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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Love Me Tinder, Love Me Sweet

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 9:41 AM

As I wrote in my Death of Dating article, in January I had gotten fed up with online dating. It seemed like everyone was just using sites like Match and Plenty of Fish to hook up. I was looking for something more substantial, so I took a break.

Then the Olympics came along, and although I did not watch any of the programming, I did hear rumblings about the "scandalous" use of the Tinder app among athletes in Sochi. In the interest of keeping up with current sex news, and out of personal curiosity, I decided to sign on. After a month of use, I am undecided on its merit. A Tinder profile is brief - a few photos and a few sentences. Interested? Swipe left for "No" and swipe right for "Yes." There is no "Maybe." Judgments are made in about a second. If two people say "Yes" to each other, they are notified of a match and can begin messaging each other.

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What I do like about Tinder is that it draws information from Facebook so I can quickly see if we have any Likes or Friends in common. Barring the people who have fake profiles for the sole purpose of luring women (yes, I know a couple men who do that), most people use Facebook to interact with family and friends and, I would assume, are pretty honest about what they like and who they know. If I see that a guy on Tinder knows a few of my Plaza-Midwood friends and we both like Michelle Obama, Psychology Today, and the Panthers, I feel pretty confident that we could at least have a decent conversation.

The other thing I like about Tinder is that a guy only gets access to me if I also swipe right on him. Unlike other sites, I don't have to wade through messages from guys I have no interest in and/or who obviously send a standard "Hey Beautiful" message to every new person on the site. It does keep my list more manageable. Like other sites, it's up to the two of us to keep the conversation going online long enough to take it offline.

My frustrations with Tinder are the same frustrations I have with other online dating tools. Online dating sites and apps are becoming increasingly simple. Some may argue that it makes it easier to meet people. I would argue, from my experience, that it makes it easier to avoid getting to know people. With hundreds or thousands of local users and new people joining every day, people don't seem to invest in any one person. They cast a wide net and hope someone will bite.

If there is one thing that I have learned from online dating, it is that you never know if there is chemistry until you meet in person. So why are we spending so much time "shopping" for a partner and making quick judgments based on a selfie instead of getting out into the world and meeting people? I am not content with two-dimensional attraction. I want the full 3D experience!

Next up for me is a speed dating event in town. If a guy can pay $30 to attend, show up on time (and nicely dressed), and can carry on a conversation for five minutes, he has already surpassed what's available online. Wish me luck.

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