Online dating – isn’t it fun? In our fast paced busy lives isn’t it wonderful to be supplied with apps left, right and centre? On which we can swipe left, right and left again without missing a step on the way to a nine o’clock lecture?
Since the birth of Tinder six years ago the dating game for the average human being has changed dramatically. No longer are we required to fill in an entire profile stating our interests, hobbies and, God forbid, what we are actually looking for from a prospective partner. These days we throw a few photos of ourselves accompanied by a quirky little bio and bam, we begin our swiping. Left and right, we hypnotise ourselves into making immediate judgements about people based entirely on their appearance. We desensitise ourselves from making deep connections with our matches because, if this one doesn’t seem interesting, then the next is only a swipe away.
To avoid sounding like a bitter old spinster, I readily admit that apps such as Tinder can be brilliant and can work out for a lot of people. Admittedly I have found myself succumbing to the app on several occasions, only to delete it again post-haste. A few of my own friends have found happiness through the app and are in healthy and stable relationships. But for the majority of people, a Tinder success story seems to be that of a modern-day miracle.
So, what is it about the app that makes it so popular for us blossoming millennials?
If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s the ego boost isn’t it? There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gaining new matches, watching them roll in and wondering how you’re ever going to keep up with all the sheer amount of messages that are surely to follow. And so you wait. And you swipe. And the bank of potential suitors grow. And you wait a bit more. And then after a few hours, days or weeks of this waiting, your phone sings that wee song and you look down and oh yes, there it is your first message that asks, ‘on a scale of one to human centipede how close can I get to that ass?’.
Hmm. Not exactly what you were hoping for was it? Tinder, it seems, has shown its true colours. And yes, it may be argued that this isn’t Tinder, it is the people of Tinder who deliver these disgusting (albeit amusing) messages. But are these messages not perhaps a demonstrative symptom of the wider Tinder culture?
When taken into perspective, it’s a dating site that forces its users into the age-old, shallow notion of physical beauty and attraction. Even its classification as a dating site seems problematic. It is a site that offers immediate gratification, both through the ego-boost it can provide and also for those looking for a quick hook-up. I can’t even count the number of lurid messages that my friends and I have recited to each other, with tears of both laughter and despair, as we compare who received the most revolting conversation starters.
But crass messages are not the only pitfall for the hopeful Tinder dater. As we swipe the many virtual profiles, we are not only saying no or yes to the faces on front of us. We are collecting matches to quickly fill a gap if the first one doesn’t work out. Each person becomes disposable because, inevitably, there is a better one just a swipe away. The danger of this does not lie within our virtual swiping. It’s when this mentality filters into the real dating world. It has become a scarily frequent occurrence to be ditched unceremoniously as a result of a sparkly new match that has popped up because, just like those faces, you too have become disposable. Suddenly that instant ego boost doesn’t really feel so good anymore.
However, it does ultimately come down to what you are looking for when you embark on the Tinder adventure. For brief flirtations and cheeky chats, you can never go wrong. And for those looking for love it can also hold the answer. But this latter quest for many of my friends and I is one that is being put on pause within the great “Tindersphere”.