A generation of young people has grown up accustomed to using smartphone apps for pretty much everything, including dating. But maybe it’s just as fun, awkward, nerve-wracking and occasionally wonderful as it was before? And if it doesn’t work out, the options for the next date are almost limitless.

“I’m a little nervous,” says Whitney as she battles against the icy Manhattan wind. It’s Friday night and she’s on her way to a date with a guy she’s never met before. They matched on the dating app Tinder a few days ago and, after promising witty banter, agreed to take things offline.

To be honest, I’m a bit nervous for Whitney too. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with her over the past week and found myself warming to her openness and infectious enthusiasm for life. Just for a second, I feel what I think Whitney must be feeling: that excitement of meeting someone for the first time, all jumbled up with vulnerability and the nagging worry you’ve got something stuck in your teeth. I really want it to go OK.

Also, this is her second first date of the week, and the first one didn’t go well.

For starters, the guy she was meeting deleted his profile on the OKCupid app where she’d found him. So she was worried she wouldn’t actually recognise him once she got to the bar – she’s in contact with so many men on different dating apps it’s not always easy to remember who’s who.