So… Tinder. The free app that lets you anonymously ‘like’ people based purely on their photos, and then ‘matches’ you if you both like each other. Online dating made incredibly simple. No cringe-worthy Match.com profiles here, no description of personality, no ‘this is what I’m looking for’. The only question that needs to be asked is ‘do I think this person is hot?’
I’ll admit, when I first heard of the thing, I was very sceptical. Surely it’s just a different version of Facebook stalking? Or just allows guys to flick through literally thousands of girls’ photos and make snap-shot decisions on whether they’re fit or not? Well, both of these aspects are true (for both sexes), but what I hadn’t banked on was the ego boost or entertainment factor that Tinder can provide.
Having been unceremoniously dumped for no apparent reason, I was in need of a bit of cheering up, and friends (both male and female) recommended Tinder – not as a way of finding a new boyfriend, but just as a way of taking my mind off being miserable. A little flirt, a little fun… where’s the harm. So, moderately tipsy on a Tuesday night, I found myself downloading the app and scrolling through endless photos of guys to be found within a 5-mile radius. This is London, and the app connects to Facebook, so it’s literally a bottomless pit of potential.
Several things became immediately apparent:
- Men who post ‘mirror selfies’ are an absolute no
- Those who are wearing sunglasses in every photo: again an absolute no (there has to be a reason why they won’t show all of their face)
- The guys who only post photos where they’re in a large group so you can’t be 100% sure which one he is: same story
- In general, there seems to be a rotation of the same 15 or so male names across London. Tom, James, Ben, Dave, Will, Rich etc. etc. Where’s the variety?!
- A lot of guys are seriously lacking in creativity when it comes to profile pictures
Not having ticked the ‘Interested In Girls’ box, I’m not sure what the female version of all of this is, but apparently the fairer sex is just as bad when it comes to awkward mirror selfies and the ‘less is more’ approach to clothing. (Ok so my profile picture is me in a bikini, somebody shoot me…)
Moving on to the next stage in the process, where ‘matches’ have begun to pop up, is where things begin to get a bit more interesting. This is where the ego boost comes in. Look, a hot guy finds me attractive too! Maybe I’m not completely undesirable… The range of opening lines is really quite impressive. So far I’ve received messages along the lines of ‘Great rack’, ‘Come round my place this evening?’ and ‘Tip top tits’ (I think the aforementioned bikini shot might have something to do with this). At the other end of the scale, there are the slightly more creative ones that ignore the bikini and focus on jokes, skiing banter or not sitting on chairs properly (all related to the non-bikini photos I have on my profile). Needless to say, the latter category is what grabs my attention a little more.
Now I’m well aware of the fact that most people are on Tinder for some light-hearted fun and a few easy hookups. For my part, I’m certainly not looking for anything serious (look how well that turned out last time…). But there is a huge difference between looking for your soulmate and being prepared to show up to the house of someone you’ve never met for a night of no-strings-attached nakedness. After all, I ain’t no ho. Stories of girls who message guys with phrases such as ‘what’s your address I’ll come over in an hour’ and ‘want to give it to me now big boy?’ simply aren’t doing the rest of us who aren’t prepared to instantly drop our knickers any favours. You can at least pretend to have an interest in what the other person does for work, what they do for fun etc, and shockingly enough you can actually have some fairly decent banter over instant messaging. Now call me crazy, but surely this is a better way of piquing someone’s interest rather than unsolicited trouser shots via WhatsApp?
Moving onto Stage Three: the Tinder Date. Public area, generally daylight (no excuse really, it’s summer!), and ideally a back-up plan to leave early if it all goes really wrong. Now so far I’ve been on four TDs, three of them good, one truly awful. The first three were all normal attractive guys, not axe murderers, all with decent conversation. It also helps that usually by this point you’ve exchanged enough messages to know what the other person does professionally, which friends you have in common on Facebook (Tinder helps you out there), and if they’ve done anything interesting recently, so more than enough conversation starters offered up on a plate! However, there will be various factors that you can’t be sure of until the TD actually happens. Someone might have great banter in written form, but be really quite dull in person. The guy might have somehow managed to look better in pictures than in the flesh. And then there’s the height issue, which for me is a total deal-breaker. This is NOT something you can get away with lying about. The aforementioned awful date was a culprit of all three crimes. Cue a fake phone call to my ‘locked out housemate who is simply desperate to get inside as she’s diabetic and needs her insulin’. RUN AWAY!!
Overall, as far as Tinder is concerned, I’d have to say I’m a surprised fan. One bad date out of four really isn’t bad going, and it’s certainly dragged me out of my self-pitying post-dumped ditch. There’s a certain liberating factor to it as well: so long as you don’t have any mutual friends and you never actually meet, how are they ever going to find out you’re not French/a quantitative analyst/Australian/really rich? You can be as flirty/weird/boring/confident as you like. There’s no pressure to go on a real date, and if they start getting pushy you can just block them. Simples. It also opens you up to a whole range of people you’d never otherwise encounter from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions. Architects, engineers, management consultants, civil servants, traders, bartenders, the list goes on. For someone like me who is genuinely rubbish when it comes to being chatted up in a bar, Tinder is a goldmine.
This is first time I’ve done what’s I call ‘proactive dating’, and so far I’m having a lot of fun (all with my clothes staying on, in case you were wondering). Where will it all lead? Who knows. For now I’m happy to just roll with it, and avoid the men whose creativity is summed up by an opening gambit of ‘nice pair’.
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