What’s the deal with Tinder?
Please don’t tell me we’ve matched
Now that love letters and face to face flirting have been replaced with digitized dating, I’m amongst the norm of millennials getting away with avoiding the embarrassment of being turned down to our face. Social media is my new identity – I only allow people to see what I choose them to see. I decided to go on dates with people I met on Tinder, thinking I would find someone online that loves the same things I do, has great chat and face made by Gods – I definitely won’t find him in real life, he’s far too busy bathing in that magical love pool of his.
None of my dates went too well. The first guy was ten years older than me, which I thought could be exciting. He wined and dined me, and we ended up kissing at my bus stop before he completely ghosted me and never spoke to me again. The second guy still lived with his ex-girlfriend of five years, and they took it in turns sleeping in their bed and on their sofa. The third, I’m pretty sure was gay. But they were great experiences and certainly gave me a confidence boost.
Of course, all dates CAN be embarrassing, but at least meeting someone online means you know they fancy you in advance. You don’t need to ask if they think you’re fit – you already know they do ‘cause they swiped right and they wouldn’t have done that for just anyone, right?
The usual rules of dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr are to judge the person in question, basing their looks on their least attractive picture, so you can see straight through the filters (usually before deciding straight away that I don’t like his t-shirt with a naked woman on and immediately swiping left). No matter how confident you usually are, first dates are always an anxious experience, but at least apps allow you to speak to your date online before meeting up with them – I’ve read his really original bio (he likes coffee, hates Mondays) and has really great banter – “If anyone asks, we met in a bar”… But hey, at least he has a picture with his dog which definitely means he’s gentle.
I guess there’s both positives and negatives of dating apps. On one hand it’s a great way for people to connect all over the world – one friend described it as a “useful platform to find other singles who wanted to meet up when travelling” – even find a way to talk to my hot neighbour I usually shy away from every morning. It works out for some people. I know people that met their partners on dating apps; my uncle met his wife online and they’ve been together for 12 years, and my sister is engaged to a man she met through a dating app – “I spoke to a guy online for two weeks before meeting him and it was the least awkward date I’ve ever had. Over a year later and we’re still together”. But more commonly, I have friends who have had cringe-worthy, disappointing experiences with people they had high hopes for. Apps have made people consumable. In the five minutes that you spend on an app on the bus to university, you can shallowly scroll past hundreds of singletons, judging them completely by their one chosen picture and making an instant decision of whether they are your life long partner based solely on looks.
To explore the millennials dating habits, I did a survey of 50 anonymous 18-25 year olds. 65% of people had met up with someone they met online. 58% of people had ended up having sex with their date, despite 57% never getting into a relationship with them. Comments on the survey varied from “great for people who experience anxiety when dating’ and ‘a complete playground for fuckboys”. So I turned to Facebook – I posted a status asking for honest stories of online dating experiences. Surprisingly, a lot of people contacted me with their stories of modern day dating and were happy to share. This is what online love looks like:
Abbie, 20, Birmingham:
“I’ve used dating apps all over the world and I find it really interesting to see people in different cities and countries. I once met a guy in America as I wanted someone to show me the area. We met up twice and went to some really cool places. Turns out he was weird and wouldn’t stop sending me dick pics and videos of him wanking in a bath so I blocked him. I never saw him again.”
Melissa, 22, Leicester:
“I have used Tinder to meet up with guys all over the UK and abroad but with no luck. One time, I met a guy called “Jamie” who claimed online to be 6ft3, 23 years old and English. He turned out to be 5ft3, 19 and Turkish. Jamie wasn’t even his real name, which I found out when I saw the huge tattoo on his neck of his real name, Ozii. I went on the date anyway. Another time, I agreed to meet a guy called Kristian, who had been pestering me to go for a drink for a while. I got a message from his friend via Facebook who told me Kristian’s phone had died, but gave me his address and asked me to pick him up. I got to Kristian’s house, knocked on the door and introduced myself to his Mother who answered. Kristian looked horrified to see me – turns out he hadn’t known his friend had messaged me and it was all a prank. Worst moment of my life.”
Oscar, 21, Basingstoke
“I just swipe right to everyone and then decide whether they’re fit later on. It’s just a bit of fun to me, a lot of girls message me first saying they love my pussy (‘cause of my picture). I have been on one Tinder date though, we went for dinner but I got drunk and spent £300. She was really nice though. I saw her three times after that but nothing really came of it, I would definitely use dating apps again.”
Loukas, 21, Leicester
“Tinder is definitely bittersweet – It gives the most unsociable of people a chance to meet people, but it can be degrading. I have been on a few dates, but they didn’t really lead anywhere. I met one woman within two hours of speaking to her. One experience was with a 30-year-old woman I was seeing for a while, until I noticed a child’s car seat in her car. After confronting her, it turned out she had a husband and a few kids – I was her bit on the side! I don’t regret it, but I definitely think that Tinder is the wrong place to look for a relationship. But if it gets you out the house and some casual sex, it can’t be all that bad can it?”
Jamie, 23, Manchester:
“I think dating apps are very useful to gay people because you know you aren’t asking out a straight guy, although I think there’s a bit of shame still attached to meeting someone online. I was on Grindr for about 2/3 months after a pretty serious relationship ended. I went on a few dates, but nothing serious. I was super paranoid that they wouldn’t be who they said they were, so I made sure we went somewhere busy like a bar/pub. But I met my boyfriend online so it worked for me! We were talking online for about a week. He was in halls just down the road from me and he joked that it would be convenient if I went round to his… so immediately I thought he was a weird one. We met accidentally in a club and recognised each other. We’ve been together for four years now.”
Chelsea, 22, Leicester
“I think Tinder dates are a short-term, temporary thing for most people. I’ve met guys from dating apps for various reasons – I once got free Leicester City tickets for my Dad and another time got a guy with a PHD to proof read my assignments. An experience that wasn’t so great was when I slept in a hotel with a superstar DJ I met online and I really liked him. The next week I saw him tagged in a post with another girl doing the exact same thing – he had a different girl in each city! I also dated another celeb I met on Tinder, which also ended badly – now I know why they say you should never meet your heroes”.
SO, despite the setbacks, I do believe that dating apps can work for some people. I can’t deny thinking ‘he’s nice, but he lives two buses away’ on occasions, so maybe changing my search radius on Tinder will be a step in the right direction for me. I’m hoping to continue my quest to my find a soulmate, but maybe I’ll just try and look as good in real life as I do in my profile pictures. Seeing friends in relationships with people they met online is inspiring, so I guess I’ll keep on swiping.