“Willing to lie about how we met” is one of several formula bios you will find on that notorious app with the red flame icon, Tinder. The fact that users treat the app this way unfairly perpetuates the notion that online dating is a shady act. Admittedly, as a person with boyfriend, I could not imagine ever trying online dating myself but as a newly single person with persuasive friends, online dating was one of the first things I did, right up there with getting a new look and going out more.
It started out as a joke. My friends and I would swipe left or right as if going through a box of chocolates: Eew, coconut… Yum, cointreau center… Hmm, apricot, I’ll try it…
Eventually, I found myself carefully scrutinizing each person instead of just picking people out on a whim: First the looks and then the grammar, the university he came from, how witty his 500-word biography was… Did he seem like he just wanted to sleep around or was he looking for something serious?
I was someone serious and as much as I hated to admit it, I started to take Tinder too seriously and that was a mistake–mine and everyone else’s.
Let me prove I am not a robot
Like the Cerebro to your Professor X, Tinder connects you to a world of possibilities within a 25 km radius (or even further, depending on how strong your Tinder powers are). Suddenly there are so many eligible people to choose from and you don’t even have to step outside your door to meet them. No more awkward shifting of the eyes, stolen glances from across the room, hesitating to approach, offering to buy a drink or inviting to take a walk and “get out of here.”
Instead there is “hey” or “are you from around here” or “a genie gives you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world where would you go” or “now that’s a smile that could make two nations go to war with each other”–all real lines from real Tinder users, and there are many more like them.
The distance between you and your screen and the other person and their screen affords a certain boldness which one would otherwise not have when meeting face to face.
I’m down to Netflix and chill
The Tinderverse (yes, it’s so vast it deserves this name) is full of innuendo both subtle and shockingly forward. To become an expert user, one must learn to read between the lines and understand the common tongue.
For example, the often hilariously misunderstood “Netflix and chill” does not actually refer to watching Netflix and chilling but rather, in no simpler term, sex. So next time you see that in a bio, it does not mean he shares the same proclivity for binge-watching and Friday nights in. Do not make that mistake.
Also, if in the course of your chat conversation he starts to seem a little too interested in your living conditions (i.e., do you live alone, may I ask where in Makati, etc.), know that it probably means the same thing.
Because there are so many prospects involved, it’s easy to skim over profiles and oversimplify people to the point that you can’t quite tell Cute Med Student from Backpacking Italian from Curly-Haired Drummer and you may just end up missing the would-be love of your life.
Think back to all the people you’ve ever been with and how you met. One essential element in the process of falling in love is the meet cute, which Tinder inevitably does away with. Another thing is attraction is often unexplainable and genuine connections, organic, but with Tinder everything is controlled and your options are handed to you, catalogue style, for easy pickings.
When you start to send the same pick-up line to 10 different matches, you know you’re in trouble. Just imagine, these 10 matches may very well be doing the same thing to you. How, then, can one make a genuine connection with another person through this app, if everything is churned out, assembly-line style, in order to filter the good ones from the bad ones?
The stages of Tindership
It’s very tempting to just meet up and get it over with but it, unfortunately, doesn’t work that simply. That super cute guy with a high-profile job may sound like he’s interested while you are messaging but don’t be surprised if one day he just stops talking to you out of the blue.
The key is to go into it without setting any expectations, that way you can have the most fun and the least hurt. At the same time, you need to be more discerning when interacting with your matches. Again with the standard questions: is he serious, does he just want to sleep with me, am I talking to a real person, etc.
So after you’ve matched, you have the option to message, answer a message, or just leave the match hanging as it is, another pin in your collection of guys you find attractive.
When it comes to messaging, there is the initial stage where you exchange a cute line or two or attempt to be witty. This lasts for at least two sentences. If you get beyond this and move on to talking about your day, your hopes and dreams and favorite musicians, then you may be on to something.
After the messaging, there is the meeting up. Now, some Tinderships, however close, may never reach this point. There are people you will just keep messaging on and off over the span of several weeks, months or even years and nothing will ever come of it. Perhaps this is what you both want?
As for those that you will meet, some will feel like a date but turn into a hook up, others will just be a plain hook up (If this is your plan, make it clear. And safe.), and then others will just be a plain date which you may or may not intend to pursue. If you do end up meeting the love of your life, or at least of the moment, know that yours is a rare experience–treasure it.
You get what you give
When it comes to Tinder, this is not at all true. Instead, you get what you get and that should be enough. You may not meet the one, but you can still meet someone you can have fun with, learn about a new person, or even find a friend. The biggest problem with being single and using Tinder is that you end up expecting too much. So my advice to you, as a fellow single person who can say, “been there, done that,” is just don’t expect and you may find that there are many surprises in store for your newly single self, both on- and off- line. Congratulations! You have your match.