As the sun goes down on another day in the Concrete office, the question on everyone’s lips: “What is this Tinder” And so, four great Concrete and Venue warriors, yielding their weapons ready to battle, take on the gargantuan task of trying to find love, sex and/or friendship on Tinder. Will we app-reciate this online dating minefield, or were we right to be app-rehensive?
For the sake of Tinder, we are reduced to names, ages, genders, and location. I am now Jodie – 19, female, Norwich. My pictures include one with me and friends and one of me enjoying the great outdoors. I am happy that these pictures will quickly establish the multi-faceted nature of my personality and hobbies.
Peter – 23, male, Norwich, checks into Tinder and begins looking at his profile, which is an assortment of his Facebook pictures. He looks at his third picture across, a photo of himself from four years ago and says that he won’t get rid of it. He wants the people of Tinder to see “the best, most attractive me”.
Adam – 23, male, Norwich, after some cajoling, finally downloads the app. He is unsure of the motives of the people using the app. Is it for dating, is it for sex, or is it for some sordid combination of the two?
Adam – 22, an objective witness to the proceedings that will follow. He informs us that he has never downloaded a sex/dating app as he has never needed to.
And so it begins:
I start swiping left, right (but not centre) at all the bachelors that Tinder deems worthy of my attention – anyone male and claiming to be 18-25 within an 80km radius. I start to judge the people on there. Not only on their appearance, but for their very decision to join Tinder in the first place? What is the likelihood that I will actually find someone on Tinder that I respect, when I judge them for using the app itself? Maybe this is my fault, for being too quick to judge them? But Tinder is an app that puts people out there with the sole intention of being judged and judging others, all by a few photos of ourselves. Adam – 23 has similar thoughts when he comes across Helen – 20 and asks us, “why is she on here, she is far too pretty to be on here”.
Together we come across a huge selection of people. Peter stumbles across the enigma that is Lawrence – 23, whose claim that he is “commonly found in places of culture and learning” is compounded by a picture of him humping an inflatable dolphin. Which are we to believe, if any, is the true Lawrence – 23? Further discrepancies between the profile and picture become apparent when Adam – 23 tells of how one of his matches “must have been 29 for at least a decade”.
Peter – 23 goes through his matches at a startling rate, and questions exactly how helpful it is that someone you find mildly attractive is 75km away from you. He tells us that there is no-way that he’d “travel all the way to LSE, especially for someone who looks like that”.
I find that most of the men on my Tinder have pictures that fall into a couple of categories: posed with a suitably exotic animal that hints at their implicit ‘wild’ side; photos where they are seemingly caught off-guard showing their finest muscles, pout and jaw line; and the Harvey Dents of Tinder who only seem to be able to show half of their face.
As an hour passes, Peter – 23 downloads the app Grindr and begins to compare his experiences on both. While it is not possible to display any nude photographs on Tinder, Grindr is rather the opposite. Men begin to send pictures of various sex acts and parts of their bodies to poor, unsuspecting Peter – 23, things Peter -23 would rather not see. The Tinder discrepancy between profile and picture is rife on Grindr. All we are told is that there is a 56-year-old male in the nearby area, who chooses his only picture to be that of a snow-covered roof. Is Peter – 23 meant to surmise a deep, poetic under layer to this 56-year-old’s presentation of himself, or is this some form of marketing for a roofing business whose target audience is homosexual men in the nearby area?
Within a couple of minutes, Peter – 23 finds that he may have in fact exhausted all the men on Grindr.
After our troubling experience navigating the world of online dating, we come to find that we are all left unsatisfied with our matches and no closer to finding love or sex than we were when we entered the Concrete office. These dating apps seemingly turned us into the meanest version of ourselves, as we hastily judged people’s depiction of their best selves. We have to ask the question of what is too much to share, and when is it the right time to share it? I personally swiped ‘no’ to someone who had a Conservative political logo on their first photo. Was it right for him to immediately share his political views, and was it right for me to judge him on them? Or does it make the whole dating thing a hell of a lot easier, knowing who you are dealing with from the outset? Then again, by reducing someone to their name, age, sexuality and location how much of a ‘match’ are they really?
Ultimately, Tinder raised more questions for us, than it found answers.