Try a Little Tinder-ness: Outsider Observations on the Dating App

(I recommend that you listen to Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding while reading this post)

I met my husband Chris just over four years ago and we married this year, Chris at 32 and myself at 25, but many of our friends have profiles on Tinder.

“Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.” – Aziz Ansari (TIME’s adapted excerpt from Modern Romance)

modern-romance-aziz-ansara-book-cover
Cover of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. I also recommend his show Master of None on Netflix.
Tinder is a popular online-dating app that was released a month or two after I started dating Chris so neither of us have used it personally. Not only has our relationship lasted for over four years, but somehow so has this application! I find Tinder fascinating which is why I was excited when one of my best friends downloaded it recently.

HOW IT WORKS (for those out of the loop like me):
You use your finger to swipe through the very concise online dating profiles that present a small number of photos and even less information about the person. If you swipe the profile to the left it means you’re not interested, a swipe to the right means that you are and you hope that they swipe right on you to make a match (if you swipe up it is a ‘super like’).

Our friends range from approximately 23-43 and come from a variety of walks of life. I have heard more about the Tinder experience from my male friends than the females and they never have rave reviews. I often hear that “Tinder is great for women, but terrible for men” or “It’s so much harder for guys on Tinder.” Generally, in terms of connecting through conversation, getting more matches, and having more options, I think that this is true (but this doesn’t account for all the creeps that need to be subtracted from the average woman’s message box).

My male friends consistently say that the worst part of Tinder is that girls who seem interested drop off the face of the Earth without being honest about why. My female friend who has had the recent success with Tinder said that most guys she talked to were genuinely surprised to get her responses because “most girls don’t talk on Tinder.” I have heard that some users create Tinder profiles to get more Instagram likes or even just to boost their own egos. Natalie Wolchover states what we all know, that the physical distance makes it easy to be mean online or at least easier to avoid doing the right thing.  

meet-the-patels.jpg
Promotional poster for Meet the Patels.
After watching Meet the Patels on Netflix about six months ago (I loved this movie), I connected the similarities between arranged marriage practices and online dating. They are pretty similar with the questionnaires, profiles, and filtering systems (Aziz Ansari also makes this connection in his book Modern Romance that I hope to read soon) – they mainly differ in the sense that one has an actual paper trail instead of a digital footprint. It’s the technological aspect that allows Tinder user experiences to remain detached and dehumanized, two elements that make it easy to ignore messages or avoid telling the truth about how you feel.

Kate Hakala describes why over half of “location-based dating app users” are men. She compares Tinder to gaming apps, this assessment is based on the finger swiping – Hakala claims that men are just trying to beat the odds.

right swipe meme.jpg

In 2014, Nick Bilton, of the New York Times, wrote that “men are nearly three times as likely to swipe ‘like’ (in 46 percent of cases) than women (14 percent).” My male friends and I have joked about how often times guys (including them) seem to swipe right for ‘like’ without even looking at the profiles that scroll past. They’re more likely to get matches this way – they can sort through their options later if they swipe ‘like’ now.

Whether they are swiping right like mad, as if they’re hitting that N-64 A-button as fast as they can, or they are legitimately more open minded, I wonder, do these swipe-happy males care more about quantity of matches over quality?

But what if the goal of the game is less about your quick finish time and more about your high score?

sonic-gif

My female friends who use Tinder have both good and bad things to say. For example, my aforementioned friend who recently downloaded the app changed her main profile photo after being less than impressed with her options on the first day – BAM matches were flying in. Once she had chosen a sultrier photo she was quickly matching with guys that she deemed as more attractive, however, more matches also meant that the amount of ‘creeps’ increased as well – by this I mean guys who open with “What’s your favourite position?” instead of a polite hello.

I was blown away by how fast the list of cute guys she matched with grew. It’s been a little more than a week and it actually seems like she found a keeper already! If she has, of course, in due time she will remove her profile from Tinder and there will be one less female user for the statistics.

Now this is the story of an attractive girl in her early twenties, but my friends in their 30s haven’t had the same luck.

A couple of years ago, I went to my friend Lori Anne’s house for a girl’s night. Lori Anne and I both had serious boyfriends, but her three single friends were talking about how hard finding the right guy was. I don’t remember what I had said, but I clearly recall one girl biting my head off. She told me that my opinion didn’t count because I was in my twenties and that I had no idea how hard it was for older women. I laughed at how rash of a statement it was, but I find myself wondering how true it might be.

My early-twenty-something friend found that the number of guys interested was overwhelming for her, whereas my friends in their thirties finds that options are sparse. This leads to questions such as is Tinder ageist? Is the offline dating game ageist too? What other prejudices does the app enable?

I think Tinder sounds like fun, but everyone should be aware of abuse within the system including fake profiles for advertisements, general misuse, and catfishing.

I know people who have married after meeting on online dating sites like Plenty of Fish, but do you know any long-term commitment success stories from couples who have met on Tinder?

Let me know some of your experiences and enlighten me on the world of Tinder.

all-paws
Visit their site here.
PS – What’s way better than Tinder? The All Paws app that matches you to adoptable dogs!

 

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