There’s a lot of rhetoric around Tinder and other dating websites and apps ruining romance, and making Gen Y incapable of forming real relationships.
To me, at best it reeks a little bit of generational contempt, or some kind of weird superiority complex. At worst, it’s flat out bitterness that there are people out there just trying to have fun.
I’ve mentioned before that I met my boyfriend on one of these apps, and I’m saying it again now so that my bias is laid out plain. But even before I met him, I was a content user of the platform who saw it was an easy way to meet people in a largely non-threatening and non-committal way.
We know that Tinder is dangerous
It’s at this point that someone will probably point out to me that people have been assaulted, raped or killed by their Tinder dates, and I have no doubt that’s true — because I have no doubt that these are things that humans are capable of. This is a threat that most women and a number of men tend to endure just in everyday life. The man that comes up to me in the bar, is just as threatening as the man that swiped right to me on the app. In fact, I consider that man in the bar more of threat than the man that swiped right because I don’t know him and he’s already in my vicinity, forcing me to make a decision about him. Tinder guy? Don’t know him, and lucky for him (and me) he’s approximately 15kms away and not an immediate threat. I don’t have to make a decision about having a drink with him right now, if ever.
People like to tell me that apps are all based on attraction, there’s no real connection! No shit? That is literally what dating and the reproductive instinct is all about. Returning to the guy in the bar analogy, presumably he’s come up to me for one of two reasons;
- He finds me attractive and his reproductive instinct is telling him I have child-bearing hips and perky breasts, or
- He’s already struck out with every attractive girl in the place and he’s just hoping I’ll be his somewhere warm to put his dick in.
This is no different to my friend 15kms away flicking through a few of my photos and deciding the same thing. Humans are programmed to pick romantic partners that we consider to have desirable features and traits that we would like to pass onto the next generation (even if you don’t want kids).
But, what if he just wanted to be friends?
I don’t care if that guy in the bar wants to be friends, it doesn’t change years of conditioning telling me that he’s a threat. It doesn’t change the fact that he is forcing me to make a decision about him right there and then, and it doesn’t change the fact that he saw something about me, or the way that I walk or the way that I dress that he is attracted to, and led him to approach me – whether he was being sexual about it or not.
Fact is that dating platforms give an outlet to people like me who are standoffish with people they don’t know (thanks to years of harassment and assault from men I both do and don’t know) – for people like me with known social anxiety issues and people like me who grew up in a relationship and don’t really have any idea of how to go about meeting or connecting with people otherwise. I’m a timid woman who likes sex and is afraid of getting hurt, and by and large, much more eloquent and funny in print than in person.
Tinder is what you make it
Fact is that Tinder is a lot of things to a lot of different people, and it is what you make it. If you want to jump on there and make friends, you can do that – I actually hear it’s a great way for people travelling solo or in pairs to meet people their own age to hang out with for the weekend, no sex necessary. If you want to jump on there and then jump on the first guy that talks to you, go for it; we’ve all got needs. You can go on Tinder and find a beautiful man to screw for a few weeks and then move on, or go on Tinder to build your confidence and grow your self esteem, and to hone your flirting and conversational skills. Or go on Tinder to just try and cut through some of the late night loneliness. Go on Tinder to meet a wonderful man who supports you in everything you do.
Tinder is what you make it. And what have we lost because of that, really? What has changed about society thanks to Tinder, really?
People are gonna fuck whether Tinder exists or not.
photo by anna