By Dana Burke
Imagine being the only 10-year-old on your block without a Razor scooter in 2000. This is how I felt a few weeks ago in a room of twelve people all on Tinder.
Everyone’s eyes were fixed on their phones, thumbs swiping left and right, chuckling as they shared cheesy pick-up lines being sent to them through the app.
“Dana, just make an account,” one of my girl friends groaned as I incessantly complained about feeling left out.
“I have a boyfriend,” I quickly shot back. “I have no interest in meeting new people or getting hit on by creeps.”
Then, one of my guy friends spoke up to share his latest sent message to one very lucky lady. “Will you be my Tinderella?” he said proudly.
And then it all became clear. Tinder, the matchmaking device that is gaining popularity among twenty-somethings both nationally and at the University of Florida, is not a legitimate way to date.
Connected to your Facebook account, the mobile application shares your first name, age, location, common interests, mutual friends and a few photos to your potential matches. Swipe right if you like what you see, swipe left if you don’t. If you both show interest, you’ve made a match and are free to chat.
While I watched my friends, both guys and girls, mindlessly flip through their potential mates, it was more of a pastime than a real pursuit. The girls complained all their matches were ugly or weird, while the guys swiped right for every girl, desperate to get a hookup.
Since I don’t have the app myself, I reached out to a few friends who use it regularly to get their take on its usefulness when it comes to dating.
Alyssa Klein, a 22-year-old UF student, has been using the app since the summer.
“At first I took my time looking at everyone, but then after a while you’re swiping left like crazy,” she said. “It’s like, ‘ew, ew, ew, no, no, no, next, next, next.’”
For her, Tinder is like Candy Crush, just another way to pass the time when there’s nothing better to do.
“Tinder says, ‘do you want to keep playing,’ so the fact that they advertise it as a game makes it seem less demeaning than online dating,” she explained.
She usually waits for the guy to message her, but has never actually gone out with any of her matches. She came close once, but backed out at the last minute.
“I pretty much use it as a ‘hot-or-not’ app with no intentions of meeting up with anyone, but it’s still pretty fun,” she said. “If it was serious, you would be able to fill out fields of information about yourself.”
Another friend, Peter Conrad, uses the app daily. Despite getting girls to send naked pictures, sexts and phone numbers, he says his Tinder experience has been kind of a let down.
However, he did meet one girl through the app that he legitimately liked. They texted for about a month and had conversations about everything from Marxist social theory to the history of folk.
“There was definitely a ton of chemistry, but after failing to meet up a few times, I sort of gave up and distanced myself because it was getting too emotionally intense for someone I’ve never met,” he said.
…And another Tinder match bites the dust.
Let’s be real: In a college environment where hookup culture reigns supreme, chances are you’re not going to find you’re next great love through an app that’s based on superficialities.
That’s not to say everyone on Tinder is anti-relationship. Tinder’s own C.E.O., Sean Rad, met his girlfriend through the free app, according to a Vanity Fair article. But from what I’ve gathered, most people are looking for short-term flings rather than long-term romance.
If you don’t believe me, just check out some of the screenshots from TinderLines.com below to see just how creepy and forward people are on the app. (And yes, there is a whole website dedicated to Tinder pick-up lines. If that doesn’t prove my point, I’m not sure what will.)