It appears that Tinder, a dating lite app aimed at those looking for casual flings rather than serious relationships, is dying a slow death. The introduction of bots from websites, the influx of juveniles linking their profile to their Instagram (a surefire way of knowing if the person is an adolescent) and just a general app fatigue has dented consumer confidence in the app. The first time I was told about Tinder I was immediately sold on the idea. Being able to pick and choose who you want to chat with just by looking through a few pictures and a few of their interests? Bullseye App creator, bullseye. I didn’t know how successful my romp with the app would be however I had tested the waters with Blendr to gauge my compatibility with the online dating scene and had a few bites. One of those bites I still talk about to this day as being the most awkward date of my life. But hey, experience is like eating raw eggs. They may cause you to regurgitate them back up the first time but after a while you will look back on the whole romp and laugh… Unfortunately you will still probably be unable to ingest raw eggs, that shit is whack.
Anyway, I scoured through the girls on offer when I first jumped on board and saw all the colours of the rainbow… and no, that is not a slightly racist comment, there were just a lot of girls of different types and different looks and different skin tones. Not racist, just an ob-ser-vation, thank you very much. I was doing the old tick and the old cross and relishing in the power at my fingertips. However, it was only about ten minutes into my venture when the thought struck me. This was an outrageously shallow activity I was involving myself in. I didn’t care about the ‘similar interest’ and the ‘mutual friends’ aspect of the app was simply to save myself from a creepy run in with a 45 year old man posing as a spicy little meatball seven kilometres away. But what does it matter to me? My generation is extremely shallow so this app was just perfect for those of us who try to give off a welcoming, politically correct vibe in person but honestly just really want to kiss a pretty face from time to time without being judged.
So I choose my pictures carefully, succinctly attempting to capture all the corners of the complicated being that is Willie Bee. One of me on a beach because nature is cool, one of me playing footy because fitness is fun, one of my with my niece on my lap because babies are fun, one of me performing on a stage because acting is fun and one of me just hanging out with a friend because let’s face it, no one wants to date a loner.
My tag line… ‘I came, I saw, I ate two breakfasts’. Classic….
My first match was with a girl named Gabby. 19 years old, lovely green eyes and a contagious smile. BOOM! She had dawdled right into my elaborate trap. So I decided to pull out the flattery card.
Hey there. You have some seriously nice eyes.
And there was no response. A shame. But oh well, matches galore were coming in. Or y’know, one or two.
My next match where I took a big step into the dark light was with a mysterious girl with display pictures that kind of hid her face. What a risk I was taking by talking to her! But I was bored, I was in bed and I was keen for a bit of excitement. I chucked out the classic ‘hey there’ which she replied with a skeptical ‘Hi, how are you?’.
I kept plugging away, getting into her personal space like a really pushy elephant on a busy morning train until she relented and decided she didn’t mind my conversation. It wasn’t long until we were discussing meeting up in Collingwood for a coffee or more concisely ‘a pie’. My words exactly. I’m not sure what the connotation was behind it all at the time but it sounds filthy in hindsight. Anyway, she seemed attracted to the idea of having ‘some pie’ in ‘Collingwood’ on a ‘Tinder date’ so I semi-agreed to it. Then I said I was busy for the next week. She asked again. I again told her that it would happen later that week. She asked again and I… dammit… I got really cold feet and didn’t reply to the next three messages over the next 10 days. I was therefore blocked and removed from her life.
If you think about it, potentially that could have been my future girlfriend, perhaps even my future wife. I mean, it is immensely doubtful, IMMENSELY DOUBTFUL! But there was a very slim chance that it could have resulted in, at the very least, a friendship. Anyway, if we thought about each of our personal conversations with people like that, in both real life and in the virtual world, monogamy wouldn’t exist. We’d always be looking for minor sparks in relationships and running with them to the woods until we discovered that they actually aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
I’ve had different experiences on this app. Some that just resulted in a minor ego boost when another match with a girl occurred but no conversation followed. They were plentiful. Let’s face it, conversations are time-consuming and usually go nowhere beyond pleasantries, study plans and travel ideas. Getting beyond that requires a reasonable investment. An investment that can end in a few different scenarios.
1) You find out that person is a racist, a psychopath, a climate change denier, boring or perhaps all of the above.
2) You find out she is only chatting to you because she is bored and she really doesn’t care about your jokes. Rather she’s just using you to kill a bit of time.
3) You get on well but it’s more of a friendship ‘well’ rather than a Hey, let’s get some pie ‘well’.
4) There is a genuine spark.
If number 4 occurs, there is still no guarantee that it will go anywhere. Is this a really cynical view of conversations? Yes. I love having conversations with all kinds of people but I’m just saying that sometimes you just don’t want to have a conversation for the sake of having one.
Back on point. My other experiences have ranged from chatting to a mutual friend which resulted in a near-relationship, trying to hook up with random Adelaide girls when I’ve been on footy trip, chatting about Kendrick Lamar and drunkenly telling girls that I need a haircut. So yeah, basically just like my usual nights out when I am speaking to women.
Obviously the near relationship resulted in a temporary hiatus from the whole tinder experience which is just like real life right? Okay, okay, it wasn’t a complete hiatus. I still enjoyed popping onto see who was trying to chat me up and take me out for some candied apple or somethin’ somethin’. No one. They could obviously smell a Tinder relationship on my proverbial breath.
So I waited until this footy trip where I was sharing three debaucherous nights with a bunch of horny, desperate men who had just won a premiership. My Tinder feed was teaming with Adelaide girls. So basically I just started to like everyone. Sometimes we just want some interaction with normal people, not the neanderthals who I was rooming with… I apologise if any of you beautiful men are reading this. You really are the apple of my eye.
Anywho, most of the matches resulted in my drunken fingers spouting out something along the lines of:
‘Wanna get a drink tonight?’ or ‘Where are you currently, let’s hang out?’ or most embarrassingly, ‘wanna sex?’
I can honestly say I was definitely manipulated into the last one. Most of these questions were met with something along the lines of a good hard ‘Sorry buddy, you’re drunk and you disgust me’. Fair enough. I disgust myself from time to time. Having met one of the most beautiful European girls at the race course that day and having the honour of being told after a short make out session that she had a boyfriend and couldn’t do it anymore, I saw this as karma for my misbehaviour with this inglorious app. Tinder didn’t like what I had become… neither did I.
But I am a battler and I battle through misadventures with a grimace. I turned off Tinder and I moved onto the next chapter of real life. Real life presented me with nothing but lemons in my state of unemployment coming on the back of finishing exams, finishing footy season and finishing a musical run. Thus I was back on Tinder, looking for cold, hard love… or ideally warm, soft love.
My near-relationship had ended with the casualness that is usually reserved for Tinder and I can honestly say that I was becoming a bit dismayed with the lack of romance in my life. My mobile phone was certainly not delivering but even more concerning was that I was at a major loose end in the real world. I thought this thing was supposed to deliver fireworks in the bedroom or at the very least, a coffee date with a mysterious woman? Instead I was reverting back to my confused teenage years where I would start conversations with the question of ‘what is your favourite book?’ or ‘What’s your favourite film?’ Was I that out of touch? Had I really taken giant backward steps back into high school?
No, I was just overanalysing it all. I had become what Tinder wasn’t. A man who just thought about everything too much. And so I relaxed and entered into conversations in both of my worlds and came out with minor success. I was no longer stuck for words because I was haunted by my minor romantic failures. I was back in work, I was writing, I was singing, I was… tindering and I was dating again. Just like Tinder, life isn’t about getting bogged down in the really gritty, seriously disturbing stuff. It’s all about avoiding that and pretending that the world isn’t as fucked up as you know it is!
So I continued to speak to a girl who revealed that she was 17 years old and found her to be positively charming, I allowed girls from Adelaide to continue talking to me even though I was clearly 800 kilometres away and even spotted my first Tinder match at a cafe I was lunching at. She really did have pretty eyes. Now, even as I have begun to step away from the online dating craze because it really isn’t that sustainable when you can just go out and talk to a random girl and sniff her real, non-pixelated hair, I still reflect on the times I had with ye olde Tinder for they did present an alternative way to do things. However, there are genuine parallels to real life. The power battles, the awkward chats developing into deep and meaningful chats and the desperate plea for some sort of sexual intimacy are littered on Tinder just as they are in real life.
And just as I was about to hang up the Tinder boots for good I noticed a strange thing. After letting a girl know that ‘she sounds fun’ with a hint of the last hurrah about the whole venture, she actually revealed herself to be enjoyable to talk to. Enough so for me to be intrigued by the whole concept all over again.
Maybe I won’t chuck the app into the dustbin of history just yet…