Imagine you’re on a first date and things are going well. Great! The next few hours will probably be just as great and who knows what the days, weeks, and months ahead even hold. The possibilities—the unknown!—are thrilling.
Now bring it back to reality, to today’s world where knowledge is instant and wasting time on the unknown is an archaic idea. Sure, your date may be going well, but you’ve got work in the morning and know better than to get lost in the moment because, hey, time’s a-ticking. That’s the world Charlie Brooker and Tim Van Patten envisioned for the fourth episode of the fourth season of Black Mirror, “Hang the DJ.” A world not-too-different from ours where a little app shows you how long you’re going to be romantic with another human based on the data it collects. Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes it’s 25 years. The goal is to sift through individuals, going from relationship to relationship until you find the one.
Since this is Black Mirror we’re talking about, Netflix went ahead and brought its dystopia to life so we, too, can find our relationship’s expiration date. It’s called COACH and, like the televised version, will “find your perfect match in 99.8 percent of cases.”
Like the fictional one, both parties have to agree to reveal their expiration date. If one party doesn’t, the expiration date drops. I happened to try it with a friend since I’m a single lady this Valentine’s Day and got 16 years, but they didn’t opt to reveal, shortening our relationship to a measly 16 minutes. Sad! But also fun.
Obviously, COACH isn’t real. It’s a decidedly less janky version of those love calculators middle schoolers use (or used to use? I did at that age…) where you input your and your crush’s names so some internet wizard can spit a compatibility number out at you. Love is a complex thing that can’t be quantified in these kinds of manners. Find joy in the unknown, but, also, don’t shy away from engaging in some innocent, Black Mirror-inspired fun. After all, everything does, indeed, happen for a reason.