Tinder: an unusual male rant

Welcome to the 21st Century Ben Howgill. You’ve joined a dating app.
I should provide some context: I’m a 21 year old University Computer Student, recently (unfortunately) out of a relationship because life and studies got in way. Why on earth would I jump onto a dating app? Convenience of ‘meeting new people’? Hardly. Curiosity mainly. What made all my other single friends join it if they too were, as they tell me, ‘not interested’ in finding a mate. Obviously, there are those who do use it to meet new people and have success from that, which is great! I guess you could say it is interesting social experiment.
Tinder is another new hip new fad that I simply couldn’t escape from. What started as a, “Well, I guess it would be funny to see people I know on it” continued to a realisation that I had spent a good half an hour going through ‘potential matches’ and objectifying each one based on my attraction to them.
Swiping the picture off the left of the screen was a ‘Nope’ and swiping off to the right was a ‘Like’. If you swiped yes to someone and they swiped yes to you back, you were matched and therefore allowed to communicate using the app and hook up and make a date or whatever.
That’s the basis of the app. It’s simple. So why then have I caught myself mindlessly flicking through pictures on there, as though it were an alternative to Facebook without baby photos*, drunken statuses and birthday reminders? I’m not sure. I figured it says a lot about the current state of society and the way we interact with one another.
*People have pictures with their new-born’s and children within the app as profile pictures so it’s a step closer to Facebook I guess.
We’ve become a society built around the digital methods of communication. It has its merits obviously. We are able to connect with people all over the world, and make new friends from groups of communities with similar interests and ‘likes’.
We have a digital profile online, on media sites like Facebook and Twitter, that we can control and filter. We can choose what aspects of our self we show to the public space, and what parts we would prefer to hide. This means that the online version of ourselves is mediated by the idealist image we have of ourselves and the more realistic, not necessarily bad but more honest persona is hidden.

tind 1

For me, this is where dating sites and apps, like Tinder fall through. I’m not sure I’m one hundred percent comfortable meeting someone where all I get is a name, age, personalised bio and a couple of pictures. Sure, I guess this is how Facebook, Twitter and the like works in some ways and maybe I fall into the category of ‘old fashioned’ but I prefer to get to know someone first. If I matched with someone on Tinder (which, by the way, at the time of writing, hasn’t happened), I totally wouldn’t know what to say.
tind 2

Me: “Er Hi.”
Matchee: “Hello.”
Me: “So er, you’ve got… a face? We’re totally the same.”

Seriously, what similarities do I have with this person? Aside from being a human with opposable thumbs to operate a smart phone with Tinder installed on it. Great.
Yes, we put our short bio on there but again, it’s all mediated by our perceptions of what we think is an attractive quality. Take my bio for example:

De Montfort University student studying Computer Security. I’m learning BSL, writing for blogs and gaming in my spare time. Also, I drink an absurd amount of tea.

Do you feel like you know me yet? Excellent, let’s get married.
I consider this quite an honest bio. It shows I am a student, doing a computer related course. I demonstrates I have a life outside of being a student (which typically involves drinking, sleeping and studying) and that I drink tea. So I’m probably British.
I did not put on there that I am not a morning person. That I am grumpy before and after a certain time and that I am incredibly opinionated and outspoken. It doesn’t say anywhere that I am quite a stressed person sometimes nor does it suggest anything to do with my anxiety problems. Ladies, come at me.
Okay, maybe I really am looking at this all wrong. Obviously, on a first date if I said all these things, any potential encounters that could have taken place later that evening would be thrown out the window. My point being, you really don’t know a person by a bio. By a picture. I find body language and language to be a real tell.
This may have something to do with the whole ‘getting old’ thing but is the art of actually going up to someone in real life and saying ‘Hello’ dead? I’d hope not. Our ability to communicate is one of the most fascinating things and if you make that impression on me, I would definitely swipe to the right.

Ben Howgill
@benhowgill

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