Why I am still on Tinder (and it’s not for the reason you’re probably thinking …)
Tinder is a free dating app for smartphones that claims to be a fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. In reality it’s a popular dating app that allows you to flick through a few photos of potential suitors and swipe ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
If two people both swipe ‘yes’ to each other then they are connected and start chatting by instant messenger via the app. I have been trying out the app while traveling to the following countries over the last 6 months: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Romania and Ukraine.
Snippet of Tinder chat in Russian
So after hundreds of connections and scores of Tinder chats, the resounding and perhaps surprising answer is an overwhelming ‘no’! 😮 While I am someone who is disparaged among my friends for living excessively online. For example, I am constantly logged in on some device 24/7 and responding to chat messages when in the company of friends and family. Dating, however, is something that I am going to leave to the ‘real world’ for the first contact.
The main reason for this I find is vetting. It is really hard for me with Tinder to hit a really good match. The app relies on a few photos and common Facebook likes which makes it easy to find ‘matches’ as the criteria are extremely shallow. But by being so easy to receive a gratifying (albeit ephemeral) ‘new match’ on my smartphone, Tinder matches do not give me any real sense of whether I will be attracted to the person or not.
Photos can be selected to be ‘flattering’ to say the least and it takes a significant amount of time chatting to figure out anything about my Tinder ‘connection’. Tinder gives a junky hit feeling that there are strangers nearby that are apparently as (lewdly) interested in me as I am in them.
Chat in Romanian
So the real test of Tinder is how does it stack up with a random approach to someone in real life? Well, in real life, I can be sure of what the person really looks like and I know their exact location as they are right in front of me. So that seems to 2 – 0 against Tinder. With Tinder, everyone there is supposed to be interested in hooking up which removes the risk of an angry boyfriend appearing as soon as I start the conversation and there is clearly less of a time constraint with Tinder as I can continue the conversation whenever I want via the chat.
So at 2-2, a tie? Well, to be candid, if I were to walk down the street and strike up a conversation with 10 girls that I am sure of being physically attractive to then the chances of something romantic happening is infinitely higher than my experience with Tinder. There are so many things that are not communicable in an app, like, someone’s smile, laugh, smell, eye contact … none of comes across on Tinder unfortunately. It’s just as likely as flicking through a glossy magazine full of hot celebrities and fantasizing which ones I would hook up with. In reality, most would not be so interesting in real life.
On the other hand, some girlfriends tell me that they like the fact that the “ball is on the female side of the court” as only guys who they swipe affirmatively to can contact them so it eliminates being inundated by hundreds of messages from wholly unwelcome suitors.
What Tinder did provide me with was a platform where I could chat with girls almost continuously as I traveled in the various languages that I speak. So perhaps my online chatting skills were the problem in multiple languages? 🙂
Example of opening line from Dutch girl – how to flirt in Dutch? 🙂
Well, if that’s the case then I can only be improving as the app has allowed me to observe and learn how native speakers write flirtatiously in French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Romanian and Russian. All this is very valuable cultural and linguistic knowledge for when I meet native speakers in real life.