I’ll be honest, you guys. I debated for a long time whether I should write this post. because (a) My family, friends, and coworkers read my blog… and I’m not sure how eager they are to hear of my online dating exploits, and (b) “Online dating exploits” would be one thing, Tinder is another.
Up until a few weeks ago, all I knew about Tinder was that it was a dating app… and, more specifically, that it didn’t exactly have a reputation for creating deep, successful, long-standing relationships. It was suggested to me as a way to meet people, now that I’m a single gal living alone in a big city.
But being on Tinder is vaguely akin to reading 50 Shades of Grey or watching Magic Mike – everybody knows that everybody’s read/seen it, but there’s still something of an unspoken understanding that no one openly talks about it. You don’t do it in public. And if it does ever come up in conversation, it’s selective and deliberate.
I even heard that here in Portland, “We met at New Seasons” (a local organic grocery store) has become code for “We met on Tinder.”
Which is why, when I joined Tinder, I told myself I was joining more as a social experiment than anything. I think I even used the words “it’ll make a good blog post” at some point in my internal reasoning.
First of all, here’s how Tinder works:
You fill out a comprehensive questionnaire detailing your values, passions, and personality type… You’re given the opportunity to profile what you’re looking for in a partner, likes, dislikes, and…
You just swipe. Right if you like them, left if you don’t. And what information are you given to make this decision?
Family history, religious affiliation, political views, life aspirations… picture, name, age.
So in other words, being on Tinder is kinda like saying, “Here, lemme just sit down and pass superficial judgement on complete strangers for a few minutes. NBD.”
To be fair, you are also given a 500-character description, and you get to see whether you have any shared interests or friends on Facebook.
…That is, if you take the extra step of clicking on their profile.
But as one of my more Tinder-savvy friends pointed out, there’s a reason that requires an extra click. The idea, she tells me, is to just make a split-second gut decision. When I explained to her that I open every single profile, read every single description, and scroll through all of the available photos, she said, “God, that sounds exhausting.”
And she was right. Tinder is exhausting, in so many new and interesting ways.
My two least favorite features of the app:
- When you swipe left, it stamps the picture “NOPE.” Which would not have been my specific inflection, okay? I’m not a jerk. It should be something more like “I’m sorry, you seem great, but I’m just not that into weight lifting…”
- When you’re notified of a match, you are prompted to (a) tell your friends (which seems odd) or (b) “keep playing.” Like the whole thing is a game. Which I guess it kinda is.
And it’s exhausting, most of all, because it’s starting to make me lose faith in the male race. Or just humanity in general. To save time, I created a few ground rules for myself of what would qualify someone as an automatic no:
- Mirror selfies (I know, I’m sorry. You probably just don’t have any pictures of yourself so you’re improvising. But I just can’t get over seeing a toilet and towel rack over your shoulder. I can’t.)
- Spelling errors (I try not to be a nazi over this, but if you have 500 characters to display yourself to the world and you do so with a typo, we probably shouldn’t hang out.)
- The words “no drama.” (You boys are JUST as dramatic, don’t be insulting.)
- Pictures of you lifting one corner of your shirt to show your abs.
- Actually, come to think of it, any picture that only exists to show your muscles. (Are there really girls out there who swoon over this?)
This was an ACTUAL guy’s ACTUAL profile picture. I’m not making this up.
After awhile I started noticing trends – like “looking for a down to earth girl.” What does that even mean?
Like, what would the opposite of a down to earth girl be? An up-in-the-sky girl? Cuz that’s me.
Also, “adventure” is a word that comes up a lot. As in, “I love adventure” or “Let’s go on an adventure.” I’m not sure what to make of this, but for me it conjures images of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
Not every guy’s profile falls into these categories, though. I’ve come across a few good ones…
Some guys feel honesty is the best policy…
Some use it as an opportunity to express their poetic side…
This guy, who used his four pictures to make a zoom-in meme:
And then there’s this old gem:
It’s also exhausting just based on the sheer volume of possible interactions. No joke, here was my very first hour on the app:
The number of human beings on this app is staggering. And since I’m not exactly the best follow-up person in the world, having to keep up with dozens of conversations at once isn’t exactly my strong suit.
Luckily, some guys make it really easy by weeding themselves out for me:
Okay, that one was kinda funny.
I could list more, there are a lot of creep-os on Tinder, but I’m already toeing the line on appropriateness here so I’ll stop. And anyway, not all conversations are bad…
Like the guy I had a serious, very technical, in-depth conversation with about how to rate potential romantic partners…
Or this guy, who used my only weakness against me…
All in all, the whole thing has been super bizarre. I have not met the guy version of Tinderella, I have no success stories to report, and I still feel squeamish even posting this because Tinder is so taboo. In fact, now that I’ve got my blog post written I might just go ahead and delete it.
…Maybe just after a couple more swipes.