Yes, I’m a little late to the game, I know. But I’m not really a huge fan of online dating – to be more precise, I don’t like it. I don’t like the pressure that I feel there is to be impressed by someone (you’re looking, aren’t you? well then, why not me?). I don’t like the spiels and their cliches, all these people who “only live once” and who know that their pictures aren’t the best, but are positive that you’ll like them once you get to know them. The people who are “sick of playing games, so if you’re into playing games, don’t bother contacting me”. And fuck me if the entire Western world doesn’t like to have a good night out every now and then, but is also just as happy to spend a night on the couch with a DVD and a nice bottle of red. GAH!
So why am I using Tinder? Well I appear to have a terrible habit of falling back to online dating when I’ve been dicked around by a guy. That’s right, buddy, I’m gonna go out and get all the men, ALL THE MEN. Then we’ll see who doesn’t need who! I could have had them all along, actually, I just didn’t FEEL like it.
And so it goes that I just done gone got dicked again, and not in the good way. So here I am.
I have tried both RSVP and Oasis Active on a few occasions, and the experience is like… it’s like being in a bar full of sausage with a giant flashing neon sign over your head that says “SINGLE AND LOOKING”. The sausages all see this sign and regardless of whether or not they would normally approach you, they do. All of them. And you politely say no to about 98% of them. For the other 2%, you both then need to decide if someone wants to buy the other one a $20 cocktail so that you can start talking. Unless you’re using Oasis Active, in which case you’ll probably end up sitting out in the gutter drinking tinnies of VB.
I have also tried eHarmony, which is akin to visiting a small bar every single night. If by chance you happen to like anyone out of the 5 or so present at any given time, you communicate in Newspeak.
Tinder is like walking into a bar, scanning the room with your eyes and thinking “You, you, and you – you’re hot.” And if one of your hotties makes eye contact with you, you talk. This, I feel, is about as close to real-life as this whole virtual dating thing is ever going to get.
A massive upside to it, I have found so far, is that you don’t have to really go out on a limb to show someone you’re interested. It’s just eye contact, as opposed to walking over there with a giant glass with a little umbrella sticking out of it and getting knocked back. I know it’s online, and that they don’t know you (not the real you, amiright?) and so it shouldn’t hurt, but it does. Using Tinder, I’m free to say yes to whomever I like, and the only way they will know that I have is if they have also said yes to me. I like that.
Another thing that I like about it: minimal personal information shared. All of those dating sites are so concerned with making sure that you meet your “perfect match” that they don’t stop to think that maybe you don’t need to know all that stuff straight up. That maybe it’s better if you actually don’t know. Remember, we just met – I just think you’re cute, is all. Let me enjoy the feeling of finding out that we have the exact same taste in music. I don’t need to know that you’ve spent the last two years traveling and are now trying to settle back into the real world and you don’t feel like you have any friends, not yet! And please, just let me enjoy the fuzzy rush of attraction brainjuices without judging you on your atrocious understanding of the written word. Who knows, if everything else is good, that might not even matter! But if you give me the chance to reject you for it right now, we’ll never know (and same goes for you rejecting me for coming across as a cynical, sarcastic genius).
Again, let’s keep it real. Tinder runs out of facebook, and basically the only information that is shared is: A/S/L; some photos; mutual friends; mutual things liked on facebook. It’s like walking into a friend’s birthday party, spotting a cute guy/girl you’ve never seen before, and then maybe at one stage you both hum along to the song that is playing. And then you talk about it.
At the very least, you might get laid that night.
I created my Tinder account Monday night and it’s now Wednesday afternoon – less than 48 hours. I’ve been swiping pictures left (for no) and right (for yes) with almost absolute abandon, free of the fear and guilt of rejection (both receiving and giving out). I’ve got 7 matches, which is waaaaaay more than I was expecting – unfortunately there’s no real way of avoiding the awkward online conversations, but I’m hoping that I’ll find some quality in amongst all the “so how was your day?” (it was shit, it’s always shit! but you don’t need to know that right now!).
This review is a work-in-progress, so I won’t be giving any sort of numerical grade, not right now anyway. For now I give it: so far, so kinda ok.
UPDATE: It is Sunday, meaning that we’re approaching the end of the first week. I have seen so many photos of men that it’s starting to affect the way that I see them in real life. I’m looking at ALL THE MEN, and my eyes are mentally flicking right or left to accept/reject them, never mind that Woolies is not a real life dating program and they’re not actually there to show that they’re single – they just also happen to be buying potatoes right now. I feel like I’ve become something of an expert on the subject, and I’ve seen some pretty baffling things, so I thought I would use this update to give the men out there some friendly (or not so friendly, depending if I’m putting shit on your style or not) advice about profile pictures.
First of all, in this day and age, there is really no excuse to not have at least one clear frontal photo of yourself, just one that shows your facial features and your natural eye colour (apologies to any vampires/devilspawn reading this, your red eyes are lovely). This app is entirely dependent on the photos, we need to be able to see you. Hiding your face behind ski gear, motorcycle helmets, a dog, or some strange gauzy mask made of layers of cotton wool and blur, is not conducive to getting the green light. When you first download the app and set it up it automatically picks photos from your facebook profile for you, but these can be changed. Review your profile and pictures and choose those that don’t simply defeat the entire purpose of doing this in the first place.
Have more than one photo – if you only have one photo of yourself, it doesn’t matter how great it is, we will think “he only has one good photo of himself” and will probably pass. Give a cross-section that allows us to compare and check for consistency. Photos of dogs, sunsets, etc, are completely useless.
Having friends is important. To some women, photos with friends is evidence that you’re affable and socially capable. But photos with friends is not going to help your cause if a) ALL of your photos are with friends and we don’t know which one you are, and/or b) you and your friends kinda look like pack-rapists when you get together and pose.
Having female friends is also important, but I would advise against having too many photos up there with your arms around some beautiful woman. Try to look single. Wedding photos where you are not obviously a groomsman are an absolute no-no.
it does happen
And ok, I understand using your photos to give a little bit of insight into yourself, I’ve done the same thing! My selection reminds me of Krusty the Clown showing his “range”, there’s daytime makeup cute smile shot, whacky onesie shot, cheeky wine shot, professional ZOMG shots… the many faces of me! But GAWD, am I sick of seeing the following:
- tourist shots that show the places you’ve been… oh, you like to travel? I like to travel! It’s a match made in motherfucking heaven
Yes, I see it… I’m a cranky bitch and that’s probably why I’m single and trawling dating apps, whatever.
But my last piece of advice is for a very special bunch that I’ve come across a few times now. I’m talking to the pre-pubescent boys trying to use Tinder to get some Mrs Robinson action. Sweeties, darlings – cap your age at 20, max. (and then pray some hot moron comes across your profile).
UPDATE: Here we are at the one week anniversary of my original post. My “match” list is now numbered at 16… 16!! That’s more requited attraction than I’ve had in the last 1o years. The list is running off the edge of the screen, dripping off it, forming a little pool of validation on the ground… it’s almost on par with having heaps of people “like” something I’ve done on facebook. But for this whole “dating” thing to work, there needs to be a next level – conversation. Out of my 16 “matches” I think I can safely say that I have had two interesting/amusing conversations, one of them being some banter about the habits of highly effective unicorns, and the other being with one of my best friends [male category]. Everything else can be divided into three groups:
- Polite small-talk about weekends/weather
- Variants on the “let’s get sexy” theme, such as “you seem cheeky”, “that’s hot”, and “a massage would help *wink wink*”
- Waiting for a response/first message
The third group is currently in the lead, with number 2 probably coming second.
One of my best friends [female category], who was inspired by the original post last week to reactivate her account, is officially over it and has deleted it again. I’m determined to give it some more time though. It’s my usual way to give up on these things, to find fault and dole out shit… regardless of how good I am at it, though, I need to fight the urge. Hell, it’s Christmas! Holiday times! Persistence could reward me with a date/chat/snog/otherthing – at the very least, it gives my finger something to do while I’m hungover.
It is frustrating though, and apparently it’s worse for the guys. I don’t agree with the notion, though, that we’re the ones with all the power, that all of the pressure is on the guys to man up and impress us – I try, I really do! I look at your photos and pick up on conversation-starters, if you have something written in your profile, I’ll read it. I’ve tried the “mutual interests” tactic and the “acknowledgement of something in your profile”. I’ve tried “acknowledging that this whole thing is awkward and I’m just trying to say hi”. Sometimes I do try the “screw this, you can be the one to talk to me” – lately I’ve simply typed out the conversational prompts that the Tinder app gives you verbatim and had a giggle.
Time, give it time… I mean for all I know, these people could have lives. It’s almost as if they don’t have to spend every spare moment plugged in, as if they’re happy to amuse themselves with past-times both interesting and trivial, and only think about their being alone on random vulnerable occasions. As if the constant buzz of thoughts in their minds hasn’t settled into a metronomic counter, marking the death of every hour of every night in which some kind of connection could have been made, but wasn’t. Shush, do you hear that? That’s the sound of a minute passing by in which I did not try to quell the ennui via the internet…
FINAL UPDATE: When did I begin this?? December 2013… here we are 6 months later and I have recently remembered that this whole Tinder thing is a thing, and that I wrote about it, and now I have to finish that off.
First, some stats from my experience:
- # of men who didn’t disappear after one week = 1
- # of “hook-ups” = 0
- # of party-pashes = 0
- # of “in the flesh” meetings = 0
- # of men who reached the phone call stage = 0
- for God’s sake, woman, did you get anything out of this??
No. No, I didn’t.
There is this image, though, which I am going to use to wrap/sum this whole saga up. Oh, Tinder! You just keep being you 😉
No. We cannot.
FOR REALZ FINAL UPDATE: I lied. I lied to you all. It wasn’t over. But mostly, I think, I was lying to myself.
You see, when I wrote my “final update” I actually had a Tinder date lined up. I told myself that it was the “Sydney Saga” that I was wrapping up. How is the Sydney Saga any different to the Melbourne Saga? Well, I guess I was telling myself that things were going to be different down here… that Tinder worked down here… that yes, I was going to meet a guy, and that it wasn’t going to be the same old hogwash I’d been writing about.
It was indeed different, but more in the sense that I haven’t been exposed to such nutjob levels of inane rambling since my days of handing out flyers outside of Kings Cross nightclubs at 4am (on a Tuesday).
This man, we’ll call him Danny (because that is his name), is pretty darned handsome. He passed all of my tests: he could chat; he could spell; he wasn’t Sleazy, Dopey or Grumpy… he’s Polish, raised in Paris, has lived here and there and could speak to me of books… and then he called me, spoke in a fairly articulate manner and we organised to meet.
Saturday 2pm came round and I found him at the appointed place, and even as I was sitting down I was thinking to myself “girl, this ain’t right”. He looked at me like I was the only woman in the world, which is lovely – except when you get the creepy feeling that “the world” is “his basement”. Of what we spoke, I could not rightly tell you, because the entire conversation was uncomfortable (me) and incomprehensible (him)… tripe! Basically. Utter tripe. Sentences begun and not finished, repeating himself, cutting me off, staring at me with arrogant, dirty eyes, starting a thought, trailing off, staring some more, and talking about realities, how dating should be awkward, it’s good that I’m uncomfortable, more about different realities and different planets, staring at my boobs, and what does he have to do to end up spooning me tonight? I am still quite literally gobsmacked when I try to recall and make sense of anything that was said.
The highlights included:
“I mean, you’re a total bogan, you’re sitting there and you exude bogan, but you’re an intellectual…” – him
“To look at you, you wouldn’t think you had any degrees. I’m serious.” – him
(I have 3)
“Just give me some of that fucking house stuff.” – him, to the waitress of the really nice establishment we were in
“I have to ask… are you high?” – me
That’s actually one of my theories, that the big night he’d had the night before was actually still going (guy couldn’t even pick up his wine properly at one stage). The other two theories are that he does this on purpose, takes girls out and then sees how long they last listening to his offensive and crazy bullshit, or that I was suffering under some kind of nerve gas attack at the two precise times that he called me.
For the record, I lasted about half an hour. I stayed that long because the champagne was $19 per glass and I’m too nice to walk out without paying my way (so damnit, I was finishing it). But walk (eventually) I did, after telling him that “this conversation is incomprehensible, I have no idea what you’re saying. I’m uncomfortable and I’m feeling awkward. You called me a bogan and I’m really offended… so I should leave.”
“Is this really the end, though?” – I can’t blame you for asking, I’ve led you on before. But I think we can safely say that I have been scared off Tinder for good.
And when the inevitable day comes and I’m sad and drunk and lonely, and I whip it out again – I promise not to bother you with it 😉