What I learned from my week-long addiction to Tinder
A couple months ago I was out with my friends at a bar for Taco Tuesday. More often than not we find ourselves getting into debates, or as some of my friends like to call them, lively discussions. The topics range from feminism, language dialects, and their dislike of Snapchat. This particular night, however, we got on the topic of Tinder. This is not the first time this particular topic came up and I quickly became the nuisance of the group who went on “Tinder Rants,” arguing about my hatred toward online dating. After a few of my guy friends were talking about women they met on Tinder it became apparent that my views on dating and hookup culture were different. My initial argument against Tinder is that if you are looking to hook up with someone for the weekend, go to a bar. Whatever happened to walking up to the bar, turning to the person next to you and starting a conversation while you both wait for the bartender to pour your drinks?
I’ve heard that Tinder acts as an easy platform to find immediate hookups. I’ve also heard people claim that they have found successful, loving relationships on Tinder. I think that is great and I do not doubt that. But is it so wrong of me to still believe that I will meet my future partner at a dog park, a brewery, the farmer’s market, or while reading food labels next to each other at the grocery store? Or am I simply being naive and ignorant by living in a fantasy?
My doubts about online dating, Tinder, and my friend’s persistence that Tinder wasn’t as evil as I was making it out to be, inspired me to try it out for a week. Reluctant at first, I finally got up the nerve to download the free app on my iPhone. Within seconds of opening Tinder, I was already overwhelmed. I was immediately prompted to choose 5 pictures from my Facebook to make public to potential matches. I spent almost half an hour flipping through pictures on Facebook trying to find the best ones to represent me.
After finally finding my pictures and deciding which one would be my cover photo, I then had to write my Tinder profile description. After swiping through a few profiles, I realized that people put a lot of thought into these descriptions. Some were incredibly witty, others were bland and gave basic facts, several were straight to the point. As a writer, I didn’t think it would be too hard to find something to write about myself and make it sound good. In reality, it turned out to be one of the hardest things I have ever written because of the 400 character limit. I settled for something I hoped was witty and simple:
You can find me at breweries, baseball games, and planning my midlife crisis move to Italy.I hate all things domestic but will definitely drink wine while I watch you cook 😉 Goal in life: Own a tiny house in Canada. “Live simply so others can simply live.”
My profile was officially complete and it was time to start swiping for matches. I have never felt so judgmental in my entire life. In less than a one second glance, I could determine if I was interested or not. Snap judgements aside, I was completely giddy when I got my first match. I felt my self-esteem skyrocket and my adrenaline rush. I even thought to myself, this is actually kind of fun! This started the five-day swiping escapade. In all of my free time, and time I should have been studying for finals and writing papers, I found myself on Tinder swiping for matches. On one dreaded Sunday I spent almost 90 minutes on Tinder. It became and addiction.
After 17 matches, one of the men finally messaged me with kind of a cheesy pickup line. When I messaged him back, he ignored me. Turns out, it was a lot harder to actually meet up and make a plan with someone on Tinder than it was to walk into a bar and talk to a stranger. It was also a lot easier to spend ALL my time swiping left and right on my phone. The act of Tindering itself was addictive, the dating part was non-existent.
Then the moment that I had been waiting for and dreading at the same time finally happened; I found my real-life crush on Tinder. After flipping through his profile I was left with a major decision to make. Either I could swipe left and just forget about it or I could swipe right. If we matched, this could finally be the opportunity to start something. If we didn’t match, this could be the nail on the coffin of my hopes and dreams. I decided to just be done with Tinder for the night and I could decide later. This proved to be a bad decision because the next time I opened the app, he had disappeared and a new picture of a new man appeared. Lucky for me, he appeared later after another 45 minutes of swiping. I chickened out yet again and let him disappear in the Tinder-verse.
Experimenting with Tinder for a week taught me a lot. For one, this was not a good experiment to try during the last two weeks before I graduate college; it is truly an addiction. I also discovered that it is not all evil. A lot of men I came across were truly looking for people to connect with; their profiles said things like “just moved to the area looking for people to go to the bars with,” or “Looking to make some friends in this foreign city.” As someone who is moving to a brand new city in 3 months, I realized that Tinder might not be the worst place to connect with people—if you know how to play the Tinder field. I apparently don’t. After a week as a Tinder addict, I realized it takes a lot of patience and hours of staring at your phone just to make a real connection. At least, that was true in my case. So if you would like to hang with me at a brewery come find me there because you won’t find me on Tinder.