Two of my friends and I have an ongoing group text message. It all started when we were making plans to meet up over spring break. From there it evolved to a meandering conversation, and then one day, out of the blue, Homegirl A (names are being witheld for reasons that will soon become obvious) asked me and Homegirl B if we had heard used Tinder. I’d heard it mentioned in passing once, but aside from that neither of us had a clue what she was talking about.
Homegirl A explained that Tinder was an app that people use as a kind of casual, unregulated dating hotspot. Essentially you sign up and select an age range, gender preference, and geographical radius, and the app will present you with a collection of people who are within the preferences you set. You can see a slideshow of these folks one by one, and you swipe each person’s photo to the left to “pass” (as in, thanks but no thanks, hombre) or to the right to “like” (as in, mmm yeah, mama likey). If one of those people swipes right or “likes” you, too, it will alert you that “You have a match!” Only when the feeling is mutual does Tinder allow you to instant message each other through the app. You can strike up a conversation, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Or you can make plans to meet up at Motel 6 for a quick and unsanitary one night stand. It turns out Tinder is also kind of a hookup app, too. Tinder: Using social media to keep chlamydia alive since 2013!
Back to the story…Homegirl A raved about how Tinder really was not as strange as it sounded. She had been having fun chatting with new guys, honing her flirting skills (This is actually an important life skill that many Christian college students lack. As we are all alumni of a Christian college, it was a very relevant argument in our conversation.), and enjoying how she was able to expand her social circle with nothing but a few swipes to the right. She convinced us to try it, if for nothing else than to practice learning how to make conversation with strangers. Trust me, with my social skills, I need all the help I can get.
So spurred by Homegirl A’s rave reviews, and the kind of “what the heck?” (see related: “DGAFing so hard”) attitude that only a quarter-life crisis can inspire, Homegirl B and I
caved downloaded Tinder.
“It will be fun!” Homegirl A said.
“Let’s just see what happens!” Homegirl B said.
“I’m going to get kidnapped and dumped in a ditch,” I said.
(I am the carefree one in the group.)
Overall, it was interesting. I went in considering it a social experiment, and I was most definitely not disappointed. Mostly because there are a lot of muthalovin’ weirdos out there. I also realized how oddly exhilarating it is to get to declare your judgment on people based on their photo – some guys would pop up and I (literally) said “Helllooo, gorgeous. Slide to the right, please!” and others (many, many, many others) made me shake my head and say, “Oh honey…” It became an addictive game, and then depressing when I realized how few attractive men apparently live in a 20 mile radius of me, and then really depressing when I realized that I had just spent half an hour swiping through pictures of strangers. Sidenote: A surprising amount of people choose to showcase their alcoholic tendencies and/or prison tattoos in their photos. I’m not sure why this is ever considered a good idea.
Clearly, I have not had the kind of luck that Homegirl A was having. She has been able to line up more dates than I can count, and me? Well, I’ve gotten a few less-than-chivalrous offers from prospective baby-daddies, two guys asked me where I lived (gotta love the “block” feature!), and had a delightfully nerdy discussion of theology and feminism with a guy who turned out to be related to a well-known Republican politician. But I doubt Tinder is going to lead me to the Aragorn to my Arwen. Shocking, I know. Even as a social experiment (for me, at least), I was mostly just skeeved out. However, this did lead to some very entertaining group texts for the threemigos, typically involving screen shots of the more ridiculous conversations.
In honor of Valentines Day, I thought I would share a little snapshot of my own personal Tinderella story. (Full disclosure: Nerd man addressed me as “tinderella” at one point, thus inspiring this post and title. Maybe Tinder does have some practical use after all…) Here is a collection of the more colorful folks I encountered on Tinder. And no, I absolutely did not give a single one of them my rightward swipe of approval.
Take this as a cautionary not-so-fairytale…It’s a scary world out there, yall. Also, keep in mind that this is all in good fun. After all, I’m now guilty of using Tinder, too. I’m sure
all some of these guys are generally nice humans, but social media has a way of exposing the more outrageous specimens. For better or for worse…but mostly worse.
This guy doesn’t mind if you only want him for his body:
Selfies…so many things can go wrong:
So very, very wrong:
He’s only interested in women who can grow equally ferocious facial hair:
This fellow is practicing false advertising:
Mmm, tempting. But no. Just no:
Marilyn Manson wants to be your valentine:
Apparently Spongebob is part of this package deal:
Prince Charming or Mr. Tumnus? Prance away, sir, prance away:
He’s already got the white horse on which yall can ride off into the sunset (or into the desert, where he will murder you and throw your body off a cliff):
It looks like the “Owl City” dude uses Tinder. Talk about a “singing” endorsement:
Did I mention you can find some real charmers on Tinder?
I repeat: Charmers.
This guy wants you to know he is really excited about being 30, single, and still using janky hookup apps:
Hey there, Sunshine. (Sometimes Tinder gets confused. Or maybe it’s just progressive.)
He’s just waiting for his fairy godmother to turn that pumpkin into a carriage:
Oh look, it’s Miley Cyrus:
I have no words:
50 Shades of Farm Animals?
Some guys just put it all out there and hope for the best:
And of course, I saved the best for last. I’m not quite sure what he’s going for here, and frankly, I don’t think he’s sure, either:
May your Valentine’s Day be filled with high-quality chocolate, smooth jazz, and lingering romantic eye-contact. Or, for the single folks, gas station whiskey and your secret Creed Pandora station.