I use Tinder. I’m not sure yet whether that’s cause for celebration, alarm, or somewhere in between, but there you go. For the uninitiated, Tinder is an app that shows you women (or men) in your area. If you “like” them (i.e., you think they’re attractive, because you’re given almost no other information about them aside from that), you swipe to the right. If you don’t because they’re ugly and therefore terrible human beings, you swipe to the left. If that person decides you’re attractive enough to talk to, they’ll also swipe to the right and you get a notification. And then YOU HOP ON THE INTIMACY TRAIN, NEXT STOP: FUCK STATION.*
*Results may vary.
Anyway, while on Tinder, I’ve noticed a few things that I think are worth sharing. Here are some of my findings.
1. Marilyn Monroe and “Almost Famous” are quoted entirely too much.
I get it- Marilyn Monroe is a cultural icon. Her contributions in the field of being pretty and occasionally saying interesting things are unparalleled. And “Almost Famous” is a perfectly decent, watchable movie. (Just kidding, that movie sucks except for Philip Seymour Hoffman.) But almost every other profile has some variation of “I always tell the girls, never take it seriously and you’ll always have fun, etc. etc.” and “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best,” and it’s goddamned tiresome. Not to mention it’s misquoted half the time. Also, I’m fairly certain some of these girls are just making up quotes and attributing them to Marilyn Monroe. Enough.
2. There are five types of pictures found in nearly every girl’s profile.
1) Arm awkwardly positioned on the hip. I don’t know what purpose this is supposed to serve. A word of advice: unless you’re planning on standing like you’re shooting a promo poster for a shitty CBS sitcom for the rest of your life, cut it out.
2) A picture of her and her friends in a bar somewhere. I was already operating under the assumption that you had friends, I don’t need a class photo of your posse to verify it. The worst is when the girl has similar-looking friends, because then I honestly can’t tell who’s who. DIVERSIFY, PLEASE. Throw a redhead or a black girl or a wheelchair-bound woman in the shot so I can at least narrow down the list of potential suspects.
3) Pictures of pets/nature. This isn’t your Facebook page. You get five photos maximum to give people an idea of what you look like, and you want to burn three of them on pictures of your Pekingese and a really neat flower you saw in a garden? Thanks, Ansel Adams.
4) Duck face. GET BACK ON MYSPACE WHERE YOU BELONG.
5) Bathroom selfies. Are you using a Motorola Razr? Is this 2004? Every phone has a front-facing camera on it now. Spare me the bathroom shot. (Note: 90% of the time, the phone is blocking your face. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?)
3. It’s always incredibly awkward to come across the profile of someone you actually know. I immediately get weirded out, which makes NO sense. It’s a popular app, so it stands to reason that I’d see people I know, but every time it happens, I act like I just saw them in a porn. FANCY SEEING YOU HERE! [Unzips fly]
4. People can be assholes on Tinder. One girl started a conversation with “Where do u live and what do u do” (no punctuation, because #YOLO). I told her, and she blocked me. What the fuck, lady? I guess I appreciate the directness of your questions, but you could have at least said “Sorry, I don’t think it’s a good fit” or something. Now I’m gonna stalk you out of sheer spite. Hope it was worth it.
Which brings me to my next point: why Tinder is useful. Tinder occupies the middle ground between Match/eHarmony and the terrifying cesspool of Craigslist. (Using Craigslist for dating is like using roofies to get over your shyness. Nothing good can come of it.) Whereas Match and eHarmony exist for people who are actively interested in getting to know someone on a more meaningful level and building a connection and Craigslist exists as a resource for folks in the market for a new skin suit, Tinder serves a multilayered purpose. If you want random hookups, you can do that; if you want to get to know someone and try your hand at dating them, the option is available. Not to get all in-depth and hackneyed, but it’s a good representation of our instant-gratification culture. Don’t like someone? A simple flick of your finger and they’re gone forever. Like someone but they don’t like you? Onto the next, and within 5 minutes you’ll forget what that person even looked like. Bored with someone? Just murder them and dump their corpse in a river. IT’S ALL SO SIMPLE!
Eventually, people won’t even need to worry about approaching someone in a public place and risk face-to-face rejection. Why would anybody subject themselves to public humiliation when they can try their luck with someone way out of their league in the safety and security of their own home? It is for this reason that Tinder and other websites (except, again, Craigslist) are an attractive option to some.
Conversely, however, I think there’s value in putting yourself in the vulnerable position of approaching a stranger face-to-face and saying “Hey, I thought I’d introduce myself” or “YOU’RE HAWT AND I WANNA CRUSH YOUR PUSSY DURR HURR”; even if it doesn’t go your way, you at least gain something in that failure. Because of that, I don’t think the practice of bothering women in bars (or men, I guess) will ever truly fade. In fact, I’ve often found myself wishing I had the confidence and self-assuredness to do that, but I guess I don’t. All I can do is think of the worst possible outcome and freeze up in terror before nervously pulling out my phone. “JUST CHECKING FACEBOOK AT THE BAR, GUYS- NOTHING TO SEE HERE.” So to the asshole who pesters clearly disinterested women at bars/clubs/outdoor theaters, I say this: I may not agree with your methods, but I applaud you for having the sack to take a shot.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take pictures of a sunset and find some “Anchorman” quotes for my profile.