I kept hearing the name being thrown around like the latest craze. Tweets, Facebook posts, the girls in Girls, giggling nymphs at parties, Chuckit chuckers at the dog park, runners at Runyon Canyon, hipster staff at Trader Joe’s – everywhere whispered this mysterious “Tinder”. I first had contact with the newest and coolest dating app on my birthday late last year. One of my girlfriends held an audience of us gathered around her iphone as she demonstrated her new found fling. (With the effortless swipe to the left or to the right, you either yay or nay your prospective suitor, almost entirely on the grounds of his or her pics.) We were all in relationships and so looked on at the app as if observing a fleeting social experiment and encouraged our single friend to “hang in there”. (Needless to say, she has since had a “match” (when you and someone else both “like” one another) with a guy who lives a minute away from her, in the same neighbourhood, and 2 months later they’re going strong.)
I guess with the ever galloping information technology revolution, the subsequent and rapid evolution in industrialization, the world-wide social network orgy and our general shift from real-world to online living, online dating is all the go.
Confession: After years being one of those online dating cynics, I couldn’t take it any longer. More friends of mine were talking about Tinder than they were Mylie Cyrus’ vulva, and quite frankly I was damn curious to see what kind of talent was out there. Finally I crossed the line. Only – and don’t get mad – I did it as an experiment, under a false name and biog (although mine was more like a catch-phrase about “hoodies”) and my Tinder-ing lasted for one hot night only. Well, lukewarm is perhaps more accurate. Because I have a boyfriend, my participation was for research purposes only. Also, I decided not to tell my BF until after the fact in order to keep the cyber fire alive – this was serious research.
My observations: Like most internet delights, Tinder is salaciously addictive. I found myself sneaking another peak (and then another and another) in the car on the way to pick up Mexican for dinner, on the couch mid movie, in bed just before lights out… You just never know who may appear in your next swipe… On the other hand, the process was unnervingly clinical – like when a director might scroll through hundreds of anonymous head-shots of prospective actors on a casting website, on first glance he can already begin the process of elimination.
To overcome the “looks” hump (although Brett in the pink onesie and baby bonnet was quite the show-stopper), I began to focus more on the captions most people had provided below their profile pic: “Stanford. I hope you’re not looking for a partner in crime”, “Globe trotter, lion heart, Heterochromatic”, “6’3”, when slouching”, “I like Salmon. And girls”, “Up for anything”, “For more fun facts, swipe to the right but only if you’re cool, down to earth, interesting, fun and drama free (each of which describes me)”, “I do not “FAIL” I am just experiencing life to the fullest. All I have to do is learn and adjust… :P”, “Silent warrior who loves to smile”, “5’7” – probably not gonna work if you’re 6’2” ;-)”.
I remember when online dating websites like RSVP.com and OkCupid.com first entered popular awareness. Back then, if you asked someone where they’d met their significant other and the real answer was – online, they’d undoubtedly freeze, turn beet red and with their tail between their legs, mumble something that resembled “internet”. I guess, back then, the unspoken assumption was that you’d have to be pretty desperate to resort to the internet to get a date; that internet dating was for those un-cool types who failed at “picking up” in the real world.
Well, shame no more.
According to Match.com more first dates are born from an online introduction than as a result of any of the more traditional methods. My ex-boyfriend lived in Brooklyn with two room-mates who were both in long-standing relationships that had come about through OkCupid.com. And if we’re really gonna get into the nitty-gritty of things, it was through Twitter that I tracked down that very Brooklyn BF to ask him on a date. (In our instance, however, we had met once before through work, but it was on a social networking site that I was able to track him down again and get jiggy.) Today there’s little difference between an RSVP profile and having a Facebook account.
However, I became convinced that Tinder was rigged when all 8 of the guys I “liked” were “matches” (AKA – they liked me too before knowing that I was about to like them – what are the chances?? I guess that pic of me in the pink mini skirt worked a treat!) Then, only 1 of them followed through with a “message”- which is surely the point to it all – to get chatting… Perhaps my “hoodie” catch-phrase was the deal-breaker, or maybe chivalry is indeed dead… Or maybe that was my karma for falsely parading about in a mini skirt on a serious dating forum.