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)

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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.  

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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.

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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?

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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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Our Meet-Cute and Our Partially Chaperoned First Date

(Featured image is December 2012, the first Christmas after we had met)

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Photo by Caitlin Currie.

I married my best friend August 13th 2016, but we’ve been living together for a couple of years now so the newlywed stage doesn’t feel relevant. I tend to believe that I live the life of a Rom-Com as my life is never boring and I sometimes get myself into silly situations.

 

Here is the story of how Chris and I met as well as our first date:
(Chris added his perspective and those comments are featured in bold/green)

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One of my best friends, Lori Anne and I from the wedding. Photo by Caitlin Currie.
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Lori Anne and I singing as our folk duo Darling and the Fox at our local art gallery in 2015.

Chris and I met through friends just over four years ago. I had just gotten out of a two-year relationship and went out to a local open mic that I had once frequented at a pub called The Thirsty Monk. Lori Anne told me that her friend Alex was meeting us there with his friend Tanya, and we had planned on singing that night. As soon as we had arrived and I’d been introduced to Alex and Tanya, I was asked if my friend Mike was my boyfriend (he’d come to hang out too). I told Tanya that he was not and that I’d actually just gotten out of a relationship, she immediately responded with “Good because you’re perfect for my friend Bowman!”

 

 

I hadn’t even had a conversation with this barely made acquaintance yet she thought that she knew I was perfect for some random guy who wasn’t even at the bar? I nodded my head politely and smiled, “Oh yeah?” Throughout the night she continued to rant about him, she showed me pictures from Facebook, and told me stories. She told me that he was a pilot (admittedly a very sexy career) who goes away for a month at a time, but he’d be getting home anytime now. I admit that I was listening, but not taking her too seriously as I wasn’t sure if I’d see Tanya again let alone meet the mystery man “Bowman” (almost everyone calls him Bowman, but I call him Christopher or Chris).

When the next week’s open mic night arrived, Lori Anne and I headed to the pub. Her friend Will was supposed to meet us there, but when we got to the backroom I was surprised to also see the familiar face of a stranger – the Bowman to which I had heard all about one week previous. I remember that he had a big smile when he saw me, he had obviously heard about me too.

I was intrigued by what Tanya had said about Cassy, as she had mentioned that I had to meet her.  I was happy that I went. She had a great smile and was talkative, which helped because I am a quieter person. It made for no awkward pauses.

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Chris with a penguin in Antarctica B.C. (Before Cassy).

Chris is the kind of guy who doesn’t use social media all that much and had a lot less photos online B.C. (Before Cassy), (a good 98% of the photos of me on FB are posted by Cassy and other people) this led to me seeing some distant shots of him in Antarctica wearing a large winter coat, sunglasses, and standing next to some penguins. Impressive, but not a good indicator of what he looked like. When I first saw Chris in person I remember thinking that he was so handsome and I was immediately attached to his gaze.  We didn’t leave each other’s sides much that night as he bought me drinks and I talked his ear off while getting to know him. I likely sang poorly as I was a bit tipsy, but he smiled the whole way through my songs so I felt pretty okay about things. Chris got my number and we had plans to ‘hang out’ the upcoming Monday night.

She thought she sang poorly, but I thought she sang quite well. It also helped that she was really cute. Maybe that skewed my perception of her singing, haha.


Our first date, was a memorable one.

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What I looked like at 21 in 2012 when we met.
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What Chris looked like at 27 in 2012 when we met (in Malaysia).

We met halfway between our cities to go for a walk along the shoreline and I didn’t really know what to expect. I was 21 at the time and my last boyfriend had been a year younger than me. Chris is six years older than I am and at the time, a 27-year-old man (emphasis on man) sounded refreshing. I was absolutely not looking for a boyfriend, but he had something about him that made me want to get to know him more.

We walked up and down a Lake Ontario pathway, talking and flirting, when he got an important phone call that he needed to take. He then explained to me that in the five days since we had met, he had seen a house, put an offer in, and that he was sorry, but he needed to meet his real estate agent tonight! I was so impressed – I later joked that it was a ploy to make him look good on the first date. I tagged along to meet the agent.

I swear it wasn’t a ploy to get her to like me more. I had actually felt bad about having to make this detour mid date, and was hoping that it wasn’t taking away from it too much.

It turned out that we needed to wait longer than expected on something from the homeowners so his agent took us to a nearby Tim Hortons for 40 minutes or so. We had found ourselves unintentionally on a bit of an oddly chaperoned date and Chris’ agent/friend likely felt like a third wheel.

(FUN FACT) Although I’ve been a barista twice in my lifetime, I don’t like coffee, which is why I ordered hot chocolate. To not look even more like a child on my date with an older guy, I decided against using a straw. This attempt at not seeming too young led to my clumsy demise of spilling my hot chocolate all over the crotch of my jeans (I have been known to spill hot chocolate often in my life and struggle to drink it without a straw still to this day). I was so embarrassed that this happened not only on my first date with this guy, but there was a witness – his real estate agent!

For some reason he didn’t call the date off and we went to a pool hall after leaving his real estate endeavors behind for the night. I confidently ignored my hot chocolate-stained denim and actually won the first game of pool, I am still unsure as to if he let me win or not because I have never won another game since. Even after seeing me spill on myself, how overly competitive I am, and how sore of a loser I can be, he stuck around. We parted ways without a goodnight kiss and I wondered if there would be a second date.

Certainly a memorable and unusual first date.

Fun facts:
1. I met his mom on our third date
2. I met his ex-girlfriend of six years on our third date (accident, he hadn’t run into her in 2 years) (This was definitely not part of the plan)
3. The third date was a lot to take in
4. I was just starting university when he asked me to be exclusive
5. He had to ask me to be his exclusive girlfriend about 3 times
6. My mom gave me advice: you can’t control when you meet the right person, if he’s special you’ll give it a shot
7. We dated for 4 weeks and then he was away for work for 5 weeks
8. Dating and being married to a pilot can be hard, but Chris is worth it
9. We’re best friends

Life Lesson: you never know where or when you’re going to meet the right person and if things don’t go perfectly you’re probably just living out one of the most interesting stories you’ll tell in your life!

A collection of photos of us throughout the last four years: