I am not currently using Tinder. I have in the past though, and for a short, month-long Tinder honeymoon period, I was swiping right and left like Daniel Larusso.
However, it wasn’t long before I began to feel embarrassed and sad about the whole process, similar to how one might feel at a lunch buffet in a strip club filled with lecherous businessmen. (I’ve actually been to one in West Palm Beach...the Salisbury steak was surprisingly delectable).
For those of you that live on Mars, Tinder is an app for your smart phone whereby you create a mini profile full of pictures and information from your Facebook profile, and the opposite sex is able to scroll through the profiles accepting or rejecting the person based on their looks in the images. If you get rejected, you are none the wiser, but if someone accepts you, and you in turn accept them, you are deemed a match and can send a wry or pithy remark in hopes of piquing interest in your newfound love, or lust, interest. At this point it’s up to you how you’d like to foster the relationship. You can be casual, witty, and laid back; or aggressive, sexually suggestive, and forward. My default setting is and will always be the former. But here’s the thing, the woman on the other end is most likely receiving all manner of communication from other matches, And since they are on Tinder in the first place, chances are they’re not really all that interested in a methodical courtship. So I found that Tinder created and rewarded an aggressive and promiscuous habitat that gave me a feeling like I was on a pontoon boat on Lake Havisu, cringing at the overt, gratuitous, and slightly pathetic sexual posturing going on around me.
My absolute favorite feature on Tinder is a constant source of entertainment—the radius of how far to search for other users. You can set it to two miles or 50 miles. So one has to make an internal cost-benefit economic graph, weighing such factors as gasoline prices against the last time they got laid. I’d like to see them add a 20 foot radius, just to make it a little more personal and immediate.
The reason behind the abrupt cancelation of my account and activity on the App is simple and twofold:
1. It makes the process of “hooking up” too easy. Call me old-fashioned, but it should be a little harder as well as require a little fate and some elbow grease.
2. Now I’m mostly speaking for girls here, but isn’t Tinder seemingly a bit dangerous? If there was a Craigslist killer, what’s to prevent a Tinder killer? I take a little comfort in knowing at least a cursory background of a girl I’m talking to. There's always the potential they could be horribly twisted, filthy, and life altering (in a bad way).
As the years have passed since my high school and college days, it appears getting laid has gotten almost laughably easy. I used to have to date girls seriously for several months in high school before anything sexually significant occurred. College was a little different because you had some outliers that didn’t really give a shit about social stigma or convention, and basically had the mindset of an oversexed college guy (goodness they were wonderful). But still, the girls that you generally gravitated to socially were typically not very easy. They required commitment, finesse, and monogamy. Now, it seems the tables have turned. Everyone is oversexed, with few exceptions of the good little prudish girls. But good luck to them, because guys these days will not wait around. They don’t have to, the path of least resistance is everywhere.
It feels like it’s almost too late to turn back now, so high school and college kids are having adult relations at a higher rate than 15 years ago, but I guess that’s to be expected. Every generation is progressing, becoming more sexually liberated, and I worry where it all leads. I mean, if I had access to internet porn and social media as an adolescent, I’d probably be drooling in the corner of a mental institution in Albuquerque today.
But I feel like Tinder has raised the stakes. It’s my understanding that kids in college are leaving the bars at 2 a.m. to jump on the app, find a match, and get together for some “nice to meet you, let’s have sex” sex. It’s almost like getting a cheeseburger at the drive-through. It’s sexual fast food. I’m sorry, but if you struck out by 2 a.m., it's time to hit the showers buddy. Campuses are turning into Roman orgies because of an app.
Image from here.
And it’s not limited to college kids. I’ve got a buddy that travels a lot for work, he claims that he lands in a city, gets on Tinder, and has a date for the night that usually ends horizontally. I’m assuming he pays for dinner, so is this basically gastronomical prostitution? It’s gotten dangerously easy. What happened to meeting a friend of a friend, or sending someone a drink from across the bar? There’s no background check with Tinder, the only requirement seems to be if the interested party has genitals.
Just so I don’t sound like somebody's grandfather, I'll share a Tinder advantage that I thought was interesting. My Tinder heyday was when I was living on Hilton Head Island. As much as I love the Island, it isn’t quite the hot bed of young singles. I was on Tinder and discovering beautiful girls that lived on the Island and in nearby Bluffton that I NEVER saw out at night. I was sort of blown away by these hidden gems. Where the hell do they go to have fun? So maybe if you were new in town or in a place with limited night life, Tinder might make sense. But for a guy in downtown Charleston on Tinder trying to discover a bunch of cute girls in Goose Creek, it just seems ludicrous. If you have problems meeting people downtown, you might have some issues that require some professional therapy. Using Tinder on peninsular Charleston is like hunting with a bazooka.
Writing this makes me feel like such a loser, because I’m surely no saint, never was. But there was a natural progression from the time you were 16 till the time you were 22 that was many times slower, more awkward and clumsy, and had a sweet innocence that I honestly wouldn’t change for the world. My sense is that those days are long gone. The smart phone and internet have given us everything we need instantaneously with the press of a button and in many cases we should celebrate this great achievement, but I’m just not sure Tinder falls into this celebratory classification.