Recently I read a headline that there is now a “Tinder for relationships,” which made me laugh. I also watch Comcast On-Demand, so I’ve seen the ad for the Match.com app about a million times. Being 23, I can pretty much guarantee that if I were single, neither of these options would be anything close to a good fit. And where did I meet my current boyfriend, who is pretty much the sweetest human being? Tinder. I also have (at least) two other friends whose long-term relationships originated on the app. This shit is for real. Millennial life has come to this.
Clearly I’m mostly writing this for grown ups who raise their eyebrows at the mention of the app, as well as those my age who are still scared of the creep-potential of Tinder. Anyone who has used it themselves already holds these truths to be self-evident.
Before I launch into reasons that you only need Tinder to find a real date, I will make a very important caveat: if you are not looking for a heteronormative relationship, a serious dating site might do you just fine regardless of your age. From my experience and that of my friends, the straight guys on these sites who are in the “appropriate” age range for someone on the younger-20s scale are super creeps. And I do mean SUUUUUUUUPER creepy. However, I know many young people in same-sex relationships, or relationships without a straight guy in them, that met on sites like OKCupid. It’s just one of those things. I am happy for my friends who found someone there. I tried it out myself one night when I was sad and tipsy and believe you me, my urge to barf had nothing to do with the booze.
SO ANYWAYS: Here are the reasons that Tinder is totally a dating site for 50% of the population and ways to use it to your advantage.
Safety In Numbers
There are so so so many people on Tinder. So so so so many that statistically, there are a lot of non-assholes. Because Tinder has become so popular, you have a huge pool of available people to filter through. Yes, there will be douchebags and creepers, but there will also be tons of genuinely nice people. People who are bored, not looking for rando sex. People who play Tinder like a game, because it is a super duper fun game. There’s a reason that boring taken people want to play on their single friends’ Tinders for them. It's fun, plain and simple. Since it’s fun it attracts people. People make up the numbers. Whatever you’re looking for becomes more likely as the numbers increase, whether that be a meaningful conversation or a meaningless hookup.
The Douche Filter
Everyone must develop their own. In my single days, I was so emphatic about my douche filter that I’m sure I avoided many a nice guy in the process. Whatever, it clearly worked out for me. Here are many of the traits that I personally see as douche flags:
- Most tanks tops.
- Anything shirtless.
- Anything involving a show-boaty flexing of muscles.
- Lots of pictures where they are draped over women.
- A picture of the guy surrounded by Hooters waitresses. (Yep, that was a real one)
- Really any picture where they use women as props.
Accept Your Stereotypes
Yes, dudes often post pictures of themselves playing guitar. Yes, they probably do this because they think it’ll hook girls in. Yes, I definitely once in awhile thought to myself, “Ugh, I’m so easy” for swiping a guitar player right. But I still pretty much always did it. (Unless there were other douche flags) And guess what? I ended up with a guitar player from Tinder. LOL at life. In this kind of 2-D format, we’ll all seem a little stereotypical. So if there’s a hint of something that you might like about someone, see where it goes. Yeah, if you post a picture of yourself doing an intense dance move, you’ll probably get a lot of creepers asking you how flexible your are and yada yada dancer stereotypes. But you’ll also probably find some peeps with artistic mindsets who connected with that display of artistry. Don’t judge yourself for having a type or for seeming like “too much” of a type. Accept that Tinder is just a string of hints about who someone might be till you have an actual conversation. Then have one. Or block it, if someone is creepy. Nobody got time for that.
And filtering the hookups from the potential cool people to hang with can be as simple as this:
Read The Damn Bios
People will probably tell you if they just want in your pants in this little block of text. It’s not hard to discern. Most will legit say “Not looking for a relationship” which means “Just DTF, potential genital matches!” Either that or they’ll post a shirtless torso-only shot (yup, no head in the frame) and include no text at all. So simple. In some ways, real life would be easier with this layer of Tinder clarity.
I once received the message “I’ll buy you pizza, let’s fuck.” My inner response was, “Thank you for your lack of bullshit!” While they might lie about their penis-length (yup), people tend to be honest about their intentions in the Tindersphere. That’s why you can use it to get dates. Or for genital-matching. Or as a game. Or as a science experiment. And because people use it for so many things, there are plenty of nice ones on there. We’ve turned the hookup app into the any-kind-of-relations app. So, under-25-year-old gals seeking dudes, this is probably your best option. Salud.