I’ve been on Tinder for about a year now, and I’ve accumulated over 1200 matches. I’ve met only three of those guys, though, because, as anyone on Tinder knows, matching with someone doesn’t mean you’ll talk to them, and talking to them doesn’t mean you’ll meet.
When I first starting using the app, I’d sometimes send the first message, but I realized it’s much easier to assess the guys’ interest and classiness by letting them start the conversation. More often than not, getting that first message has actually lessened or altogether eliminated my interest in meeting.
A pickup line in a bar can be all kinds of awkward, but a first message on Tinder, I’ve found, can be 10 times worse. They range from lazy (give me more to work with than “hey”) to verbose (fun fact: you can tell your entire life story in a first Tinder message because there’s no character limit) to obscene (I know my boobs are big -- I would’ve preferred “hey”). Just like the internet has been known to embolden commenters with anonymity-fueled audacity, Tinder seems to enable many men to, right off the bat, say things to strangers that they’d (hopefully) never say to someone they’re approaching for the first time in person.
I thought the lewd messages were the worst. And they’re definitely awful. (One major advantage of Tinder over a bar is the option to instantly block someone if they harass you.) But they all seemed a tiny bit less awful after the message I received last week within moments of matching with someone.
Let's break this down into the three main problems I have with this message.
This is actually the least offensive of the three offenses, and I say that as a self-proclaimed pedant. I count nine separate grammatical errors. If a red pen had been handy when I received this, I would probably have impulsively scribbled corrections all over my iPhone screen.
Is it really so hard to type the a and e in "are" and the y and o in "you"? Is there a scenario when double punctuation is required and I just don't know about it? I write on the internet; I understand and partake in loosened grammatical standards. But this isn't loosened -- it's shat upon.
Fetishizing Asian Women
I'm not offended by the idea that someone might think I'm "partly Asian." (My father and I have actually been asked that a few times throughout our lives, though never immediately following "Hi.") I am offended by his eagerness to find out, and because he so clearly thinks that it makes a woman more attractive, and because I know what so many women of Asian descent put up with from non-Asian guys who fetishize them.
When I showed the message to Sable, who's what I'm guessing this guy would call "completely Asian," she said, "Welcome to my life." When a guy hits on her, she has to wonder if it's because she's attractive, or because she's attractive and Asian. I have friends of Asian descent who won't date a white guy if more than one of his exes is Asian, because that indicates to them that he seeks that out and sees them as less than a person.
Anyone who'd openly declare a certain ethnicity as one of the reasons he's interested in someone is someone in which I'm not interested.
As we've established, regarding being "partly Asian," he "likes" that "twist in" me. So, Asian-ness is to me as lemon-lime flavoring is to Sprite?
Except... I'm not, to my knowledge, "partly Asian." But he didn't let me answer his first ridiculous question. He just assumed his Asian Twist Detector wasn't malfunctioning and complimented me on my nonexistent ethnic mix. Definitely a sign of a great listener, right?
So, how did I reply? I didn't. In fact, I blocked him, and now I regret it. I've thought of so many things I could've said, and so have my friends, since I showed the message to all of them.
"He clearly mistook you for me," my friend Alissa said. "Give him my number. And by number, I mean my sword in his liver."
After seeing his picture, my sister said I should've replied, "Hi r u partly responsible for murdering Sharon Tate?"
Alas, it's too late for clever retorts. What would you have said to this guy?