So, I was sitting at a bar – I’m starting to realize that too many of my stories start like this – with a girlfriend, and we got talking to the bartender. Twenty-something, from New York, seemed reasonably normal.
After some light, polite chit-chat, I disappeared to “powder my nose” and when I came back, my fellow female was ON TINDER. For shame.
Naturally, this sparked a huge debate between myself, the traitor and the bartender on “Tinder etiquette.” Somewhat unsurprisingly, this also provoked the slightly annoying/ slightly amusing question (from bartender), “Do you guys have Tinder in Ireland?” Eh, yes. We also have cars and televisions and wireless Internet – wild!?
However, Tinder in Ireland is a whole other kettle of fish. I vaguely remember it kicking off shortly before I moved to New York as a funny game, finding college friends for naming-and-shaming purposes and a gentle exploration of who you might have fancied but never got the chance to drunkenly gob-smack on a sticky dance floor.
Nowadays – at least, going on what I hear from my friends – it has a more sophisticated edge and serves a higher purpose of creating actual matches which are properly pursued.
My three closest school friends all met their most recent beaus on Tinder and proceeded to have long and fruitful relationships! That being said, I have yet to meet someone on this side of the pond who has engaged in something quite so fulfilling.
In New York, everything is fleeting. Everything is fast, fickle and, often, infuriating.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but my first Tinder date here – an experiment as it may have been – resulted in a similar betrayal that my female companion committed this weekend. Upon returning from an incredibly ladylike nose-powdering, I found the guy on Tinder hunting for his next prey. Vile.
Even if that’s exactly what I would be doing for the next story, I’m a journalist so I’m allowed. Poetic license?
It seems that different countries (going on the two that I’ve semi-experienced) digest online dating differently, and that the overall “personality” of a country, city or state is in some way expressed in its reaction to apps like Tinder, OK Cupid, et al. Perhaps some places will just completely reject this phase.
Just last year, Bolivia kicked McDonalds out of the entire country because it didn’t really work with their vibe. To me, a sworn addict (although I am three months off the stuff, and going strong) that seems completely and utterly insane, but it gives me hope that eventually people will start rejecting other mass-accepted nonsense like Tinder.
Here’s why I think Tinder is wrecking everything:
1. It is a cruel, cruel mistress: It pulls you in with those first few matches with guys who look like an awful lot like Jamie Dornan, and next thing you know it’s blasting you with messages like “There’s no one new around you” and the only people you can match with are a “man” called “Llama Boy” and someone who’s profile pic features their face covered in blood – is it fake? Is it real? Does that even matter?
2. Nothing is sacred: This isn’t some chance John Cusack/ Kate Beckinsale encounter at Macy’s that you just have to pursue lest the universe crumble to pieces. This isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is like choosing a chicken at a battery farm or kicking old spuds around at an uprooted potato field.
Bad? Next. Ugly? Next. Psychopath? Delete the app for a few days and then, next.
3. You are a “user”: Once you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and whether or not you met on an app or site, you will forever be branded as someone who “used,” much like a recovering heroin addict only worse, because you get none of the sympathy or rock-and-roll status. They will suspect you of using again. They will check your phone for evidence.
Be prepared for rehab, detox and extreme measures of purification before you are restored to your pre-app self.
4. Do yourself a favor. Delete the app. Not only delete it, but deactivate it. I’ve heard horror stories of a boyfriend borrowing his girlfriend’s phone to make a quick call and buckling over in an onslaught of projective vomit as he sees the Tinder app still flaming away on her screen with a glaring “12 NOTIFICATIONS,” pulsating with intrigue and temptation.
First port of call once you manage to secure a male/female in the mating grounds = clip your peacock feathers, don your burka and get “off the market” ASAP. This is an argument you do not want to have and cannot/will not ever win. Period.
I have this friend – and not in an embarrassing doctor’s visit way where the friend is actually me – who is a Tinder pro. A prolific user, she’s experienced the highs, the lows, and everything in between.
There are times when men have her convinced they’re going to introduce her to their kid (red flag #1) and their ex-wife (#2) and bring her to their chateau in Paris (#3 and #4) and three weeks later, they vanish.
We huddle, we talk, and we think we can get her into rehab. “If we can just get her off it for 30 days! Just think of the progress!”
And then there are times where men seduce her with their oil- paintings (#1) in their studio (#2), their command of several languages (#3) and their alluring softer and more sensitive sides (#4?) and things look great for a while before it all falls apart – again.
I realize I’m speaking from a highly privileged and – admittedly – old fashioned perspective of having fallen for my best friend and it all working out alarmingly well (if you omit the living on different continents thing – no big deal) but in a city where everything moves so fast, and no one has the “time” to meet new people in the first place, is an app that provides you with an endless stream of options the best way forward?
Should dating really be like one of those sushi bars where little plates of raw fish dance around on a conveyer belt and you can pick and choose between the bores and the crazies as you please? There has to be a better invention.
We can’t all settle for this. This can’t be the answer that everyone has been looking for, can it?