For It’s Not a Match’s second installment of Crowd Sourced Insanity, we have a piece from loyal reader Mikinzie Stuart, who runs her own blog about dating and general musings over at A Typical Redhead. Mikinzie is one of the proud and daring few who have tried to date via Tinder, the internet’s newest and creepiest romance phenomenon. I wrote about it a few months ago here, but because I am both not longer looking for my mate and no longer looking potential insanity, I have not tried the service. Mikinzie has, and these were her results. I’ll chime in here and there, because I can’t help myself…
“Why don’t you try Tinder?” asked my gay co-worker. “A few of my girlfriends are doing it. A couple of them have even met some decent guys!”
That’s the sort of thing that happens on a slow Friday at the office, especially after I‘ve just disabled my OkCupid account for the fifth time. We’d had both had our share of OkCupid dates, gay co-worker and I, and enjoyed swapping stories over the past year, but I had finally decided to give “The Cu” a rest after an attempt at a relationship ended in flames. Not actual flames, but really, that wouldn’t have made it any worse. But like the virus Online Dating is, once you get rid of one service, there’s another one waiting to infect your free time. So I threw caution to the wind, downloaded the Tinder app, connected my Facebook account and we were off to the races.
What makes Tinder different from other online dating services is its simplicity. There’s no website to sign into, no long-winded profile where you have to charm the opposite sex with your wit and good taste in movies, no emails saying you got a five-star rating from UrNextMan69. Could this finally be a no-hassle way to meet a potential match online?
As I hung out at my apartment before my plans that evening, I decided to kill time flipping through the male faces in my area. That’s when I got a notification that Bill*, 26, matched with me and was free to “seduce away…” via Tinder’s version of IM (*name has been changed for obvious reasons). Not one to be shy about sending the first message (ain’t nobody got time for that!), I saw Bill had “liked” LCD Soundsystem and asked him if he had seen their documentary last summer. As most of my potential love interests begin, we got to talking about music and before you know it he was asking me when I was free that week.
“Wow, that was so much easier than weeks and weeks of messages!” I thought. Isn’t Tinder the best?!
He suggested a trendy europub in Chicago with dim lighting and shared plates. We were already off to a good start. (B Here: Chicks love shared plates. Why is that? Why can’t you just order what you want to be on your plate, I’ll order what I want to be on mine, and then our plates can remain autonomous? Sound good? I want my own plate, regardless of how big it is!)
D-day arrived and I was more nervous than usual. I even considered cancelling. Was it because I virtually knew nothing about this person? Or because the Google search I ran on him revealed little? Or was it because he was so quick to ask me out and I didn’t get much of a chance to feel out whether I actually, you know, liked him? I ignored my gut and reassured myself that it would be fine. This wasn’t my first Online Dating rodeo. Isn’t Tinder the best?!
When we met, Bill was shorter than I had hoped. And I had made the mistake of wearing boots with a chunky heel (one of the ways the ‘no profile’ aspect falls short. No pun intended.) (Fuck that Mikinzie! On It’s Not a Match all our puns are intended!), but I didn’t let my picky preferences put me off. “Love comes in many heights,” I reminded myself. (I’m not so sure about that. As my tall lady readers often tell me, love is pretty rarely under 5’4″.)
We ordered a few overpriced cocktails and stood by the bar while we waited for our table. There wasn’t instant chemistry, but he seemed nice enough despite an air of pretension:
Me: I heard the burger here is really good! (Very accurate exclamation point. I feel like every sentence I say on a first internet date involves an exclamation point, just to make sure everyone’s having a good time. “Hi!” “Did you run into any traffic on the way here?!” “My name’s Brian!” “Cats!” “I have herpes!”)
Him: Yeah, it was named #1 in the nation by Bon Appetite, but I’ve had better…
Me: Yeah, I really love LCD Soundsystem. I’m sad I never got to see them live.
Him: I mean, I high-fived James Murphy at Pitchfork, but yeah, that sucks for you.
However, I chalked it up to nerves and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Who knows? Maybe he could be ‘The One.’ Or perhaps ‘The One For Now,’ which in all honesty, isn’t that bad of a gig either at this point.
After the first date routine of ordering, eating, and check signing, we headed outside.
“So, what’s the plan now?” I asked.
“Welllllllll, we could bar hop around here… or we go back to my place and have a drink on my balcony,” he said.
I had been on enough online dates to know what that meant. He may as well have ended the sentence with ‘…so we can listen to Drake and play naked Twister.’ (Is Drake what people listen to hook up to now? God, I’m so old. I just learned who Taylor Swift was. How about Roxette? Anyone like making out to Roxette nowadays?)
Granted, he did just pay for my $15 gourmet burger. But I wasn’t even three drinks in yet and he thinks he can GET DAT ASS? Call me old-fashioned, but that was the only “meat” I was interested in sharing with him that night. So…maybe Tinder isn’t great.
We grabbed a drink at an overpriced rooftop bar and then I bailed claiming I had yoga class the next morning while covertly texting an old OkCupid flame when he wasn’t looking.
As I lay in bed alone that night, I picked up my phone and deleted the Tinder app.
Here’s the three main reasons it didn’t work for me:
1) There’s not enough information to establish common ground. As tedious and verbose as profiles and messages can be, they give you the advantage of learning something about that person before you go on a date with them. Or at the very least, something you can remember to bring up in conversation later so you’re not stuck answering questions about which celebrity would play you in a movie about your life.
2) The minimal amount of required effort makes the other person’s intentions unclear. The more time and energy you put into something, the more likely you are to take it seriously. While I can’t say there aren’t guys just looking for a hookup on OkCupid (there are, I’ve dated them), my Tinder date made it very obvious what kind of fun he was looking to have that night. While I’m thankful to have dodged that bullet, I think the simplicity of the app makes it easy to forget that these are real people with real feelings. Oh, and to have a little more tact if you’re trying to get someone to sleep with you on the first date.
3) I have yet to hear of someone who’s been in a monogamous, long-term relationship with someone they met on Tinder. Just sayin’.
For more from Mikinzie, follow her @Mikinzie. To submit your own story, send it hither: firstname.lastname@example.org