For some reason there is still somewhat of a stigma around online dating. Whether you are just looking for something casual or like an actual husband there is an app for you from OK Cupid to Plenty of Fish and some other shit I saw on my Facebook timeline called “Farmers Only.” Any girlfriend of mine of mine has likely had me give them a blank stare and screamed “wait you’ve never used Tinder?!” at them at least once. This is because for the better half of a year, Tinder was my go-to way to meet guys. I simply could not resist the temptation of something so easy, fun (usually) and seemingly carefree.
When I first started exploring Tinder after moving back to New York as a post-grad, I was instantly hooked. While there are obviously worse things to be addicted to, there is nothing cute about checking a dating app during a spare moment, a tv commercial, or while your date is in the bathroom. It was difficult not to: I was presented with limitless options, laughs (I mean have you seen some profiles on there?) and dates. At some points I was averaging two-three dates a week like it was a damn extracurricular activity. At first it was fun – there is something incredibly satisfying about getting matched with someone, going on some dates within a few days of “meeting” them and writing them off just as easily. Its a quick ego stroke accompanied by instant gratification. I soon realized, however, that I was using it as a crutch to avoid the alternative: venturing out alone and actually putting myself out into the real, tumultuous dating world with actual emotional risk.
While many of us would like to think otherwise, the basis of Tinder is a shallow one: you see someone hot and decide if you “like” them. From there you may decide to meet up and see if there’s something else there. Please note: 9/10 times “something else” is not anything serious. I do not care about your co-worker’s sister’s best friend that found bae using the app because this is as unlikely as finding me in church on a Sunday. Using Tinder becomes more about serial dating for the sake of doing so, and as a result the people you meet become disposable as you are constantly thinking there is someone better quite literally at your fingertips. The odds of finding a real connection are like finding a needle in a fucking haystack, and that’s exactly why you log on: to avoid the emotional roller coaster of a real relationship with someone we actually like beyond their physical appearance. I believe that this particular website is designed for emotionally unavailable people who are rebounding, scared of being vulnerable and are solely looking for no string attached fun. I can say this because I was one of them.
There is no doubt that Tinder provided me with some of the best, worst and most comical experiences of my life. I have met guys who I have actually vibed with on legitimate levels, made close friends and gotten out of my comfort zone. I have gotten to know a different types of men, ranging from total sweethearts to absolute narcissists. I have learned that I love artistic guys who are romantic and that full on “bad boys” are not worth the headaches. I learned know that what looks good is not necessarily good for you, and that models are fun to hook up with but not to date. I now know how I would like to be treated and that I am not everyone’s type, which is totally okay and nothing to get bummed about. Most importantly, I learned that I am emotionally ready to truly connect with someone, and that is worth the risk. This self-discovery was critical coming out of college into an entirely new phase of life.
In this digital age I think everyone should try online dating at least once. It is no longer just for your socially awkward friend who has no game or your recently divorced aunt. For Tinder, I recommend going on three dates with different people. I say three because unless you are lucky, the first one will be awkward as fuck, they will not look anything like their photos and you may have to cut the night short. The second and third ones will hopefully be with someone you think is actually attractive and interesting, which will help restore your faith in dating. You may only a good experience, a good meal or a good lay out of it. As Nas says, play on, playa.
Surprisingly enough, I do not have any regrets (and I’m still alive!) so I consider myself one of the fortunate Tinder users in this city. I am only half kidding about the about the not being murdered part. Clearly I watch too much SVU.