Tinder Tender: Does the quick-choice dating app pay off?

mik salac, date night, Tinder

Problems of a 21st century girl

02|2014

Everyone seems to be raving about Tinder. Another whenever-you-want-it app, only this time it is purely in the name of meeting strangers and hoping to impress them with your best profile picture (thank you Instagram, for your flattering filters).

Tinder works almost like a night out. Initially you judge and are judged, based mainly on appearance and if you both like the look of one another, you can start talking. In some ways, it actually works better than meeting someone on a night out. Instead of the Sambuca shots thinking for you and deciding if it is a good idea to jump in a taxi and spend the night someplace else, you both have only the art of conversation to maintain each other’s interest – just the way it’s supposed to be!

When I got talking to one of my matches (all in the name of research, of course), I even got asked to go on a date with him. Although I wasn’t interested in the end, Tinder did prove itself to be a good way of meeting people who live in the same area and even as a way of potentially making new friends. Not to mention that it provides a small glimmer of hope that at least some attractive, interesting people exist out there. Unlike the majority of wannabe players that you see on a night out – guys that move from girl to girl hoping that one of them might find the ‘slime-ball’ style attractive.

However, how serious can this game-like application be? Can one really get anything from it, or is it just a way for people to have a laugh and see if there is anyone fit in their neighbourhood? Although it all seems to be fairly harmless, all likes and dislikes being anonymous and contact only available once you’ve got a match, I did struggle to imagine a match made on Tinder actually working out.

Speaking from a 21-year-old’s perspective, contemporary young girls do not hope for a fairytale romance, but we are looking for a bit more than ‘yeah, I’d probably do her, I’ll give her a tick.’

It’s nice to think that, particularly at a younger age, dating comes about organically and that we girls don’t need to resort to putting our pictures on a site in the hope that someone will see and like us. These things are just supposed to run their course and you might even be surprised by who actually takes your interest. This is something which can’t happen if you just go through a selection of people and base your decision entirely on their looks or style, even if we have all done this at some point or other in the past.

Apps like Tinder merely create the opportunity for people to set high standards of what they would want a match to look like, rather than focus on what is important. You can’t judge a person just by their looks and think that you’re going to be a match made in heaven.

My boyfriends in the past have always been people that others have found rather good looking; however, they always became even more attractive to me when I was really serious about them and knew more about their personalities. Looks will not find a person that makes you laugh, or that you share interests with, or that you know you can trust. You have to get to know someone for who they are before you can ever really be attracted to them. Tinder seems to limit rather than enhance your chances of getting to know people this way.

Therefore, it is my opinion that Tinder users must make a choice. They should either not take it seriously, and understand that their matches will probably consist of people they find good looking but with whom they will most likely have very little in common. They might fancy a bit of fun, but not more. Or they should take it seriously and be realistic. Even if someone isn’t quite 6 foot 1, or wearing the latest Topman cardigan, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t possibly make someone happy.

I am not trying to dissuade anyone from using it, as it can just be a bit of fun, but Tinder certainly is not necessary for us younger girls just yet. There is plenty of time, and years of deciding what it is you want and like in other people, before you should ever feel the need to sign up to a dating site, especially one where you get judged on your appearance by people that you may never even look twice at in the street.

For any girls that really do want to meet someone, or maybe just even have some dates without it going any further, the best way to do that is to do what you enjoy. Get involved with hobbies or go to places and events that interest you, and you will come across far more people that suit you than you would rating people on a phone app who live in a ten mile radius from your house. That way you can also enjoy yourself and do what makes you feel good. Skip the waiting around and hoping to hear that bleep notifying you of a new match.

As for me, I am very much enjoying some time on my own. As a 21st century girl, one really needs to remember that being single in your 20s can be one of the most fun, free experiences of your life. In the meantime, before you may meet someone who is worthy of you, there is always Beyoncé. And Vodka.

Photograph by mik salac, via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Cate Triner

Cate is an English student at Loughborough University and takes creative writing classes in her free time. Her social comment column, Problems of a 21st Century Girl, appears on The Re|view since December 2013.

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