Darwinning: The Dating Trend Rooted In Science

Charles Darwin and his scientific theories have often been invoked to call attention to an act of seeming stupidity. The Darwinian theory of evolution posits the idea of "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." In his thinking, only the species that are best suited to navigate life on Earth will reproduce, passing on the most beneficial genes through reproduction and leading to the development of more advanced species, per Live Science

That's what the theory sounds like in science class. On Twitter, it appears mostly as users sharing videos of people making unfortunate decisions and declaring it to be "natural selection." But while the theory has typically been used as an insult in recent years, things have recently started to ... evolve. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing debates about vaccines, some people have found comfort in aligning themselves with the science-believing Darwin — especially when it comes to passing on their genes. That's right: The latest trend in dating involves seeking out fellow pro-vaxxers, and it's called "Darwinning." As it turns out, your vaccination status can impact your relationship status

Darwinning points to a new dealbreaker

The pandemic seems to have changed everything ... including the way we date. While many hoped that the release of a vaccine would mark the end of the crisis, it served to introduce a new dating red flag. As the world started to open up and meet-ups resumed, many had a firm dealbreaker in mind: They would not be interested in an unboosted boo (via Yahoo! Life).

When you think about it, this makes sense. Those who prioritized getting the vaccine may have done so due to risk factors in their own lives or the life of a loved one. Dating and being in close contact with an unvaccinated partner, then, could place them at risk for contracting COVID and experiencing dangerous consequences. 

The debate surrounding vaccine mandates also quickly became partisan. This means that some singles may view vaccination status as a clue about broader ideological questions and party leanings. Compatibility in these areas has risen as a priority for many singles — from 40% saying political affiliation was important to know in 2019, to 53% in 2022, according to Pew Research Center. These numbers are slightly higher than the number of singles wanting to know vaccination status alone: 47%, per a 2022 Pew Research Center survey. Fortunately for the COVID-conscious, dating apps are stepping up to make it even easier to find vaccinated matches. 

Dating apps have made Darwinning easier

In a testament to their status as the modern dating marketplace, romance apps seem to have seen the Darwinning trend coming. Major dating sites like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge added optional profile stickers which indicate singles' vaccination status, allowing users to quickly identify like-mindedness while swiping. Some of the apps even partnered with the White House in its 2021 COVID-containment efforts, offering in-app incentives like Super Likes to users who provided a proof of vaccination. According to CNN, OKCupid users who were either vaccinated or had a plan to get vaccinated saw 14% more matches. 

Of course, it's not just vaccinated people who are concerned about their partner's status. Many unvaccinated individuals are not interested in a romantic relationship with someone who believes in the efficacy of the shot. In early 2022, France24 reported on the creation of a new dating app in Switzerland: Impffrei Love. The brand name, which translates to "Vaccine-free: Love," makes its target market very clear.