse.
3. No need for escape plans
In metaverse dating, you won’t need to text your friend and ask them to call you and pretend there is an emergency so that you can leave. You can just…leave. Detach your headset, take off your gloves, and you are good to go. Plus, since your date cannot really touch you, it reduces the risk of you being harassed or exposed to unpleasant situations. That said, there have been recent instances of harassment in the metaverse. That has urged companies to come up with solutions, such as safety bubbles, that allow you to protect your personal space.
Online dating apps, like Tinder, have been planning their foray into the metaverse. Tinder CEO, Renate Nyborg, disclosed, “From a Tinder perspective, we’ve been talking about a Tinderverse internally, which is more about blurring the boundaries between offline and online.”
In the end, if all goes well, who knows? You could have a metaverse wedding (that Tom Cruise might attend! What!)
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