Casual Encounters – Tinder

26bits-tinder-superJumboWhile I’m no longer dating, when my circle single women friends allude to ‘finding someone’, we often fall into discussion of the different dating sites with humor, authority, insight and NSFW warnings;

  • Match is for hooking up
  • eHarmony for finding a divorced dad or religious guy
  • JDate for cute nerds with mommy issues
  • PlentyofFish for blue collar guys and shirtless snaps
  • OkCupid for ‘alt’ types and those under 30
  • Its Just Lunch for rich introverts and oddballs
  • Craigslist for opera tickets, cheap furniture and dick pics

Between them, my friends have covered the online dating spectrum, each offering up advice to others about ‘the friend’ who amazingly ‘found the perfect guy’ on this site or that site and who is now totally happy/ been dating a year/ married/ living together/hating the way he leaves his towels on the floor.

And despite being of reasonable intelligence, over the past few years I’ve wondered ‘maybe I’m not on the right site’.

(NOTE: this is easily refuted by checking out three site at random. You’ll largely find its 80% of the same guys on all sites. There is no hidden Valhalla of eligible sane men in the Denver metro area. Sorry.)

So when a guy friend of mine asked whether I’d tried ‘Tinder’ I threw it in my mental trash bin of ‘yet another dating site where I get matched with that short chubby dude from Westminster’. But then a girlfriend of mine mentioned Tinder a few weeks back, and the requisite qualification – aka’ my girlfriend met someone on it and they’re dating now’ – it got me thinking. Not that I thought this phone app was actually the Valhalla I’d been searching for, but that if it was anything like Grindr, it might solve my current nagging issue.

Celibacy.

You see I’m fundamentally wired to have trouble balancing my strong libido and my stronger desire to avoid being considered a slut for acting on it. And since my desire to date is equitable to a desire to stab myself in the eyeball, its resulted in quite a dry year. Figuratively speaking of course.

In fact many of my discussions with friends these days if they concern men at all, tend towards the physical absence of sex rather than the actual absence of a partner. Our dreams of white dresses and matching towel sets withering along with our ovaries. In fact, the older we get, the desire for ‘fun’ (aka sex), far outweighs the desire to choose curtains  together. Which is where, I guess, Tinder comes in.

Now for those who aren’t in the market for a ‘hook up’ or who last dated in the Clinton years, Tinder is the hetro answer to the wildly ubiquitous hook up app for gay men ‘Grindr’.

Grindr, (est 2009), was based on the assumption that all men are pigs, ergo, willing to have sex with anyone, anytime and anywhere.. often without saying a word to each other.  Grindr just facilitates that process anywhere – you can hook up while ringing up your groceries at Safeway as easily as you can in a bar. The app works by showing you other Grindr users profiles in your immediate physical vicinity, enables you to search based on what activity they’re interested in pursuing (blow jobs and anal rank a little higher than croquet and scrapbooking), and ‘bobs your uncle’, you get profiles of dudes within 6, 10, 50 feet of you who are likewise feeling the itch. If you’re interested and he’s interested, you can literally grab your groceries, your Grindr dude and get laid without a word.

You’ve got to give it to the gays.. they sure are effective in getting it done.

Fast forward 3 years and the straight guys starting wondering if the same thing might work for hetros. Of course it wouldn’t be quite so blatantly about getting laid (oh no, the ladies wouldn’t go for that), designed a little more like a portable dating app, and featuring a rating tool where users can view photos of users, select ‘hot or not’ to ward off those they’re not interested in, and potentially help facilitate a meeting, and eventually a hook up. The ‘hot or not’ feature also helpfully enables women to internally judge their self worth by collecting ‘Likes’ as they scroll for their perfect box of cereal life partner .

Sidebar: Funny how Grindr doesn’t have that ‘hot or not’. Apparently, as we hetro women have assumed for years, all gay men are hot. Or hot to another horny dude.

Anyhow, like Grindr, Tinder took off and became fairly popular amongst those in the 18-24 crowd, (the app has an age limit of 50 – after which apparently you die alone and celibate) with people using it to check each other out, entertain themselves while driving, making it less weird to be standing at the bar waiting for your friends etc.

But then, in a recent interview in the HuffPo, Tinder app creator Justin Mateen clarified the purpose of Tinder as follows;

“It was never meant to be used for hooking up. We just did a poll recently, and a tiny percentage of our users think that’s what Tinder is for. Fundamentally women aren’t wired that way, right? So even if we had tried to create it for that, it wouldn’t have worked.”

Its always a disappointing day when you find out that you don’t exist?

Why Grindr is acceptable for guys to facilitate casual hook ups, but not for women to find dudes to ‘entertain’ is beyond me. It actually sounds like a fabulous idea for someone who doesn’t want the strings and matching towel sets of a relationship but also has some life left below the equator. Aka ‘me’ and my eleventy million single girlfriends.

Which is what I was thinking when I tried to download the app. YOLO and all that.

‘Your phone operating system is not compatible with this application. Please upgrade your phone operating system and increase memory capacity in order to complete download’.

Apparently both me and my phone are too old for Tinder.

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