I’ve fallen in love. She’s perfect. She’s everything I always dreamed of. She has brought warmth and light into the dark, dank drudgery of my dreary life - and I don’t know how I ever lived without her.
Her name is Tinder.
Tinder and I have been going steady for almost a year now, and I've never been happier. For those who don’t know already, Tinder is a “dating” app which provides a simple platform for meeting people. Set up an account, upload a picture or two and enter some preferences for the kinds of people you'd like to meet, such as age range and gender, and you could find your perfect match.
While some malign the service as a hook-up app for desperately lonely souls, I’m here to make an argument for the side of Tinder which isn’t shallow - for the side of Tinder that can offer opportunities for deep and meaningful interactions.
If two people right-swipe each other’s profiles, they form a “match”...If either person swipes left, then there is no match, and they will never connect.
Inside the app, you are presented with a list of profile pictures (even a short bio, if the person has taken the time), and if you like the picture, swipe right. If you don't, swipe left. If two people right-swipe each other’s profiles, they form a “match” and will be able share instant messages. If either person swipes left, then there is no match, and they will never connect.
I appreciate that this can sound superficial, as Tinder interactions are only based around a set of images, initially. But it doesn't have to be superficial. I recently met a woman (instead of giving her real name, let's call her Michelle) whose actual face and body were barely visible in her Tinder profile photo. I gathered that Michelle was a brunette (naturally, or unnaturally, at some point in her life) but not much else. I was drawn to her for another reason. Michelle had this written in her bio:
“Wanted: Man who owns Far Cry 4 and a PC to play it on. Quality graphics card essential.”
I own a copy of Far Cry 4. I've got a PC with a GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. I'm a single guy, Michelle is a single woman, and we have something quite specific in common: a penchant for Ubisoft shooters played at a solid 30 frames-per-second. Suddenly the app had more depth than it ever did before.
I convinced Michelle to meet up with me and she took me to a curious Russian tea house close to where she lived. It's not a place I ever would have found myself at, and she wasn't a person I thought I would ever find myself with. Yes, in the end, Michelle and I were not really compatible. But she was a beautiful person, and she had shared with me a beautiful day.
Michelle and I were not really compatible. But she was a beautiful person, and she had shared with me a beautiful day.
This is the magic of Tinder: it can act as a portal for people with shared interests. Imagine walking into a bar and finding only single people with similar tastes - and all of whom are interested (at least on some level) in you. With Tinder, all you have to do is be honest in your personal description and you have the opportunity to visit this place.
I’ve designed my profile to explicitly state the things I’m interested in; the niche, nerdy interests that display my quirks. None of my pictures are particularly 'sexy' or 'revealing', yet I’ve managed to engage with, and meet up with, incredible people who not only accept my strange predilections, but actually like those same things too.
It’s rare that I can say when a smartphone app has enriched my life. Google Maps is infinitely helpful and Skype allows me to stay close to family from afar. But this "hook-up" app has been a gateway to some of the most memorable days of my life. I’m not saying it can help you find love, but it might give you an experience that you love if you’re open to it. Like the day at the beach, and the night at the jazz club, or the afternoon at the Russian tea house with the drinks I couldn't pronounce.
The truth is that we can spend our entire lives living a street away from that perfect someone, and our social circles (or perhaps a lack of social skills), would prevent us from ever meeting. Tinder is a conduit which can bring us together.
I'm just advocating for Tinder as another way to meet wonderful people.
Sure, it might not work out in every case. I'm not advocating for Tinder as a replacement for real-world interaction with fellow humans (nothing should replace this). I'm just advocating for Tinder as another way to meet wonderful people.
Call me desperate - maybe I am - but as long as I’m desperate, I’ll be desperate to give people a chance. And if those such people celebrate my position as a fan of Pokemon and online shooters, even better.
Do you think it's possible to find love on Tinder? Let us know in the comments below.