To be fair, the title is a little misleading, as perhaps it should read something more like, I have an issue with men. Anyway, that was a negative start to a little rant I’d like to share, which, non-surprisingly centres on technology. If you have had the chance to read the first two posts in this series, then you will recall that my first issue was with selfies, and the next with smartphones. I think we could safely say there is a running theme going on here. I digress, so now let’s explore my issue with Tinder.
I have been single for an extremely long time. I have friends who have been single for longer, but I would say half a decade is a fairly substantial amount of time.
Being single has been a choice as I have been far too busy to entertain nourishing a relationship. In fact, I have only really had one serious relationship, with a beautiful man whom I could have treated better. That lasted for three years. My life has been pretty much loveless when it comes to having a partner. Please don’t pity me, as I don’t pity myself. I am simply providing some contextualisation.
On returning from a year and a bit in the Americas, I finally gave in and got a smartphone. You’ll be pleased to know that I am not yet a zombie. I like my phone, but it doesn’t pull me out of my daily interactions, and doesn’t provide me with comfort and solace. I am not obsessed with checking it every two seconds, and will thankfully obviate my phone and hand morphing into one limb. My communication skills are in tact. Having joined the 21st century, I was then able to use a variety of apps. A few girlfriends use Tinder, so, intrigued from a writer’s perspective, I decided to join and see what happened.
A friend and I set up my profile one evening. This consisted of putting up a selection of photos in which in each one you look hot, active, fit, adventurous and fun. My friend, let’s call her Tallulah for now, gave me a few Tinder tips, such as the importance of making sure you include a body shot so men can see your figure. Frustrated at the slow connection in the bar, I decided to upload the pictures when I returned home. Tallulah said she hadn’t put any bio whatsoever on her profile, and so I did the same. It’s all about the looks people, not what you think, believe or feel.
The next day, I had a look at some of the many, many men and their dogs (literally, their dogs) on Tinder. For those that don’t know how it works, here is what happens. Once you sign into the app, it starts looking for matches nearby based on the criteria you filled in on your profile page. You then look through your options, like in a catalogue, and flick your finger casually across your screen to decline all the options. With one swipe, you have condemned them to the no pile, and a big red Nope flashes before your eyes. At first I thought this is so contemporary it is ridiculous. Click click, swipe swipe, I love you, like you, hate you all in one click. Clicking for love, swiping for disdain. Where was romance heading? Was this raw animalistic realism, where we are attracted merely by appearance? Or was this a shallow and desperate way of meeting people? Or was this simply a reflection of how uptight and inhibited our cultures are when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex, unless of course laced with alcohol? Perhaps it was just that, an honest acceptance that people are busy, they find it hard to meet people, their hands are glued to their phones constantly anyway, so let’s combine and come up with a very successful app.
Some of the men’s profiles were sweet. Tallulah had advised against going for anyone with too many photos, as it made them seem a bit full of themselves. What I found really entertaining was the selection of pictures some men had put up. There were pictures with half-lopped off faces, lots of pictures of naked torsos with bodies that looked as if they spent all their time in the gym and at home sleeping in preparation for the next gym trip. I saw lots of men with pictures of themselves and their kids, which I liked, as it was immediately honest. A common theme is pictures of men out doing things, like climbing mountains, surfing, snowboarding, DJing. Oh, and I saw a lot of pictures of men out drinking with swarms of women, which seemed to suggest that they were fun, liked to party, and ladies loved them. However, clearly the ladies just didn’t love them enough to be with them. I saw lots and lots of men and dogs and swiped fervently to say nope, in red, over and over again.
On the third day I also discovered how Tinder actually works by mistake. I accidentally swiped a yes for someone and it immediately said, “it’s a match” at which I completely freaked out. I immediately texted Tallulah, asking for advice. She told me how to block people, which gave me great satisfaction. In real life I seem to block almost every man from coming anywhere near me, so I know blocking well. I am a blocker. Thus far, finding a date was going as planned: nowhere! This accidental swipe of appreciation happened a few times, and so I continued to block away at all these men who had swiped a yes for me. That’s how it works you see. You wait until some other muppet has swiped a yes for you, and when you concur, judging them on a mere photo or two with their dog or child, you swipe yes, and off you go towards marital bliss.
On day four, after continuously seeing the red nope, I decided to take the plunge on a hot man in south London. His profile was interesting and honest. It read something like this:
I was raised in care, kicked out of school, thrown in jail and am now a professional footballer.
He didn’t exactly sound like my Mr Perfect, but definitely interesting, and physically very fine indeed. I clicked yes, and it was an immediate match. My ego inflated a little, and then went all into a flutter, as I wasn’t sure what to do. A short while later I get a message from said ex-con pro-footballer saying “Hey sexy” which immediately put me off. I can’t explain why, but it seemed crass and perhaps a little direct. Mind you, this wasn’t exactly what in the old days was called courting, this was basic, straight from the groin kinda stuff. We chatted a bit, and the punctuation snob in me recoiled a little at his appalling grammar. I’m sorry; these things bother me, full stops, spelling, and apostrophes. Anyway, I was busy that evening, so I said I’d contact him the next day. The following morning, I checked my messages, and I’d been blocked! Ouch! I obviously wasn’t as quick as he’d have liked.
On the sixth day, I swiped my appreciation for another sweet enough looking man. And yes, his dog also looked quite cute too. It was an instant match, and again, my ego expanded ever such a little. We actually chatted on and off for a day or two, until I realised that I actually detested Tinder, and perhaps men too, and so after blocking everyone, and being blocked I decided to shut down my profile. Block, block, shut down. This seems to be the story of my life when it comes to men.
I’m not quite sure what the moral of the story is to be honest. I suppose the obvious one is, if you have an issue with men, perhaps steer clear of Tinder. I am sure there are people who have fallen in love through this app, but I am not entirely convinced that a click and a swipe is going to bring me the man of my dreams. For now, I shall continue working on learning to love myself, and I figure that if am meant to meet someone, I will. One thing is for sure, if you like dogs, there are some seriously cute ones on Tinder!