I despise dating apps, but I’m just as addicted as you are.
The more I pull away, the louder their siren song echoes, drawing me like a moth back to Tinder’s frenzied red flame. Back to the hoards of other desperate souls swimming in an ocean of duck-faced selfies and grown men posing with tigers.
It started almost two years ago. After a particularly gruesome breakup, I found myself at a bar with an old friend who promised a remedy: “Just give me your phone, you are going to win Tinder.” What did I have to lose?
Some 24 months and God knows how many inquiries from foot fetishists, fake doctors, and aspiring fishmongers later, I can safely say: you have a lot to lose. Here’s why.
You will never get along in real life
The people you meet on apps like Tinder and Hinge will almost never be compatible long-term partners for one simple reason: you are judging them with your genitals, not your brain. The dating app interface condenses your personality to a handful of photos and a witty caption, if you’re feeling ambitious. Add to that a lack of filter settings like, “Please don’t show me any born again creationists with a penchant for philately" (which I unfortunately now know means stamp collecting) and it’s a recipe for disappointment.
You are judging them with your genitals, not your brain.
Hinge at least imports your job titles from Facebook, but even that can’t prepare you for an hour across the table from a man whose meticulously crafted profile obfuscated his whiney voice, or the fact that his roommates are his parents. Just because you swiped doesn’t mean you’ll click.
They make you boring, lazy, and uncreative
Sam Biddle of Gawker wrote a story where he purported “There she is” to be the tried and true opening line to any Tinder chat—just clever enough to start a conversation, unassuming enough not to threaten.
After that story published, I received no fewer than five messages bearing the same three-word pick up line. Shockingly, a handful of identical greetings in my message center echoing someone’s ability to read internet “journalism” doesn’t exactly make me want to hop in bed with any of you.
As luck would have it, Sam Biddle and I were recently matched on Bumble and I had the chance to feed him his own medicine. “There he is.” I fired off immediately. To my surprise, he was more or less a good sport about indirectly polluting my inbox. Sam, if you’re reading, call me (maybe).
It turns out I’m a superficial, cold-hearted asshole, and you probably are too.
They force you to realize you’re a judgmental prick It turns out I’m a superficial, cold-hearted asshole, and you probably are too. I nix tons of candidates because I can’t see myself being naked in front of them. Sure, the guy with the animal shelter volunteering photo probably has a “great personality,” and maybe he could have talked me into a date if we met at a coffee shop, but would you want to spend the rest of your life explaining how you met on Tinder to your friends and family who can’t stop staring at his lazy eye? Nope. Nope nope nope...and now I feel guilty. Thanks, Tinder.
Some people have gotten pretty creative with their innuendo
I receive daily messages from people I’m confident would chop me up and make a sofa cushion from my skin.
“We met on Tinder”
Are words you never want to say at your sister’s wedding. Admittedly the stigma is waning, but it still carries the fluorescent glow of the bathrooms you both occupied when you found love at first swipe.
Your non-single friends treat your profile like a game We all know it’s a game, but your friends in serious relationships are so intrigued by the novelty of swiping for sex (the same sex that they and their partner have long since stopped having) that they’re convinced they have the tools to strike Tinder gold on your behalf. Unless you watch their thumbs like a hawk, chances are you’re going to wake up tomorrow with a host of truly unfortunate matches.
So what now? For me, it’s been a slow, systematic purge—I don’t know if I could handle going cold turkey. I parted with Hinge first—too much drama navigating the dense “friends of friends” sexual networking jungle. Then I waved goodbye to OkCupid, which still feels like the Myspace of the dating world, still struggling to produce dates that were far from “okay.” Bumble can stay for now. I appreciate the forward-thinking of an app that only lets women talk first.
But my finger stalls when I hover over the delete button for Tinder. “Are you sure?” my iPhone asks in earnest. No, no I’m not—but don’t get too comfortable Tinder, I’m making sure my next date comes from a spark, not a swipe.