Tinder is addictive as hell.
If you've never used it, here's how it works.
- You download the free app.
- You login through your Facebook, and it imports a few pics and your first name and Facebook friends.
- You can customize what people you want to see in the settings, so I chose guys within 20 miles ages 30 and above.
- Immediately you start seeing pictures of guys. It only shows you if you have Facebook friends in common and their first name. So if you want, it's pretty easy to stalk someone. Just go to your mutual friends and then go to search friends and type in the guy's name. I was surprised how many seeming catch-type guys were on there.
- If you and the guy who has viewed your picture have both swiped to the right, which represents "like" instead of to the left, which represents "nope," then you get notification that "You have a new match!"
- Once you are matched with someone you can start chatting with them in a text-like user interface. You can also block. And if you don't write the person immediately, Tinder will tease you with messages like "Cat got your tongue?" to get you to get the conversation started.
Why did I decide to finally get on Tinder? Well, I ended things with the dude I was seeing up until recently, and I wanted to see what was out there. I always thought Tinder was for young people and solely for sex, but then I had a friend tell me all about her good experiences on there meeting great guys. Another friend told me how she ended up chatting with Tom Green over the weekend while he was in town. That did it. I wanted to try the dumb thing.
Here's a report of my seven days using the app.
I am an addict. Hence, this app was made for people like me. Swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe. It's like speed dating. You have a match! Swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe. The instant judgments you make would be comparable to if you went into a bar and went up to all the different people you saw and said straight up to each one, "Nope, nope, like, nope, nope, like," based solely on the person's appearance.
At first I was nope-ing almost everybody, but then I decided to be more open to the experience. So he takes a picture with a puppy like he's holding it up as a sacrifice to the dating gods? That's always a classic. So he's got a bunch of hot scantily clad women dangling on his arm. That's awfully social of him. Swipe.
Now I'm getting matches. At first, the adrenaline kicks in. Tinder actually shows you how close by the person is so on Saturday there is a cute guy popping up on my screen who is chatting and charming and uses a lame line like he wants to get married immediately, and my brain starts immediately calculating. He's less than a mile away. And the flight to Vegas will take...
"Where are you?" he asks.
"Chelsea," I say.
"Upper West Side," he responds.
That's when our love runs cold. Our potential marriage faces its first real obstacle, and we never speak again.
One finance guy makes me laugh enough over Tinder-text that we decide to talk on the phone. It's in this conversation that he says he isn't even really interested in dating or hooking up so much, he just has fun "people shopping" throughout the day with the DING-DING-DINGs of new matches every few minutes, which is probably the truest of description of the app so far to date.
The funniest thing he tells me is how with most women on Tinder, when he reveals that he lives in Staten Island, he's actually had several women block him immediately.
"It cracks me up," he says. "It's like, just don't reply, and I'll get it. But do you really need to block me? Just because you live in Manhattan?"
"That's awful," I say.
We never speak again.
I discover one man who is friends with a very specific circle of friends of mine on Facebook, and I warn him about this ahead of time. The friends are specific because I met all of these people through a long-term ex-boyfriend. This Tinder mystery man is OK with it. He likes my writing. We plan to meet next week. In Tinder World, who knows if this will even happen, but I'm actually excited to meet this guy because he's pre-vetted (as belonging to my ex's circle) and yet isn't close friends with my ex, so I don't think I'm breaking any kind of Ex Code.
At this point, the matches keep pouring in. It's starting to feel exhausting, and I haven't even met anyone yet. The app actually asks me if I want to "keep playing." This is a people videogame where the only cost is dignity and time.
A new match sends me a message. "Wanna have sex?" I block him before I even have a chance to find out if he's from Staten Island.
I get a Facebook message from someone who I started chatting with on Tinder the day before. Meta. "How goes the swiping?" he wants to know.
I'm at the point where I now send the same message to every guy: "What do you do? What's your story?" Pretty obnoxious, but so is Tinder.
I have no standard response to "How goes the swiping?" so I say, "You know. OK, ha ha."
I'm a writer.
I now have 18 unresponded to messages in my Tinder in-box. I don't know if I have the stamina for this kind of people shopping. One guy I speak with actually works a block away from xoJane headquarters, which is pretty funny, but that's about as intense as the chemistry gets. I finally muster up enough courage and interest to meet one man in person. He is using pictures that are five years older than what he actually looks like. The years have not been kind.
I'm thinking now of starting a rival app. The only requirement will be that everyone has to have one picture holding up that day's newspaper. You know, like a kidnapping victim proving they're alive. I can call it Hostager.
One man chides me that Facebook actually imported the same photo of me multiple times in my Tinder profile. "You should probably change that," he says. "It's not hard to change you know," he repeats again. I love that this guy is so bothered by this. I change it. He can concentrate now. "Do you want to get a drink some time?"
"I live in Staten Island," I respond.
I'm getting awesome at flirting on Tinder.
Tinder is my new party trick at bars. I trot it out to show people The State of Single Awfulness in Technology Today. It's a game.
"Not that guy," one of my new Tinder-gawking friends says. "Look at him, so proud that he's at that dinner party with his little champagne glass. No way, Mandy. Swipe it! And why is this guy holding a baby? Is the baby a prop? Does he own that baby? Is he looking to sell that baby? Swipe it! OK, this guy -- wait I know this guy. Definitely swipe it."
It goes on for hours like this. Nope! Like! Nope, nope, nope! You have a match! Like, like, like! Nope, nope, nope!
My new Tinder dating coach pays for our drinks. He says it's getting late. He thanks me for introducing him to the app. We never speak again.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.