For the past couple of weeks I have been conducting a social experiment. Well….I joined Tinder.
If you live under a rock, are happily married or have a hobby, here is a brief introduction to the inner workings of Tinder. It’s an app whereby you can select or dismiss potential hookups based largely on their appearance via a shortened Facebook profile. If you select someone (by swiping their picture to the right rather than to the left and into reject-ville) and they do the same, you are a ‘match’ and you can chat. (NB at first I was all indignant and righteous about how terribly shallow it is to casually dismiss or choose a potential mate based entirely on looks. But then I realised I was already doing it ALL THE TIME, in my head, so….)
The common buzz about Tinder is that it’s the straight people’s Grindr. Now, Grindr is hilarious; I get to enjoy it vicariously via the wonderful homosexuals I insist on draping myself around. Dick pics abound and the chit chat is very to-the-point, as this tumblr will attest: http://grindrlulz.tumblr.com/
And now apparently the heteros can get a bit of the straightforward no-strings hook up action? Well OK, this ought to be fun or, at the very least uproariously entertaining! So, ever the thorough researcher, I looked at Tinder’s website. It claims, ‘It’s like real life but better’ and introduces its service with a video entitled #itstartshere in which young, sexy, free spirits, their hair perpetually blowing in the breeze (of LIFE), dance with abandon on rooftops, frolic with shaggy dogs in a park under the splintered gold of early autumn sunlight and cavort around the camp fire (of DREAMS), waving sparklers (cuz sparks- geddit?). She and he feel something so Real and Magical when they are matched and when they meet in real life they walk towards each other in slow motion and exchange a chaste but deeply meaningful cheek kiss.
I was confused. So, it’s NOT one-night-stands initiated with terrible grammar and clunky innuendo? According to evidence and hearsay, I was either about to be swept off my feet or deeply offended – either way, I had to find something to do while I wait for the new series of Game of Thrones.
Now, two weeks in and I have not been inappropriately propositioned AT ALL. Most of my interactions on Tinder have stayed firmly within the realms of the harmless and well-mannered (if a little boring). So, first of all, well done the men of Bangkok for being polite and appropriate, your mums are proud. I also have decidedly NOT experienced butterflies or fireworks or held anyone’s hand as we gaze into a sunset, knowing, both of us, deeply, in the very core of our souls that we have found something truly and profoundly special.
That’s not to say the experiment has not been a success. What I have found is a source of enormous amusement by way of these fellows’ varying approaches to their profiles. In order to attract a ‘match’ you can post up to six pictures, which seem to follow an almost uncannily uniform format. I can’t lift any examples from actual Tinder (cuz privacy) but luckily (my boyfriend) Lenny is here to demonstrate the top 5 on the check list:
#1 The ‘serious selfie’. Beware gentlemen, there is a fine line between blue steel and duckface:
#2 The ‘oh goodness you caught me with my shirt off, how embarrassing!’
#3 ‘Just hanging out with my buddies’. This one is a double edged sword; it says ‘Hey, I have friends’, but also requires you to play the ‘which one is me?’ game. (Girls, it’s NEVER the one you hope it is.)
#4 ‘My female friends are hot. Deal with it.’
#5 The interchangeable ‘hobby/skill shot’. Shirt optional:
The second source of brilliance is the ‘say something about yourself’ section and while most people confine themselves to ‘American NGO working in Bangkok’, some prefer to express themselves more creatively, the better to attract your amorous attentions. Tindering chaps are, as it turns out:
Philosophers and conspiracy theorists:
Nothing in this world is or works the way you think it does. Politics, gov, commerce, education, health, law, history, who owns you, religion etc.- all a big lie. IF you ever learn the truth, you’ll call it nonsense.
Quirky (and therefore INTERESTING)
I think i’m a catperson Mieaauww
Screw me once and I’ll screw you twice!!!
Just so you know, I give you one chance only, fuck that up and its over
Trying to find the one I cannot live without
Looking for a girl who breaks the Bangkok mold. Don’t message me if you’re:
– A teacher
– NGO / UN worker
– Aspiring Model
Young at heart (this guy is 34)
I can only concentrate on one girl at a time, please wait for your turn
And my fave, opportunist:
Just got out of prison, looking to meet someone who will clean my place for me
Based on my experience, Tinder is not necessarily the den of seedy sleaze I was initially led to believe, neither is it likely to be the romance compass that will lead you to your soulmate. Also, it gets old really fast. But enough about me – tell me your Tinder Tales…