Experts say smartphones are fast becoming an important piece of one's dating arsenal, as new apps offering assistance on a variety of issues hit the market.
One of the latest to emerge is The Bad Date Rescue app from dating site eHarmony.com. It allows users to set up a faux emergency call to get out of a bad date hassle-free.
Some observers say the app is a good way to skedaddle out of a sticky situation, but others say a call from a real person might be better when it's time to make an escape in case safety becomes an issue.
One element experts agree on, however, is the evolution of the smartphone into a device which can be used as a genuine mobile dating tool.
"All the major dating sites have their own mobile apps," said Sidneyeve Matrix, a media professor at Queen's University. "They do realize that that's the thing you're going to take to the club with you, that's the thing that's always at hand."
Matrix points to the trend of using GPS-based apps that "help you to find a hottie in the vicinity" and an increasing reliance on technology for communication.
"It would be like you opt in, and I opt in and then ping, there's somebody around," she explained.
The increasingly connected world of today also means those on the dating circuit are now more comfortable getting to know each other through mobile communication, including "statversations", which are conversations through 140-character status updates, added Matrix.
People used to use computer chat programs like MSN Messenger to connect, said Ryerson University student Jai Garcha.
"But now since Android and Apple have advanced in their technology we use more of just our phone when it comes to text and even video calls," Garcha said.
Some don't even exchange phone numbers when they meet a prospective date any more, relying on social networks instead.
"These days you don't really exchange numbers," said Yumit Soltani. "Facebook, bbm, those would be the (main) two applications that I use on my phone for dating."
Mobile dating apps don't appear to appeal to everyone though.
Toronto resident Jeff Caldwell said he believes people should start off with face-to-face communication. Other than the occasional short text, Caldwell said he doesn't use mobile assistance when it comes to his relationships.
"I haven't needed to," he said.
For a number of people, however, technology might help build relationships in ways that face-to-face communication can't.
Toronto dating expert Christine Hart believes texting is made for women because they want to connect.
"Being able to be in a little more contact with the guy that we're dating through texting is great," said Hart, who has been in the dating business for more than 12 years.
She believes it's a win-win situation, because no matter how busy a person is, they can probably find the time to squeeze in a text.
"It takes two seconds to send a quick text saying 'it's going to be nutty at work today but thinking of you and can't wait until Friday."
That's the type of communication that helps build relationships, she said.
But using a cellphone as a crutch won't help in the dating world, she cautioned. There are certain situations that call for face-to-face interaction, like a breakup.
Although some might be tempted to send a breakup text, Hart said that's bad dating etiquette.
"Sometimes it's better to call and leave a message or use old-fashioned face-to-face communication instead of sending a text or Facebook message," she said, adding that ultimately, it's important to remember that technology is a tool.
"Hiding behind technology takes away what we all want, which is human connection."Suggest a correction