DMT Beauty Transformation: No, Strava is Not the New Dating App
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No, Strava is Not the New Dating App

November 17, 2023BruceDayne

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Friends, we have a crisis looming on our hands and something must be done.

If you’ve been living under the surface level of the pool, Strava sashayed into the zeitgeist last week when Elle published an article titled “Is Strava the New Dating App?” According to the story, a pay-to-play, digital dating environment has ravaged younger American generations with swipe fatigue, and Strava, author Kelsey Borovinsky argues, provides a platform for people who enjoy running and endurance sports to find each other.

So far, so great. Running has infiltrated pop culture enough to get written up in the likes of Elle, without even Taylor Swift signing on? Rejoice! We can use Strava to find connection and community? Hallelujah!

But, Borovinsky, are we talking about the same Strava? The one with segments and leaderboards that breed obsession and over-training? The app that doesn’t even support direct messaging, much less discovery?

Sure, Strava has a “flyby” feature to see who you encountered on your outing. But if you manage to track down strangers you glimpsed for a quarter of a second on your run two days ago with this beta feature, what are you going to do? Ask them out in a public comment on their activity?

No, if you are a sane person with manners, you are going to find them on Instagram or something and send them a DM. Nicely. Politely.

I hear DMing is coming to Strava. We will deal with those ramifications later. One crisis at a time. Beyond practicalities, there lies the greater existential question that we must ask ourselves: Do we really want Strava to serve as a way to impress people in that dating-kind-of-way? It’s already a haven for those looking for validation and ways to look down on each other, but it could get worse, much worse.

Indeed, Elle’s Borovinsky describes a Strava filled with young, single people like Ellie Gerson. She’s a runner and influencer from San Francisco who, after completing her scenic seven-mile run, “immediately opens Strava to upload her workout, along with a cute selfie and a relatable caption about the highs and lows of training for the Chicago Marathon.”

Marathon training, we love to see it. But Gerson isn’t here just to chronicle the highs and lows of her journey to 26.2. When asked if she hopes potential suitors will see her Strava uploads Gerson said, “One thousand percent. Whether it was a long run or I’m in a cute outfit, there have definitely been times where I’ve thought, he will see this.”

Look, it’s a free country. Gerson, Borovinsky, and all one hundred million Strava-ers (Strava-ites?) can use Strava however they want. But do we really need yet another platform for people to impress each other? Can’t someone just spend a long run thinking about pancakes, not thirst traps?

Strava’s where I connect with friends and family. I see my 72-year-old dad’s five-hour Zwift ride, and I know he’s just as deranged as he was 50 years ago. Thank god. It’s where I get beta on trail and road conditions from those more intrepid than I. It’s where we – yes, the royal we of all endurance peoples – bond over our mutual hatred of wind. And it’s what I turn to when I need a little bit of extra motivation from my psycho friends who run at 4:00 AM.

In short, I rely on Strava to learn about what’s really going on. It’s like getting an honest answer to, “How are you?” without even needing to ask. Even for those people who call their hammer sessions “easy runs,” the heart rate data keeps them honest.

Strava feels like a safe haven for simplicity, silliness, and sincerity—segment hunting and threats of stalking put aside.

Maybe (probably) I’m being an overly cautious curmudgeon. I’ve been off the market for like six years, I’m old and out of touch. But in our overly digitized and curated world of filtered photos and painstakingly edited reels, Strava is the last place on the internet that hasn’t wholly succumbed to the dramaturgical trap of masking your true self in service to an impossible ideal. It’s a place to be yourself, and to celebrate others for being the same. And in a world saturated with insincerity, I need Strava to feel like I still have a semblance of a grasp on the truth.

So, Strava-ites, here is my plea to you: Keep posting those snot-encrused selfies and silly Strava titles. In the spirit of love, celebrate your friends for doing the same. And then, if Strava happens to serve as the most wholesome accidental meet-cute on the internet, we all win.

RELATED: How Strava Fame Became A Burden For Molly Seidel



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