Unless you’ve been living under a rock, a phenomenon that goes by the name of Tinder has come in, downloaded itself onto almost all of our phones and taken over the dating game. Gone are the days when you would actually venture outside your bed and go out to meet someone, because, well, that requires effort. Tinder allows you to scroll through the various people available for the taking, with minimal effort required. Seems too good to be true, doesn’t it?
On the whole, there seems to be nothing wrong with Tinder. In fact, it’s a pretty great idea. The app recognises your location, and gives you the option to set your search for people based on how far from your area you want to go, which allows you to avoid run ins with that guy from last year that you just don’t want to see anymore. Your profile comprises of an obligatory witty bio, like Twitter, with your personal selection of photos which you feel encapsulate you the best.
So with these hand-crafted, filtered and perfected profiles, you come face to face with other witty, filtered profiles that you can choose to swipe left if they don’t seem your type, or swipe right if they do. Swipe left, swipe right. The golden rules. Must. Never. Forget. Lest you want to accidentally miss out on someone who is just so perfect for you, judging on his six pictures.
Like I said, at a glance Tinder seems like a revolutionary dating tool for us 21st singletons. If Tinder were a person, we’d swipe right because of their bio which shows how intelligent they are. So intelligent, in fact, that we don’t realise they’re not our knight in shining armour, but actually the one who supplied our prince with his sword.
Tinder, almost unbeknownst to us, capitalizes on society’s newly created short attention span, which has been specially trained to look out for certain traits; the right amount of emojis, the perfect ratio of group selfies to selfies on our own, a carefully crafted bio, which lead us to believe that this person would make a great life partner.
With the huge onset of social media, we find it harder and harder to focus on one thing for a long time. Watching a film on Netflix cannot be done without the compulsory refresh, just to make sure we don’t miss anything. We refresh, again, and again and again, because we are on the hunt for something new, constantly.
Tinder knows this, and uses this disappointing trait to its advantage. This is why there’s a limit in what we can say in our bios, and how many pictures we can put up. They wouldn’t want us to get bored, now would they?
Not only do they know we make our decisions based on a glance, they give us the perfect means to highlight how vain and superficial we have become. If my eye isn’t caught by something interesting, or funny in your bio, then soz hun, but I’m going to swipe left. If your first picture does not appeal to me, bye-bye. Tinder is just like all other forms of social media; the persona we put up does not necessarily represent who we truly are. We know this. Yet, we expect to swoon, or be swooned, by all the fascinating and best aspects of someone’s life that they put on their Tinder profile.
Now I don’t know about you, but trying to summarise me, my life and my interests into a few sentences is near impossible. I still struggle to come out with a competent answer in an interview when I’m asked, “tell me about yourself”. I mean, there’s just so much to say. Do I start with me unnatural obsession with my cat? Or my unhealthy tendency to Netflix binge? And if we’re being honest with ourselves, and I mean really honest, if someone can summarise everything about them in a few sentences, then there mustn’t be much to say about them. I don’t want someone who can sum up themselves, their life and their interests in a few words. Then what’s the point of talking to them, if I can learn everything I need to know from a glance? Let’s try keep the mystery, people- you are so much more than just a “Suits” enthusiast.
Nobody puts up, on Tinder or otherwise, the other stuff about them. Like if they chew with their mouth open, or if they have a temper. Just like no on puts usually puts up a status with what’s really going on in their lives. Social media gives us a way to portray your life the way you want to; you can choose what, and what not to divulge. But if you want a relationship, you want to know everything about that person. The good and the bad. Tinder only shows the good, what we deem attractive, funny, acceptable, suitable for viewing, for matching.
Tinder is ruining our search, or rather our knowledge of a need for a search for something deeper than looks. We make these rash judgments on what we see in the pictures. If someone puts up a picture of themselves with a trophy, then we swipe left because they must be cocky. We don’t give them a second thought, or the fact they might genuinely be proud of something they’ve worked towards.
The ease with which we scroll through people like we do Tweets might give us some weird sense of power. We think we have power over our love life and are making the executive decision to swipe right for someone who really deserves it. But we also seem to forget, that other people have that exact power over us. We are viewed just as harshly as we view others, and put under scrutiny just because we put up one too many selfies.
But we can’t swipe in real life. If someone came up to us in real life and told us they’re interested, we can’t just shove them to the left and hope they get the message. Allowing us to physically put people into categories, basically going back to the old school “hot or not” game, is, in all honesty, just rude. Let’s take a second and image if Tinder were in real life.
You come face to face with a long line of single people, with the same aim as you; to meet someone. You give them thirty seconds to sum up themselves and show a few pictures and if they’re not good enough, you push them to the left until you find someone who makes you realise what you’ve been missing all this time, and you push them to the right. But in reality, all you’re doing is shoving people in different directions based on their looks. Which is uncalled for.
Tinder allows you to give people the judgement you would in clubs, but without the alcohol. It lets you be as bitchy as you want, without hurting anyone’s feelings to their face. It lets you swipe through countless people until you find someone who fits the image of the person you want. Everything is a touch, a scroll, swipe, a click. Yes, it makes things easier for us, but in turn it has made us more judgmental and superficial.
I propose a change to Tinder. I feel it would make the world of dating and the world of Tinder a much better place if everyone who didn’t meet someone’s standards got a little message saying, “Hi. I appreciate the effort you put into your profile. You seem like a lovely person, but just not quite right for me. Don’t take this swipe left personal. Good luck with everything else and may the force be with you. P.S. I like your cat”. A touch of manners would make our society of scrolling and swiping that bit easier to swallow, and the realisation that Tinder is a manifestation of all that we don’t want to be; superficial, vain, judgmental. Swipe left on Tinder guys, and press delete. There’s better ways to find lurve, I swear.
Published on campus.ie on 02/10/15.