Why Do We Still Use Tinder When We Hate It So Much?
I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream, my cardigan, and, of course, the Tinder app.
My fantasy -- a beautiful blonde surfer -- came to life when I matched with a man fitting that description after a mere five minutes of otherwise fruitless swiping. I was already imagining our amazing first date, during which he would teach me to surf and I would teach him to... braid hair.
Soon after, I received a message notification. "Do you like having your asshole licked?"
What is wrong with Tinder?
I understand I'm not on this app to find a husband, but come on. Tinder is the absolute worst. So why do we continue to swipe like the wind?
My theory? Tinder's filled with tons of people, myself included, who are looking for something, but just can't quite put a finger on it. Some are looking for an ideal partner, some are looking for a one-night stand, and some are trying to get over their exes (since the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else).
In this addictive virtual world, technology is there to help us make game-time decisions about whether we'd bang and/or date someone. Usually, said choice is based solely off of a photo that's probably three years and 30lbs ago. We label people, criticizing them before even reading their bios (do people still read bios?). Just as we're judging new matches, the same's happening on the other end. Like, what's this dude thinking about my photos while I look at his and assume he's overcompensating for a tiny penis with his weightlifting photos? We're all under scrutiny, but we have to remember, we willingly signed up for this shit!
"Tinder is a porthole straight to dating hell. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's just giving me stomach ulcers." -Katie, South Carolina
"It's not worth the energy for me. At this point, I don't want anyone on there near my vagina." -Celeste, South Carolina
(Yes, Katie and Celeste admit to still using the app.)
Sadly, we've traded IRL interaction for screen swipes
As our online network grows, it seems our circle of "real" friends dwindles. We become lonely and bored, and decide we want to take the plunge and meet someone new... but how do we do that, again? Women I spoke with notice a decline in frequency of men approaching them face-to-face.
"Guys don't approach us in real life anymore. They're intimidated." -Mimi, New York City
"It takes a lot to go up to the hottest chick at a bar. On Tinder, you can say whatever you want because you're behind a screen. You don't need real confidence." -Aaron, Long Island
Yet we still count on Tinder for romance
Surprisingly, more people are looking for romance than sex -- even on Tinder.
"[Tinder is] a nasty melting pot of judgment. I'm a huge fan of sex... of course I want it all the time. I'm just at a place now in life -- aka adult? -- where I want and need to care about that person before going for it." -Noah, Los Angeles
"As a society, we're addicted to validation, and obsessed with being desired." -Chris, Long Island
"I'm trying to swipe for a non-existent Prince Charming. Tinder produces hilarious first date stories at best, and a free drink or two at worst." -Michelle, New York City
At least it's a cure for boredom?
Aside from the aforementioned reasons, you might just use Tinder when there's nothing else to do.
Roommates Claire and Rebecca make Tinder a game. "We'll literally be sitting on the couch together scrolling for hours," says Rebecca. "We have a photo stream where we add photos of noteworthy people." Claire even purchased Tinder Plus, but said, "Nobody knows what they want. I hung out with this guy for like three months and WE NEVER EVEN HAD SEX!"
"Most times I'm on Tinder, I'm bored at a friend's house. It's really just to pass time. I'm not here looking for love. I'm just here so I don't die of boredom." -Travis, Florida
So, after all is swiped and done, it doesn't look like Tinder is going anywhere. The need for companionship and intimacy, even if only virtual, continues. The app provides us with hours of amusement in spite of our disdain for it -- and enough weird screenshots to last a lifetime. Maybe someday, Tinder will die out and we'll be forced to talk to strangers at bars.
Eh. Maybe not.
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Ashley Laderer is a writer from New York who just deleted Tinder but will probably download it again tomorrow. Follow her on Twitter @ashley_unicorn