Move over, Tinder: 5 ways the dating game is changing for the better.

Technology is changing how we connect online and in person. Here are some ways to use it to your advantage.

In 2016, we will face a Tinder-triggered dating apocalypse.

Just kidding! I don't know about you, but I'm happy to say good riddance to the romance-and-dating-are-dead alarmism of 2015.

But chances are dating is going to continue to be pretty hard (and pretty awkward). Which is why I'm excited about the new trends in dating that have emerged.


The things we do in the pursuit if love. GIF via "Millionaire Matchmaker."

As one of the 107 million unmarried adults in this country, I'm still on the search for a special someone. And while many people have had success with traditional online dating tools — half of us know someone who found their partner that way — I am not one of them. (Perhaps it's related to how few messages black women get or some other racial bias.)

Or maybe I need to work on my eyebrows. Hers are really nice. Photo by Eva Hambach/AF[/Getty Images

Sometimes it feels like there are only three options: get set up by a friend, use online dating, or luck out with a random meet-cute while in line at your favorite organic grocery co-op.

But things are looking up for us singles. Turns out, there are some more interesting options out there.

For instance: matchmakers!

No, no, no. Not this one. GIF from "The Millionaire Matchmaker."

I just got one! A living human being whose job is to find people who would be a good fit? And actually meet them in person? Without that endless messaging?! It's a match made in heaven (HA!).

While not everyone wants someone who is that hands-on in their dating life, there are quite a few other gems out there. So if you are tired of just swiping the night away, rejoice. These approaches to dating are changing how we meet and match in 2016.

1. More opportunities for women to take the lead.

GIF via "Girls."

What better way to celebrate another year in the 21st century than by flipping dating gender roles? Apps like Bumble and Siren (which reports ZERO harassing messages so far!) are made by and for women to create a better experience for everyone. Both require the woman to break the ice.

Once you match with someone on Bumble, the woman has 24 hours to initiate contact before the connection is lost forever. Siren takes it a bit further: Everyone answers a question of the day to accompany their profile, but only women control whether they want a potential date to see an unblurred version of their photo.

2. Have someone do the work for you.

No, not like that.

Everything old is new again! Matchmaking services like The Dating Ring (where I am currently a client), Tawkify, and Three Day Rule are bringing a human touch back to a world that has become dominated by algorithms. Finally, you don't need to waste hours browsing profiles, crafting that perfect message, waiting to be ignored, and never meeting someone in meatspace.

You fill out a profile just like you would on Match or OKCupid, but it's not for your potential suitors: matchmakers use it to get to know you on top of a 1-on-1 conversation. After they get an idea of what you're looking for and would likely work for you, they go out into the world to sort through eligible singles and find the best picks for you. Nifty, eh?

3. Share what you really feel (and see) when regular romantic emojis just won't do.

Close, but not quite. GIF via "The Voice" Australia.

Yes, emojis have become more racially diverse and have same-gender couple options. But what about some interracial dating options?! Well, apps like flirtyQWERTY offers images that fill the gap left by the traditional emojis, featuring interracial couples, queer folk, and more!

With the rise of interracial dating and marriage equality being the law of the land, having tools like this just make sense. It's about time!


Screenshots via flirtyQWERTY app.

4. Use hack-resistant apps to get your flirt on.

GIF via "Wet Hot American Summer."

The lines between our professional and social worlds are getting increasingly blurry (thanks, smartphones) and sexting has become more common. Chance are you might have an ... intimate convo or two that you don't want your baby cousin accidentally finding when they're trying to play a round of Angry Birds on your phone.

Apps like The Plume let you get your digi-fun on with more peace of mind because of features like password protection and message encryption for your text messages and private pictures.

5. Go on that first date ... without leaving your home.

Getting to your date will be as easy as a spin in a park.

OK, so we might not see it in 2016, but ... THE POSSIBILITIES. According to a report by Imperial College London and the dating website eHarmony, "full-sensory virtual reality dating" might very well be a thing. Internet speeds have been improving considerably, and by 2040, they predict speeds will reach 952,000,000,000 bits per second — a rate much higher than what scientists think is necessary to create a virtual reality that replicates all our senses.

Imagine all the time saved on prepping and traveling to see someone before you decide whether you're up for that whole "real life" thing! I dunno about you, but I'm pretty pumped about this.

What makes all these options so exciting is that they provide more opportunities to make the dating and relationship experience our own.

Let's face it: We humans are pretty darn diverse and complicated. Why would we think that the same few things would work for everyone?

Here's to a new year filled with love and new experiences!

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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