Online dating has been a part of social culture for quite some time now. Myself, I got into it a little bit late because I was in a committed relationship when it started to take off and I stayed in that relationship up until 2003. However after it ended I joined the other 20-somethings and soon discovered forums like Lavalife, Plentyoffish, and Match.com. More recently I decided to join Tinder after a young co-worker told me, to my disbelief, what it was all allegedly about.
My initial reaction to her description was that it was too good to be true. A site where you judge someone physically and hooked up with people that liked you too seemed all too easy. However, I gave it a shot with intentions of keeping my 38-year old expectations realistic in consideration of my flabby tummy.
But, now that I have some experience with Tinder, I stand by my original presumption – it was and is too good to be true. While that conclusion left me feeling a little disillusioned I’m usually pretty empathetic in life so I tried to take a different point of view on the app. After further thought it’s my opinion that Tinder is a great place for women to go to get revenge on the male online daters out there after what could arguably be seen as nearly two decades of lies, deceits, and distortions on their parts.
For those that are not familiar with Tinder but that have a general familiarity with modern dating, the former is set apart from other forms of online dating in a couple simple ways. Firstly, Tinder users do not really use a website but instead they use an ‘app’ and that makes it cellular-centric. Secondly, photos of users are far more central to the user’s profile than other online dating approaches. There is no catchy headline with Tinder, there’s no crunched numbers telling you that you are compatible with someone, and there’s no personality assessment.
Tinder is totally shallow and I’m fine with that. It can take years to find someone to marry and people need shallow sex in the mean time, right?
With Tinder you get a user’s first name, age, and a photo. You either swipe that photo to the left to garbage it or you swipe right if you like it. The swiping is done anonymously for the most part but when you both right-swipe one another then the proverbial cat gets let out of the bag for each person.
In short order, each user receives a message indicating that you have selected one another in a Darwinian sense. Banter and common interests may then come into play but Tinder’s reputation is that it is more of an app for ‘hooking-up’ (ie. casual sex without the commitment).
If what I learned in Anthropology 101 back at the University of Alberta is true, then men would like this app more than women. I do not think such an assertion is sexist as long as it is understood that it is not a sweeping assertion: there are exceptions for either sex.
But, on average, men’s instincts are to spread their seeds while women are more selective. If I recall from somewhere or other, this has something to do with how quickly the two can reproduce: a woman takes nine months to fulfill her role while a man needs far less time and could impregnate multiple women in the same day. I guess the issue of reproduction is in the background at all times for us when it comes to sex, even when the foreground is thinking about something far less serious.
But I don’t mean to digress into theories I barely remember. Instead I’ll ask to what extent is Tinder actually an app for hooking-up?
From a heterosexual male perspective, the answer is the same as always: to the extent that a male is able to find a willing female. Those females are definitely out there but Tinder is probably almost as full of women looking for Mr. Right, as opposed to Mr. Right-Now, as any other forum for online dating. While that might understandably frustrate some lustful Tinder-men, in my opinion, it means that online dating has come full circle and back into balance.
In the beginning, a lot of men lied in their online profiles. They seemed to be interested in pursuing relationships, chatted up the lie, and then tried to score with another user under the auspices that it was part of relationship building. But emails from the swooning woman who thought she had a new boyfriend soon followed and went unanswered.
Now Tinder comes along, an app that men are attracted to for the promise of finding ‘hook-ups’ without the lying and guilty conscience, and the site is chocked full of women who are beautiful. The catch is after you swipe one to the right and get lucky enough to get a right-swipe in return you go to read their profiles.
There you will read something to the effect of one of the following statements a fair percentage of the time:
(1) I’m looking for a boyfriend.
(2) Must like my kids.
(3) Must like my dog.
(4) Not into random hook-ups.
(5) Not into hooking up at all.
(6) I’d love to get to know you better.
(7) Not looking to @%$^.
What the right-swipe giveth, the profile taketh away.
Of course there are women that do use Tinder in the spirit and intent that men want it used but there are plenty that aren’t as well. While I can see why the latter might frustrate men I think those men could be honest with themselves.
Did you ever, including in online dating, lead a woman to believe that you were interested in her socially when you were only physically interested? If you answer “yes” to yourself then I think there’s some justice in you seeing a pretty woman that matches your type on Tinder, one that you want to hook-up with as the app implicitly promises, only to find out that she’s looking for a boyfriend that likes her kids and dog and that she doesn’t want to $%^& without commitment.
It may sound misanthropic but well – that’s me: over the long run men and women deserve each other. There are unfair battles along the way but overall a cosmic balance exists.
Men that have probably mis-used other online dating forums to score with wannabe-brides have met women that don’t want to hook-up despite the fact that they are using the app meant to facilitate exactly that – and only that.
It’s clear that Tinder, as a hook-up app, misses the mark but maybe they could tweek things just a bit to solve their problem to a degree. It needs to be redundant and make “what you are looking for” a searchable criteria.
But then, in my opinion, that modification would probably just lead to some women stating that they are looking for hook-ups just to get their faces into search results before stating the opposite in chat or in their profiles. After all, that’s basically what the “I’m on Tinder but not into hooking up” contingent do as soon as they join the site. Yet without that contingent how many woman users would there be?
The original intent of the app has largely lost to the human nature of the users which only makes sense. Sexual selection processes can’t be avoided because they are bigger than Tinder. My guess is that the app, from a male’s point of view, only works for the genius-men, the rich, the very good-looking, or men that use it for the precise reason it wasn’t designed for (ie. finding a soulmate).
For those men that are outside of these groups the sad commentary is that the fundamentals of scoring from online dating likely remains the same. Play the entire field to get feedback from the slim percentage that likes you and then re-pick from them. What I mean is that you should indiscriminately right-swipe a thousand women to find the eight that right-swiped you and then, of those eight, pick the two best ones.
That was always the game but at least with Tinder there’s mitigating circumstances to manage the guilt. Just as it’s not honest to join Match.com when you are looking for a one-night stand it’s not totally honest to join an app meant for facilitating hook-ups when you know second base, or even first base, is only going to happen after dinner with one another’s parents.