“Ur hot. HMU? ;)”
Ah, modern romance.
If there’s one thing that being in this generation has taught me, it’s that love can now be boiled down to dick pics and suggestive emojis. Gone are the days of courtship, chivalry, and the exchange of marriage for farmland. I’m just kidding; love is still alive and well, and it’s not a crime to indulge in the occasional, um, exchange of other goods. In a time of free expression and late night Ubers, there’s only one app shining bright on everyone’s phone: Tinder. It’s the home of the brave, the single, and the horny. At least, that was my initial impression of Tinder.
I’ll admit that I’ve always been a skeptic of the “dating” app. Despite my sorority sisters’ protests that it’s “not that bad,” I’ve always avoided the minefield that was Tinder. When it comes to love, I still believe in the whole notion of passing each other on the streets, catching eye contact, and magically falling for each other over the course of quirky dates. Tinder was everything I despised.
Still, I realized that I can’t hate on something that I’ve never experienced before. When I flew out to Los Angeles for winter break, I realized that I finally had a chance to go to the metaphorical ball. Would I meet the love of my life? Would I get catfished and finally shine on reality television? Would I magically match with Zac Efron?
On Friday, January 8th, I tucked myself in the comfort of my heated blankets and settled in for a night of intense Tinder-ing. Within the first 20 minutes, I had matched with 17 people (I only swiped right on boys with dogs because, hello, standards) and had gotten nine messages. Only four of them bordered on disturbing. Maybe there’s hope for humanity yet.
Suitor #6: “Hey! So you’re a Tri Delta. How do you like being in a sorority?” (Very polite.)
Suitor #12: “Guess you’re not in Kansas anymore.” (Grr.)
Suitor #13: “So what brings you to Tinder?” (TBH, I have no idea.)
I went on to ignore every stranger danger rule to exist and conversed with all of these men, whose occupations ranged from actor to writer to student to barista. And they were cute.
To my surprise, they were normal. Suitor #12’s favorite movie was Ferris Bueller (Like mine! Love is real!). Suitor #15 has never been to In-N-Out (Okay, I’m not entirely sure that he’s a real Californian). Somewhere mid conversation, I was forced to admit that behind the criticism, these are very real people who are all on Tinder for different reasons. I sheepishly admitted to him that I was only on Tinder as an experiment and, if I’m being honest, a joke. He was surprisingly chill with it, noting that Tinder can be a “hot mess” and he just liked to talk to people, so why not Tinder?
Why not Tinder?
These are brave souls fighting through the sea of assholes and perverts. They’re not letting the possibility of kidnappings, STD’s, and other mind numbing scenarios scare them off the scene. If Taylor Swift can bounce back from dating a Jonas Brother, why can’t people find true love on Tinder? Among every 30 user using the app for an easy booty call, there is one shining user looking for his Tinderella. And I think that’s fucking beautiful.
Finally, the clock struck 3am and I closed the app with a lighter heart and less judgment.
The experience was enlightening and ultimately made me a better person than any actual date. I deleted Tinder with a smile on my face and a renewed faith that if people can find love on Tinder, I can most definitely pass all of my classes this semester. Anything can happen, because we live in a world of strange, strange possibilities.
And who knows?
Maybe my Prince Charming, aka Suitor #13, will show up on my doorsteps with Chipotle in hand for his one night swipe.