I’m what my advertising college professor would refer to as “an early adopter.”
I tell everyone I know about taxi alternatives. I like music before it hits the radio (preferably before it ever does). I know what everyone is going to be wearing this spring (platform wedges, embellished short-sleeved sweatshirts and dresses over pants). I wore a fur vest before Macklemore made granddad sweaters cool. I don’t see myself as a trend-starter, but I do typically know what’s going to be cool before the rest of y’all are buying leopard print by the boat load from your local Forever 21.
But more than that, I like knowing news first. I like sharing new concepts and ideas and opinions. Not gossip necessarily, but more like breaking information and up-and-coming thought-starters. It comes from a place of wanting to learn as much as possible instead of a desire ‘to show’ everyone how much I know. I just have a natural curiosity that begs me to suck in the world around me.
And today, this is to your direct trend-related benefit.
Because today, as requested several times by several different parties, we are going to discuss the very trendy location-based dating ‘service’, otherwise known as…
For those of you who have been hiding under a social media rock, or live in Nowheresville, USA, or are over the age of 35, you probably have zero idea what Tinder is. And it is for your benefit above all others, I write this. I hope I make you aware of what it is, make you consider why it’s important for the future and above all.. make you decide to have an educated opinion. Because I think that’s the most important thing of all.
Oh and also, I hope I make you laugh.
Please sit back and behold…
The Top 9 things I’ve learned about
myself, men and society in general from Tinder
(aka the app we all love to hate)
Realization #9: Welcome to Tinder: Your virtual online sober dating experience.
You’re at a bar. It’s a Friday night. Hell. It’s a Tuesday afternoon. You’ve had 2, maybe 2.5 (3.75 if you’re a tank) and you see a hottie (hate this word, but it’s relevant here) across the way. Now why are they a hottie, kid? Is it because of how smart they look? Maybe they appear kind? Or really funny? Maybe it’s just because they seem to actually have their shit together.
Let’s be real here.
You go up to strangers in bars (generally) for the SOLE REASON being how attractive they look.
Thick long hair. Straight pearly teeth. Endless ocean eyes. A casual but yet, refined style. Whatever. The point is, that pick-up line you’re about to use? It comes from a shallow place within your inebriated loins and don’t you even try to pretend it’s anything else.
You’re attracted. You’re staring. You’re trying not to stare. You’re looking at your 4th drink. You’re gazing at your shoes. Annnnnd you’re going in for the kill.
Go get ’em tiger.
Now, I’m not sure how the rest of the story pans out, but if you know my philosophy on ‘bar relationships’ then you know I don’t believe in them and that they have expiration dates and blahblahblah, this isn’t about that.
Back to Tinder.
Tinder is a phone application. It’s basically flipboard for whatever gender you are attracted to within a geographical region of 50 miles (or so it says, they clearly have bugs to work out because I got a serious hunka-hunka-burning-beautiful-man a few weeks ago who tragically lived at least 250 miles away). From there, you can look at a series of up to 5 photos as well as a short bio. You can see if you have mutual friends on Facebook and/or interests (also from your Facebook page). Very simply, click the ❤ button if you like them. Click the x button to next, (X) them. AND If they also pressed the ❤ button, then SURPRISE you have a match.
Then, you can actually chat. If you didn’t get a match, tough luck champ. Better luck next time.
Do you hate me yet?
…Oh you just wait, I’m only getting started.
Realization #8 or : Am I really this much of a judgmental shallow freak?
All answers would point to yes.
Yes, yes I am.
I pass a completely superficial amount of judgement on men who I’ve clearly never met and still manage to make major assumptions about their character, personality and overall attractiveness based on nothing more than 1-5 pictures.
For instance, why do you need 3 pictures in a row of your modeling pics, dude? Here’s a little clue. EVERYONE looks good in glamour shots. Did you really never have senior pictures? You airbrush anything enough it’s going to look smooth and flawless. I don’t care what your face looks like on a filter setting that highlights your jawbone. I want to know what you look like in daylight sans studio lighting.
Furthermore, also equally unnecessary to have several shots of you checking out your own six-pack. We get it. You have abs. You love them. A lot. In fact if you could reach them with your tongue…
And it continues. Too feminine. Too manly. Why are there no close-ups? Woah, foreign. How do I pronounce your name? Zanameetala? Huh? What nationality is that? Holy bad teeth Robin, keep those stalagmites in the bat cave. You look like you’re at a rave. Is that a graphic tee? Who’s that girl with you? Next.
Seriously. My attention and interest level have the life span of flipping ad pages in a magazine. When did I become so shallow? I have more depth than this. I am a nice person! Why am I having an existential self-reflective crisis based around a smart phone app? What have you done to me Zuckerberg? How do I make this stop?
Realization #7: Oh great, yet another pristine personal PR image I have to maintain of myself.
In the very same light that my carefully manicured callous eye will superficially survey others flaws and shortcomings, I like to throw that same judgmental mentality back into my own face because well, it’s only fair. Which always brings me to the humbling reality of the question– what kind of person can I possibly convey I am in just 5 pictures?
I think this is the bigger point than some silly little dating game. We put forth the image we want to be perceived as online. We convey the persona of the person we want to be seen as. We’re as fun as this picture of us smiling. We’re as pretty as the sunset behind us. We’re as cool as the plane we got to fly last year in Japan but really it was at an indoor aviation museum in Omaha. Everyone is having more fun than you. We have the same matches because we want the same thing. Acceptance. Tinder is as Tinder does. And as Shakespeare would say, you talk a good filter my friend, but do ya got a brain behind that beautiful body?
Realization #6: But also, as it turns out I like tall(er) men.
What’s the nicest way to say, “Please tell me you aren’t a midget?”
There needs to be an update to this app to include this. Who doesn’t agree with me. Don’t even act like I’m the only one who’s thought this. I need some clarity. Tinder man height based anxiety. We can’t get drinks because I don’t know how tall you are and I’m afraid to ask because that’s rude. But is it more rude to just refuse because I think you’re a lot shorter than me? Does anyone know any rhymes that go well with the words itch, rich, stitch, ditch….
Realization #5: Two words: Man. Pinterest.
It’s hot guy roulette. Scrolling a male newsfeed.
It’s become something I do when I’m bored and I want to pass the time. Why pin recipes in traffic when I can tinder men? Cute guys in exchange for cute clothes? This seems like something I don’t need to give much thought to. Like, duh. And just like that I’m flipping through the Southern California edition of (supposedly) available men in the same fashion that I mindlessly flip through the channels on TV.
Don’t want to watch that tonight.
Been there, done that.
And though I know it’s addicting and shallow, I also can’t help but think how is it this any different from another Friday night?
At least I’m sober.
Realization #4: But why can’t we use this for friendship purposes?? (aka why does everything have to be about sex)
A few weekends back, a friend finally met a man she met on Tinder in person. I didn’t feel much like being a wing woman to his perceived uninteresting friends, so I hung back and filled my mutual guy friend in on the situation. His first reaction? Shock.
“Tinder is a getting laid application. You go on that to find people to have sex with!”
– My dear beloved/concerned 28-year-old ex-roommate Matt
I found this interesting for a couple of reasons:
- One, this was a statement made from a man who has never once used Tinder.
- Two, but I mean.. he has a point.
Which makes the case– If I’m receiving matches based entirely on what someone looks like, I wouldn’t exactly say that is a foundation for friendship–much less any kind of relationship–beyond physical attraction. And sure, I’m not matching with guys thinking, well if we meet in person we are so hooking up! But I’m also not clicking their profile thinking.. well if we meet in person this guy is going to be a good friend of mine for like forever!
Which made me think, this could.. this should.. have more depth. This shouldn’t be just about physical attraction. This could be a way to meet friends. I could get down with friend Tinder. I think anyone who has ever moved to a big city and struggled to meet people or just connect in general, could agree with me on this. In an age where we’re more connected than we’ve ever been, the world can still be a pretty lonely place.
Realization #3: But still.. we all feel a little better when we have at least one friend in common.
Then, they aren’t completely random, right? Even if it’s a guy you haven’t talked to in like 5 years who you played football with in high school. That shit is officially legit and acceptable.
It. is. on.
Realization #2: Yet somehow some people manage to fail at Tinder before even starting.
Being a douchebag.
Being a weirdo.
Being a.. (??? still wtf’ing over this)
cough cough, Haoxiang, I think you meant to facetime…
But what is the number one thing I’ve realized from Tinder?
Realization #1: Online relationships are the future whether you’re willing to admit it or not.
Despite growing popularity, current societal appearance of ‘online dating’ hasn’t changed from this initial idea of being desperate and temporary. Every guy I’ve met on Tinder, I reason with myself as the same as any bar relationship, in that it’s already destined to fail based on the superficiality in which we meet. What am I supposed to tell people? I met my boyfriend on a smart phone app? I met my husband on a dating roulette website? Um no. Can’t wait to tell our future children that one. This is temporary right? It’s just a phase. This can’t last. I can’t possibly meet a guy I really want to date and have a long-term relationship with on something so shallow and silly.
But yet, think about this. Today’s generation is online more than we aren’t. We’re glued to our mobile devices, our social networking, our online presence. We meet someone in person and what do we do? Well, I don’t know about you, but I immediately go online to find out more about them. What do they do for a living? Linked In. Are they witty? Twitter. Are they too self-indulged? That’s a lot of selfies on one Instagram page mista. Is their profile blocked? Can I see their pictures? What girls are writing on their wall? Is their musical taste decent? Spotify. Tumblr. Do they have a blog? What are their interests? Are they TOO present online? Isn’t that the same as being too available? Jesus, the list goes on and on. What’s the point of a first date? I already know more about you from a simple Google search than a couple of drinks and a tasteless appetizer could ever show me.
My point is, to use an old cliché for a new trend, is that ‘the-times-they-are-a-changing’. And as our online presence increases, so does our acceptance and tolerance for meeting others there.
Now I’m not saying Tinder is the future. I’m not saying any dating website based in such shallow and simplistic train of thought has the longevity to last as our technology and the way we perceive it continue to change.
What I am saying is that in a world where we now spend more time connected to a screen than ever before, who’s to say what is ‘normal’ in how and where relationships develop? Who’s to say Tinder isn’t just the online version of what people are programmed to do regardless?
We see. We like. We want. We take. Maybe a little archaic, but hey, that’s desire for you.
So who’s to judge what is normal anymore? Who’s to say what is trendy? Who decides if online relationships are the next thing? Who determines what makes something weird and desperate and something else socially acceptable? Who? Who makes it ok??
Well if it were up to Tinder..
I guess you do.