Across the globe smart phone users are swiping right for a chance at love. But is Tinder revolutionizing our sexual relationships or is it a narcissistic procrastination tool that deflates the soul and inflates the ego? In a world where we can’t wait for a browser to load without cursing eduroam or taking a snack break, Tinder provides an accelerated form of dating that meets this growing impatience. It’s sort of like a game of snap. Swiping right repeatedly until Tinder declares ‘It’s a Match!’ Then both parties congratulate themselves on being desirable, and move on with their lives.
Budding casual-sex hopefuls pop up on hundreds of phone screens in a determinate mile radius and are subjected to judgements. Physical appearance, attire, hair-style, physique, lighting, distance from the camera, selfie angle, proportion of selfies to group photos, proportion of club photos, holiday destinations, clichéd biographies, spelling, punctuation, grammar, preferred emojis, whether they say ‘hey’, ‘heyy’ or even opt for an audacious ‘heyyyyyyyyyyyyy’ all come into play, and that’s not even an exhaustive list. These judgements aren’t what most healthy relationships are founded upon. Taking a random sample, I swiped right to 50 consecutive men and within one minute had received 36 matches, which led me to my first conclusion: Tinder users aren’t choosy. Navigating through Tinder profiles revealed pet hates I didn’t know I had, and my own mercilessly superficial tendencies. Shiver me Tinder indeed, I do not like who I’ve become.
Feeling brave, I asked some of my sample what they are looking for on Tinder. I received a unanimous “I don’t know. What about you?” If you mentioned the word ‘Tinder’ to me I would immediately assume: upfront casual sex. It turns out, even with a screen for protection, most people are either too uncomfortable to be upfront, or are using Tinder for the same reason as I’ve been doing: procrastination. Ignoring the fact that Tinder facilitates contract-style sex agreements that undermine healthy notions of consent and normalise superficial hook-ups, it seems a fairly harmless app that exists to give the average person a welcome little ego boost each time they receive a match. App-y dating.