I will probably be one of the only people who will ever openly admit that I unashamedly used* Tinder.
And you will probably not be the first person to judge me for it.
Please excuse me while I step up onto my dating soapbox for a moment. The stigma attached to Tinder is something I want to openly address to everyone who gives that ridiculously judgmental, mouth agape, unbelieving stare to their friends when they admit to downloading the app. The disbelief that anyone half-way normal would use a dating app is that incredulous to you? Did you know that serial killers have a disproportionately low purchase rate for smart phones? And yes, I may have completely made that up, just like most people make up the fact that only closet shut-ins and sex addicts use Tinder. Which they do, but it’s not like everyone on there is a psychopath. But here are a couple weirdos I’ve come across in my travels around the Tindernation:
Meeting on Tinder: You download a ‘dating’ app that links to your Facebook profile. You list photos of yourself that display your attractiveness/fun demeanor and have a small blurb about you. You begin pursuing profiles of people (after selecting the age range and physical distance you are willing to go). You swipe right or left to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ based on a completely superficial profile based on looks and common interests/friends pulled from Facebook, and if both parties say ‘Yes’ then ‘It’s a Match!” and you can start talking to them. Now take a gander at what has been said:
(What I’m displaying here is probably not going to help the case I’m arguing, but honestly some of what you see on the app is too funny not to share sometimes)
The main point that I want to make to everyone is that using Tinder is absolutely no different than meeting someone in a bar. Yet for some reason, meeting someone in a bar and going out with them is a completely acceptable social norm and meeting someone from Tinder is chalked up to be the equivalent of signing your own Missing Persons report.
Meeting in a bar: Initially, you scope out the bar seeking someone who is relatively the same age as you that you are relatively attracted to physically. Then you tepidly test the waters with causal eye glances to let them know you are interested and to see if it reciprocated. When mutual interest is confirmed, you start a conversation – attempting to find common ground with intelligence, humor, interests, or a shared affinity for the same beer. Depending on how your evening is going, you may only spend 10 minutes talking to a person who previously was considered a stranger and give them your phone number. In which case, you accept a date with them on the pretense of a drunken interaction, trusting that because you met them in public in the first place, they couldn’t possibly murder you.
I’m sorry, but that’s pretty much the same thing. Don’t worry though, I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll meet the perfect Tinderfella. I am aware there are varying factors that you can’t see on the internet like height, vocal pitch, and a genuine spark that can’t be manufactured over clever messages – but my core argument is the damn stigma attached to this app is overwhelming and I think it’s unwarranted. If I want to sit from the comfort of my home in my pajamas and search for the potential next love of my life during commercial breaks instead of going out to do it – I don’t want to be judged for it.
In a growing and changing generation, we are altering the way we form relationships both romantically and platonically. My friends can get to know me by quickly checking my latest Instagram posts, we can review our love interests on Lulu, and we can literally watch a newborn family member grow up on Facebook – all under the pretense that it is easier to gauge a person through a screen than in person. It’s no surprise to me that a generation of boys who grew up spending their free time playing Call of Duty with their friends using a headset, instead of sitting side by side, would choose to once again place a screen between themselves and a potential conquest.
As friend requests become more frequent than handshakes, we’re trading the Classifieds for Craigslist, and exchanging newspaper articles for 120 character Twitter posts, or worse, Buzzfeed GIF lists. Can it be so hard to believe that dating is the next form of traditional communication that we’ll bypass?
I would argue that it’s already happening.
*Upon completing this post, I promptly deleted Tinder in favor a traditional dating methods, like stalking cute men in coffee shops longingly.