“I don’t want to tell people I met my husband on Tinder.”
My roommate's words echo in my head as I think back to the conversation we had after I confessed to signing up for Hinge, a dating site very similar to the iconic Tinder, yet "less creepy" because it connects you with Facebook mutual friends. I was convinced to do it after a friend's visit a few weeks prior.
We were at dinner, which she spent distractedly texting on her phone, only coming up for eye contact to tell me about all the boys she met after signing up for multiple dating apps.
I looked at her with slight disgust, but mostly apathy. “But I don’t want to meet people that way. I just never saw myself being the kind of person who uses dating apps,” I argued. "Well, it’s New York. Unless you’re into anyone at work, there’s really no difference between this and getting drunk and meeting someone at a bar,” she casually defended herself. “Yeah, but this way it’s just so obvious that you’re desperate,” I concluded, before realizing she had already convinced me.
She made me change my profile picture to something that didn’t look as "edgy," which, in her words, meant something that didn’t involve me standing next to some guy's blown-up nut sack at a festival. She explained the rules. There would be a new batch of 13 people every day at 12 pm and I could just hit "yes" to accept or "no" to decline.
I would never know if the ones I accepted would see my profile because it was random selection. But if mine did come across his screen, and he said yes too, I would be alerted by a match inbox. It was just enough complication to make sure even the most insecure of 20-something women would try it.
My first batch went by as I sat there with her. I clicked "no" on 12 out of the 13 prospects and settled on the last because she was yelling at me for being too picky. I knew it wasn’t that I was picky, though. I just wasn’t that interested in all the men who were clearly as pathetic as myself, sliding past my screen.
The next day came and I found myself looking forward to 12 pm and my 13 suitors. There were a lot of Harvard guys; that was interesting. I only ended up accepting one again. Maybe I’m just a hidden romantic? The next time, I clicked a few more, looking at them through squinted eyes and deciding that I could settle for the guy with the Jew fro and plunging v-neck. Three days went on exactly like this and I had yet to get a match. I had begun to forget about the app, my 13 suitors piling up to a hefty couple days' worth, when I got an alert that I had a match and a message.
It said, “Hey, what’s going on?” I stared at the message, thinking about how the hell I would respond to such a casual greeting. What’s going on? I mentally answered, “Oh, not much, just looking for someone to love me and take care of me and do some much needed sexual favors for me.” I ended up going with, “Hey, just trying to figure out how this thing works. How are you?” I thought it was a good answer: witty, honest, not that pathetic. He never messaged me back.
I deleted the app two days after that. Clearly this was something I wasn’t good at. Clearly this wasn’t how it was going to happen for me. My friend came over a week later, the same friend who made me change my profile picture to the lame one that now always reminds me of my pathetic attempt to find love through a dating app. She told me she’d been talking to five guys she really liked.
They talked all day, every day. They talked constantly. “Well, have you gone on any dates with them yet?” I asked, already jealous that she was having such ease with the program that rejected me so quickly. “Well, no, meeting them would be too weird,” she said.
That’s what it always comes down to: the final seal on every conversation between two friends debating their options and lamenting over their seemingly doomed single lives. This transpiration of events makes me prone to casual, daily wondering about the future of our generation and these dating apps.
Are we doomed to a future of virtual relationships with people we’re too awkward to meet in person? Are we going to spend our evenings talking to the creepy guys we meet on dating apps, but never actually exploring them further than the screen?
In the dawn of Facebook, Tinder, iMessage, SnapChat, Instagram, etc., it seems to me our generation has become accustomed to hiding behind screens and filters in order to obtain the human interaction we all need and crave. Of course, much like everything about our generation, there’s a double standard of which we’re all just too damn proud and embarrassed to move beyond the screen.
So, this leaves us with nothing but the good old-fashioned way our parents did it: getting drunk enough at a bar to meet someone, all the while our phones light up with messages from the men and women we'll never actually give the time of day.
Photo credit: Tinder