This was the beginning of a short, unexpected journey through the realm of online dating.
I’d seen the strange name sprinkled throughout the random girly magazines my roommates read, usually speaking about how great it was or how addicting.
I’d never really considered online dating; for me, it felt somewhat sketchy and kind of desperate. I am completely and utterly happy being single. As mean as it sounds, I love being accountable for no one’s feelings but my own, as well as being able to work as late as I need to without having to worry about someone waiting at home. I hate texting. I’m not too great at being vulnerable. And a boyfriend feels like an obstacle to conquer rather than a partner.
So, when I was assigned the story to roam Tinder and see what I thought, I thought I’d absolutely hate it.
For a little background, according to Tech Crunch online, Tinder began in spring 2012 by three University of Southern California grads. It exploded across the market and soon expanded onto Android formats. Now, it’s internationally known as the app that transformed a generation’s view on dating.
How it works: when you download the application, it connects it to your Facebook. It doesn’t post to Facebook, but does connect your friends and interests to your profile. You set up a profile using images pulled from Facebook and a short biography.
Within the discover range, which can be anywhere from one to 100 miles away, people can swipe right and show their interest, or swipe left to reject a person’s profile. When two people swipe right on each other, it makes a match. From there, the two can message or exchange numbers.
So, with a little disgust with myself, I picked my five favorite photos of myself, added a short, quirky quip about myself, and then I began to swipe.
First off, swiping is addicting. In some ways, it felt like I was at a really big buffet, choosing what I did and didn’t want in a man. Cute and has a dog? Swipe right. Has nothing but guns and dead fish in his pictures? Swipe left. Is it Bruce Wayne? Oh, you know I swiped right. (True story. I matched with Batman.)
Swiping was fun, especially when my roommates got involved. We’d cluster around my phone, giggling and chatting about each of the profiles in turn. For once, internet dating felt normal and, dare I say it, cool.
While I’m on the topic, there are some awesome profiles and some that are just plain boring. I scrolled through literally hundreds of pictures of guys with dead fish proudly displayed in their hands, or some assortment of bleeding dead animal. Was I supposed to be impressed by the size of their fish? Were they trying to make some sort of unconscious comparison to something else?
Lucy Ridge, a former Tinder user and senior interdisciplinary studies major, said this about what she hated about a profile:
“My least favorite thing was when guys would only post pictures with more than one person. How am I supposed to tell if you’re the hot one or the ugly (one) when the same four people are in your pictures?”
Lauren Thompson, a senior hotel, restaurant and tourism management major, said she looked for profiles with people who had similar interests. “I looked for a funny description and pictures of guys doing outdoorsy things or playing with animals,” she said.
After the initial swiping spree, I sat back and waited for messages. I matched with four different people in a week. After a few days of waiting, I took the initiative and tried to start a conversation. No dice.
I wouldn’t say I was crushed, but I was disappointed. Even though I’m not huge on dating, I guess I was hoping that Tinder would change my mind and maybe help me find a method of dating that I could fit into my busy schedule.
While Tinder might not have worked for me, for some others it has been a pretty successful tool in their dating lives. Ridge said she had several successful dates on Tinder and even found the right one.
“I am currently dating a wonderful guy I met on Tinder,” she said.
“We’ve been dating almost three months and honestly, I’m still surprised I found him. We’ve talked about it and realized that without Tinder we probably never would have met, and I’m definitely glad I was on Tinder.”
Tinder doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with more singles registering every day all around the world. Currently Forbes said there are over 1.2 billion Tinder profiles, and that over 15 million matches are made per day.
Maybe one day, I’ll be lucky enough to find the right guy. However, I have a feeling that I won’t meet him through Tinder.