”I just keep meeting asshole after asshole man, what’s wrong with me?” “Absolutely nothing, that’s just Tinder” I say, comforting my friend. Her plight is universally felt by many of my twenty-something year old mates. You get to an age where you have partied, made mistakes and by all accounts, sown your wild oats. You don’t want marriage and a white picket fence just yet but you could be forgiven for seeking something a bit more meaningful than what today’s dating scene has to offer.
The initial trepidation that first accompanied the phenomenon of Tinder and online dating no longer exists in 2017. When dating apps first came to precedence most users would thoroughly deny meeting online. Encounters of this nature smacked of clandestine conversations in online chat rooms between people who couldn’t get lucky meeting anyone organically. Flash forward a few years and everyone has a tinder tale to tell.
This ubiquitous app, available at your fingertips has become the modus operandi for initiating modern day romantic encounters and it does so in the most basic way possible. Swipe right for a hottie and left for a nottie. You make your decision within seconds basing it solely on whether someone is attractive or not. More discerning members of the species may swipe through the available photos of potential matches in order to gather a more rounded view of say, Edward, 28 from Brighton who clearly loves a good topless selfie and once petted a koala in Aus. Nice. More often than not Ed and the gang will end up in the left pile of could-have-beens.
This leads us to question whether an app asking us to decide if we are attracted to someone within seconds is creating a society incapable of forging normal relationships. People treat each other disparagingly online because they can. This false world allows us to employ a system where we can dispose of someone instantly if we do not like the look of them. In a real social setting we can’t just swipe right if we like someone nor can we push them to the left if they do not meet our standards, so why is it okay to execute this behaviour online? Tinder allows us to pick and choose in a way that gives us the immediacy that underpins our generation. However this does not transition so well between the cyber-world and every day life.
Online encounters has never been my thing A) because the romantic in me always wanted ‘the story’- the spiel you tell people when smugly talking about how you met Mr Right and B) I too associate it with socially inept keyboard warriors who struggle to get some. However, when you find yourself in a new country, finally recovered from a tumultuous relationship, curious and ready to find something again, pressing the download button seems pretty innocent. A year on and two tinder experiences later all I can say is I was unlucky. It resulted in a stalker, a brush with a severe personality disorder and a new found cynicism that inevitably dictates my current and future romantic endeavours.
Tinder can be whatever you want it to be but I would strongly suggest avoiding it if you enjoy meeting mature, well-adjusted men who have their shit together. If you want casual sex and instant validation it’s the business. I’m 28 so maybe I’m a little too old. Although classed as a millennial I think my generation were the last crew to have avoided the complete obsession with social media and to some degree we have escaped the seduction of likes and the allure of instant gratification.
In her latest offering Tinderella UOB student Charlie Melrose looks at Tinder as the ultimate faux fairytale: ”I think the video will show Tinderella coming out on top. See Tinderella isn’t a dig on anyone. It’s like kind of laughing at myself, and the whole 21st Century dating scene.” This song makes a very important point about modern dating and what we have become accustomed to. As a whole we are much more liberal then our parents’ generation, we don’t need permission to experience as many people as we desire. ”Tinderella trying on humans like I try on clothes, but nothing seems to fit.” This line is a nod to our laissez-faire society where casual hook-ups are pretty standard and yet like Tinderella, often we can’t shake the fairy-tale notion that eventually we will find that fit; our counterpoint in another, Mr Right: our smug story.
Tinder may be a necessary piece in the precarious dating jigsaw. Dating, sex and hook-ups are part of the journey. If nothing else they teach us what we don’t want. Great loves don’t come our way day every day but desperately boyfriend hunting with a list of necessary qualities will not get us anywhere either. The age old adage tells us we need to meet several frogs before we find our prince. I for one dispel this myth. Love is not a life-defining fairy-tale to be chased. I believe we should swipe a little less and invest a little more in life offline.