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Love Me, Tinder!

October 26, 2014

My friend Amy wouldn’t shut up about Tinder. “You’d love it,” she said. “It’s so entraining and there’s lots of foreign guys on it.”

I wasn’t buying it. Liz and I looked at the pictures on Amy’s phone. It was not encouraging.

I was still hanging onto some weird sense of loyalty to Z. I was still in love with him. I needed to get over him. I needed a good rebound. So, I did some research. I read articles. I instilled myself with that false sense of security that comes from approaching something like a dating app through the intellectual lens of reading about it in the Huffington Post or the New York Times.

I was in a rare good mood one night. The correctly balanced chemicals in my brain encouraged me to spontaneously download the app.

I chose my weird profile pic, a rare selfie taken after last year’s HOLI. Color is all over my face. My camera is in the frame. It’s the only picture I have that I think I look pretty in. For my tinder tagline I put, “This is weird.”

I clicked on the little flame icon. A plethora of profiles popped up. It was like someone spilled a million grains of rice on the floor and I had to pick up each one just in case one of them was a diamond.

I don’t swipe. That’s too scary for me. I use the X or heart buttons. The photos were hillarious. Men in hats. Men in sunglasses. Men with fish. Lots of fish. Men with dead things. Men on boats. Men in groups with other men. Men with women. A lot of party and drinking photos. And I’m-in-my-car photos. What’s with all the in-the-car photos?

It’s all facebook-connected so the pictures are taken from facebook profile pics and albums, which are not necessarily the best photos for seeing what someone actually looks like. But you can control which photos show up. Which makes me wonder why men are choosing these weird pictures. Though I have to admit, it took me several days to realize I could look at more than one photo.

A weird pattern of choice-making began to emerge, like a complicated and unpredictable flow chart that leads to yes or no, mostly to no. There was the initial picture. The name and age. The distance. The tag line, which are varied and amusing. Then there are the other pictures. The app shows you if you have mutual friends or mutual “likes” on your facebook pages.

I was excited when one guy had the site “Hyperbole and a Half,” as an interest, a rare connection. He was cute, too. And married looking for a threesome. No.

The taglines are both preachy and overly positive. “Tired of the drama.” No. “No bullshit.” No. “No texting.” No. “Just living the life.” No. “Loving life!” No.

Apparently everyone loves to travel. I don’t know many people who have actually traveled outside the U.S. but according to tinder, all men within a 50 mile radius of me are active “travelers.”

After a while the process seemed not much different then meeting a stranger in public. You look at someone and make an initial yes or no judgement. There has to be a mutual “yes,” for an interaction to occur. Someone has to start the conversation. Then there’s tone of voice, choice of words, body language and attitude, each of which can trigger a “no.” If you’re lucky it goes deeper and you find out shared values, marital status, political or religious views. All along a tiered system of deal breaker decisions is being made within minutes, hours or over several dates. If you’re lucky enough to get to the dating part, which I have not been.

The first time I wanted to click yes, I was scared. But I did and within 24 hours I had several matches. A couple of them started texting me. There’s an art to getting-to-know-you texting. It can go nowhere fast or it can turn into a conversation and even a meeting.

I had a few false starts.
“Nice picture. Are you a photographer?”
“Yes. I am.” Nothing.

The tinder picture lists your name and age, “John, 38.” One guy attempted conversation with, “Hi. My name is John.” Yeah, I know your name is John. I didn’t reply.

But one guy keep it going. Finally, he asked if I was divorced and if I had children. “Yes. Two grown children.”
He was separtated.
Hoist the first red flag and sing the anthem of warning signs. Yeah, I’m not interested in dating someone who is still married. Nonetheless, I kept the chit chat up. He asked me what I did for fun. I asked him. “Duck hunting is my only hobby. It’s really my passion.”
Toot the horn and call for our second red flag. All salute.
I don’t have anything against duck hunting per se, but the way he said it was his passion, concerned me. Duck hunting equals guns, camoflague, possibly even crocks. Combine that with the still married thing and I was done.

I think I actually saw him at the festival that weekend. He seemed to look at me with recognition then pretend he didn’t know me. Fair enough.

Another guy kept up the conversation after a day’s delay and wanted to meet me. I couldn’t tell from his pictures if I was really attracted to him or not. It would depend on the real life version. He was age appropraite, older than me, even. He wanted to meet for coffee but I was dead tired after dancing at the festival and I needed to catch up on some freelance work. I offered the old stand-by, drinks at Pamplona’s. He didn’t reply.

My brother and I both got jobs on Tuesday so we met for drinks anyway. Liz and Amy were there too. I was surprised when I saw “the match” walk in and sit at the bar. We were in the middle of a tinder discussion. I told the others one of my matches had just walked in. “Shit.” I said. “I have to go introduce myself, don’t I?” They agreed.

I went over and said hi. He said he was glad I showed up, that something had gone wrong with his tinder app and his messages weren’t getting through so he decided to show up just in case. Nice. Two points for follow through and courtesy.

I brought him over to my motley crew and he blended in seemlessly. We continued our tinder app discussion and laughed. He was cute and funny and smart. Guatemalan. People started to leave and we were left alone at the bar. I told him about my attempt to travel and gave him the link to the blog. He mentioned something about his sons going to church. I asked if he was religious and admitted that I was not.

“I’m actually an atheist.” I admitted. He seemed intrigued.
“I’d like to hear that story,” he said. “You want another drink?”
I had already had one too many glasses of wine and it was getting late so I declined. He was adorably worried about my riding my bike home and asked me to text him when I was safe. Ok. Two more points.

I didn’t hear from him again, so I decided to be brave and offer drinks again (not having learned my lesson from the “I like you.” incident). He said he was out of town. Haven’t heard from him since.

The other night Amy, Liz and I were continuing our tinder evaluation and discussing men in general. They said I should change my tagline to “I spent 30 hours in an Israeli detention center.” So I did, right then. A day later, a new match called me “fucking cute,” and was intrigued by the tagline. But not that interested because he gave up after a few exchanges.

The process is very addictive. I find myself checking and rechecking to see if there are new matches, only to quickly eliminate them. Once I was pleasantly surprised when a really hot, dark-haired, olive skinned, somewhat age appropriate guy popped up. I was walking in the park and I accidentally hit the X button. I started screaming, “Nnnooooooo. I was going to marry him!” Tinder needs an undo button!

To my surprise and dismay, the app has done nothing to discourage my propensity for brown men. I will click heart on anyone with a foreign name, dark hair or non-vanilla skin. And I’ve grown quite sick of the stereotypical white, southern dude that pops up over and over again. Big, puffy face, trimmed goatee that is swallowed by a double chin. Remnants of red from time in the sun without proper protection. The highly reflective, aqua-blue, weird -shaped sunglasses, usually held in place with a foam band around their necks. The hats. So many hats. And the boats and dead animals and the fish. My god, the fish. Once in a while, someone has a cute tagline and gets a heart despite their looks. But there are not many diamonds in the pile of rice.

I only have about 10 matches. Amy has 40. I think it’s my age. I guess there’s not too many people my age who want to date and who are on tinder. Even with only 10 matches, I don’t understand why they don’t communicate with me or stop communicating. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of the app? Maybe they have dozens of pretty women to chose from. I don’t know.

I took a screen shot of one of my early matches. I have a crush on him. He’s in Baton Rouge, too young and beautiful. Indian, I think. I tried to strike up a conversation but it didn’t go anywhere.

I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play this particular game. It’s sometimes fun, always addictive but like so much about single life, getting a little sad.

Sometimes I think I should sent all of them the same message: “Pamplona: Wed. 8:30pm. Be there.” And just see who shows up.

I’ll probably just delete the app after a few more weeks. Before I do, I’ll tell Arvind that I think he’s beautiful and that I would’ve slept with him if only he had asked me out. And then I will fade off into the void of singledom.

And then I’ll try

Or not.

Oh God.


From → Rantings

  1. This had me cracking up. EXACTLY some of my thoughts about “Tinder” “Window Shop dating for generation Y” ….dear god what we’ve succumb to?

    My favorite: “Hi my name is John.” “Yeah, I know your name is John. I didn’t respond.” lol…

    I’m pretty sure 60% of the people on there just want to confirm their own attractiveness level.

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