By Adrian Danganan
For the last two weeks, I was a part of the Tinder generation.
I’ve never really felt the need to download the app. Granted, you would think that someone at the ripe age of 22 would consider dating and finding “the one” as one of his or her main concerns. For me, I’m in no rush. I’m sort of the old-fashioned type. I’ve always envisioned storybook moments like candidly locking eyes with the girl of my dreams across a coffeehouse. You know, something totally cliched that only a Nicholas Sparks enthusiast would marvel at. Finding “the one” by swiping right on my iPhone isn’t my cup of tea. Ideally, anyways.
But the hype behind it has always intrigued me. Members of this generation are all about having opportunities conveniently presented to them on a silver platter. Tinder created this newfound “yay” or “nay” dating scene catered to convenience. My friends and family seem to enjoy it, and a part of me felt a little pressured to dip my feet in the water. My main intention wasn’t to find someone to date or, God forbid, hook up with. Rather, I wanted to see what I would do in such a setting.
So, one morning, I decided to install it from the App Store. And what a ride.
I had so much to do from the get-go. I had to pick and choose decent photos of myself (many of which involved having to upload new photos on Facebook), think of an insightful yet witty profile, play around with my settings ” just all overwhelming things. It’s kind of like deciding what to wear on a first date.
Once everything was set, I hit the little flame icon, and my two-week Tinder stint thus began. It was like a starting pistol went off. I was off to the races.
I’ll save you the trouble and reveal that I did not meet with anyone in person. (Sorry, Penthouse Forum.) But, I did learn a whole lot about this dating scene and my place in it.
For one thing, Tinder is basically the mobile version of “The Dating Game.” I’ve always seen Tinder as a game, and after two weeks of using the app, I stand by it. The only way Tinder users (or players, I suppose) can really “win” is if both parties can come to an agreement and find each other attractive. The cycle repeats. It’s “The Dating Game” of this generation. All that’s missing is Jim Lange.
Not only that, but judging people based on a few pictures is not my forte. It’s such a hypocritical thing to say in this day and age since the idea of first impressions isn’t totally new. But first impressions restricted to around four or five photos just isn’t organic to me. (I’m sorry, Sean Rad. Don’t be brutal.) It’s entirely superficial and totally lackluster, but I went with it for the sake of this experiment.
User biographies were a saving grace however. Perhaps I’m a sucker for a witty biography, but those that presented a one-liner that made me chuckle in a public setting got an automatic right-swipe from me. Photos can only carry so much substance.
Another thing I noticed was that despite my disinterest, Tinder sure is addicting. After downloading the app on my iPhone and setting up my profile, I found myself on Tinder for nearly two hours before I put my phone down. Tinder is seriously addicting. It became a daily ritual. Each session would be around 10 minutes, and I would be completely absorbed. I found myself opening up Tinder whenever I was bored or in a new city. It wasn’t long until I found myself swiping away publicly and shamelessly.
I’m also too damn picky. If I had to throw around a number, I’d say I swiped right after every 30 left-swipes. Using Tinder made me question my overall picking process. Are my standards too high? If they are, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Whom exactly am I looking for anyway?
Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good thing to be a little choosy in the dating world. However, that’s a sin on Tinder. It narrows down the possibility of being matched with someone. It does make the reward all the more better, though.
However, Tinder added on to my insecurity. Matches were sparse within the two weeks I used Tinder, and it only made me more self-conscious. I dreaded opening the app and finding no new matches. It would force me to question myself on a technical and personal level. Could it be my photos? Or is it my bio? Is my age range too low? Should I change the radius? How do I get people to like me? Am I ugly? Am I not approachable? It’s not wrong to second-guess yourself in general, but this app didn’t help. I ended up changing my bio everyday just to see if it would make a difference.
There’s a lot of theories out there about how men are more liberal with swiping than women, and I don’t doubt them. I’ve seen a lot of firsthand accounts that support these theories. But reading such theories doesn’t help the insecure.
However, when I did make a match, it made me feel good. I have no shame: I matched with only four girls on Tinder ” two of whom I knew and were begged in person to swipe right on my profile just for the hell of it. In those times I did make a match, I felt great about myself. It’s basically a confidence boost; someone attractive thought you were attractive, and in this culture, that’s just dandy.
I came to the conclusion that the name of the game is to hook up, and it’s changing the dynamic of dating as we know it. Throughout this whole article, I made it seem like the whole point of Tinder is for people to date. No sense in sugarcoating it: Tinder is more so for hooking up than it is for dating. The Tinder war stories I’ve personally heard almost always end in sex (sort of as a final battle cry), and such accounts are becoming a dime a dozen.
It does make me question the future of dating as well as my journey of finding “the one.” Are my expectations of meeting someone at a coffeehouse now too far-fetched? I hope not. But it seems like Tinder is currently taking the helm when it comes to the dating world. Almost everyone I know has a Tinder profile. Long gone are the days of intimacy. It’s all about casual sex right now.
In short, I deleted my profile and uninstalled the app from my phone. I’d be lying if I said that was the last time I’d dabble in such waters, but it’s best I stay on land for now.
Courtesy of Tinder
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