Tinder Supersized me. Made me the worst person I could possibly be. Not on purpose. It just happened. Let me explain…
Week 1 on Tinder
I felt elated. Empowered. Overwhelmed with validation as my matches began racking up by the hundreds.
You’re beautiful. Stunning. Wow — you’re so hot. Tell me your thoughts. What did you dream about last night? What’s your family like? It’s refreshing how smart you are — how funny you are — how down-to-earth you are. None of the other girls I talk to are like you.
Every compliment I’ve ever wanted to hear. And I gobbled that shit up. Like eating too much on Christmas. Like heroin. First you feel warm, happy and high. But then the sickness….
I don’t think it was Tinder’s intention to be so sinister. But the way I’m put together, the hunger always takes over. And then, after having thrown away dozens of potential matches, I’m left feeling pretty damn disposable myself. But what did I expect?
Here’s my take on it: I’ll talk to you until the next best thing comes along. And with Tinder, that next best thing comes along virtually every 30 seconds.
Over drinks with a few of my guy friends, I asked them to do a little word association: “What are some of the first words that come to mind when I say Tinder?”
Easy. Quick. Cheap. Pussy — a lot of it. Efficient. Bullshit. Hilarious.
And the girls?
Ridiculous. Same old, same old [small talk]. Degrading. Disrespectful. Fun. Ego-boosting.
Allow me to illustrate:
“Not unless you feel like getting tazed.”
Week 2 on Tinder
By now, I’ve discovered I’m not the free spirit that I’ve always regarded myself to be. And I’ve come to operate on a You-are-a-serial-killer-until-proven-otherwise mentality. That said, prior to a face-to-face meet-up, various forms of due diligence are required. Such strategies include utilizing my company’s software to determine last names, addresses, felony charges and Social Security numbers (to make sure they actually have one). I also apply every social standardized assessment I’ve learned through hours of binge-watching SVU. In addition to this, it is imperative that they have, at this point, showered me with an appropriate amount of attention. It should be thoughtful and uniquely customized to me. I need to be able to at least pretend that you’re not copying and pasting the exact comments to every other Tinderella you’re chatting with. However, a word of caution; if the attention is too aggressive, lacking social calibration or downright insane, you will be placed back on the serial killer list, to be forever ignored by yours truly.
Below, I’ve provided a few examples of behavior I’ve learned to avoid:
By the end of week two, I have selected a number of qualified suitors. I am now prepared to move forward.
I was curious to see what happened at this stage of “digital courtship.” These men, seven to be exact, were widely varied in age, profession and personality. Their one uniting factor was that they were all appropriately obsessive about me and had been for seven consecutive days. This was strategic on my part. The blatant womanizers start ghosting me around day three or four, the low-key assholes around day five. But in the real world, the quality guys will entertain the mundane pleasantries of small talk for at least seven days or more.
Then again, Tinder does not exist in the real world…
Tinder exists in what I like to call a Tertiary World. A world with no consequences. A virtual playground where all the freaks are not only welcome but encouraged.
Your Primary World consists of your close friends and family. People in your immediate circle. In this world, when shit hits the fan, the only thing you can do is hide in your apartment until they come pounding on your door. There’s no escaping an aggressive mother, seething with worry, because you’ve been too hungover to take her calls. Or an overly needy girlfriend who knows your door code (you know who you are). Either way, you’re screwed and at some point will have to deal with this anxiety-ridden conflict. If for no other reason but because you’re running out of food and you need your mom’s help putting your duvet cover back on.
Your Secondary World consists of people you work with. The men and women you spend half the day with. You care about them but only because they pay you to care. If you screw up, you either quit, get fired or my personal favorite: deny, deny, deny. Sometimes you blame your pervy boss or perhaps an intern and then hide in your cubicle until everyone forgets about whatever heinous act you committed at that last happy hour.
Remember that movie Eyes Wide Shut, where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman wear identity-concealing masks and go to that elitist sex party to do basically whatever they want to whomever they want to do it, but then they’re forced to face the vicious shame that comes with the next day? Well, your iPhone is the mask. Tinder is the party. And everyone’s invited. Only there is no such thing as shame in this Tertiary World because if shit goes wrong, you never have to see that person again.
And it’s on to the next.
This is my main issue with Tinder. Everyone is disposable. Screw up? Who cares? There are about 100 more options at your fingertips, available within minutes.
This guy’s decent. But I have a feeling he’ll be boring… Swipe right — ding ding ding — a hotter, more clever guy at my service.
This chick’s hot but I can already tell she won’t put out. She’s in the bathroom; I’m going to line my next match up. No big deal. This is a game of numbers.
So these dates of mine, the seven: All eager. All appropriately obsessive about me. All never called me again after our first date.
If you’re thinking this was because of how I look, please see below:
Was I boring? You’ve read this far — you decide.
Week 3 on Tinder
Seven dates, seven men, hundreds of messages and God knows how many hours spent browsing, and what am I left with? A fat ego belly that’s starving. Again…
And what will I do by week four? Go on a diet. Attempt to retrain my brain to understand that it’s normal to not speak to 10 guys 100 times a day. Attempt to eliminate the craving for constant validation, as good as it may feel. Because the one thing I’ve taken away from this experience is that, at the end the day, if getting something is really easy, it’s usually not worth having.
Having said that…will I ever go on Tinder again? God, I hope not. But it’s always a possibility. McDonald’s tastes good sometimes. And it’s, oh, so convenient.