Existence before Essence: When we create our online dating profile, it is a blank slate. Its existence precedes its essence, and its essence will be whatever we choose to fill it with. We create our own selves in the form of our self-summary and interests. If our online dating profile were completed before their formulation, if their essence preceded their existence, we would be stuck with whatever character traits were assigned to us. However, because we begin as a tabula rasa, we are free to choose which HBO series defines our personality.

Bad Faith: To exist in bad faith is to deny the true nature of our freedom. If I say that I am ‘easy-going’, ‘fun’, and ‘outdoorsy’, I am objectifying my being by limiting myself to only being ‘easy-going’, ‘fun’, and ‘outdoorsy’. If I were to truly be ‘easy-going’, I could never be anything other than ‘easy-going’. I may have been ‘fun’ in the past, as my past is set in stone, and therefore can be defined objectively, but to claim presently to be ‘fun’ is to deny my possibility of being anything else. I am not ‘outdoorsy’ in the way an inkwell is an inkwell. I am not what I am, and I am what I am not; that is to say, I am my possibilities, not my facticity.  These claims to be something limit my freedom by implying that I cannot be anything.

The flip side of bad faith is to attempt to live strictly within freedom, to avoid choice. However, to not choose is to choose not to choose. When we flake out on a potential partner because we believe that the next possibility could be The One, focusing on trivial imperfections to justify the inability to commit, it is because of the realization that to make a choice is to nihilate all other choices. Online dating condemns us to freedom by bombarding us with an infinity of choices, and choose we must.

The Other: We know of the existence of the Other and eliminate solipsism by recognizing that when someone visits our profile, we experience their Look by seeing the pop-up indicating that they have viewed our page. However, this Look turns us into an object. We become our self-summary when viewed by the Other, and this is how they will perceive us. They cannot know me the way that I know myself; they can only know me through my list of favourite musicians, and so to them I am someone who likes Pink Floyd. I become the Pink-Floyd-fan object. My freedom is thus eliminated, and the only way to combat this encroachment is to attempt to objectify them in turn by visiting their page and reducing their freedom to an object who likes some indie hipster band.

Negation: When we go out on a first date with CuteKittenz88 and see that she is larger than her pictures imply, we do not experience fat-CuteKittenz88, we experience not-fit-CuteKittenz88. The expectations that we possessed are negated by our first date impressions, and it is the experience of this negation that shows the implicit non-being in everyday human life.

Nausea: The contingency of online dating, the accidental nature of any romantic encounter or lack thereof, truly shows the meaninglessness of existence.

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