HOW TO FIND LOVE ON TINDER
This article first appeared on GQ online here
Every generation likes to think they invented meaningless, no-strings sex. Newsflash! Humans have been at it since the dawn of time. Tinder’s technology might be new, but it taps into timeless primal human instincts. Has Tinder killed romance?
Tinder vs love letters
Romance is a relatively modern concept. While those warm fuzzy feelings we equate with love are probably universal, they’re only possible when a society is sufficiently wealthy. In agricultural economies there’s no margin for error in choosing a wife or husband. Marriages are arranged. However, as soon as there’s wiggle room, the young begin to follow their hearts. A study of 200 love letters sent in the village of Junigau in Nepal, collected and analysed by anthropologist Laura Ahearn, shows how this works. Boys write to their sweethearts to get their attention, and in an agrarian population with minimal access to education, this is a big deal. New technology is hot. Intelligence is hot. Wooing a girl with a big sexy brain is the very definition of romance.
Binging on Tinder
Scribbling love letters on paper and using Tinder aren’t a million miles away from each other. You see a pretty face, give them a nod to show your interest and send them some symbols to be deciphered. Both carry the same level of risk: letter writing is time consuming and comes with the possibility of rejection, as does Tinder. The objectives of dating apps and letter writing for the purposes of love are the same. Where they differ is in speed.
Nancy Jo Sales’ Vanity Fair article about the culture of Tinder and hook-up culture shows a world where men are looking to find sex, rather than their One True Love. Their approach is utilitarian and perfunctory: wham, bam, thank you ma’am, then on to the next. The speed, regularity and unlimited supply of willing victims has the physiological effect of impotence among the app’s more hardened users. But if Casanova had Tinder in his pocket, he too would have lost interest. It’s not just the male members to blame for this. It takes two to tango. For every Don Juan, there must be a Fanny Hill.
Back to square one: arranged marriages
For some, the prospect of wading through hundreds of terrible Tinder profiles to find that one diamond makes traditional arranged marriages sound pretty appealing. Those kids in Nepal don’t know how good they’ve got it. Raziye Akkoc, a journalist at the Telegraph, wrote last year about the benefits of a traditional arranged Muslim marriage.
If dating is a market-place, having your family choose a potential suitor is savvy business sense. You know you’ll share the same beliefs, values and agree on how to bring up a family, and there’s even the possibility of romance. There are plenty of heart-warming stories out about arranged marriages letting love blossom slowly and couples that have been married for years become besotted with each other overnight. Unfortunately there are just as many stories that end in divorce, or, more seriously, murder.
A middle ground between Tinder and arranged marriages
There is a middle way, and it doesn’t involve your parents taking over your Tinder account. Be pickier, and up your Tinder game. Just as you have self-discipline when you’re working on your abs or on a project at work, love and romance doesn’t happen without an investment of time. Like sex, it’s easy to fall into bad habits whether you’re single (constantly swiping left) or in a long-term relationship (“reverse cowgirl — again?! You lazy…”).
Youcould follow Tinder CEO Sean Rad’s Tinder tips on getting your profile spick and span, but you should also hold the girls up to similar standards. Don’t lose hope — the next one might be her.
How to find love on Tinder
If that’s what you’re looking for…
When to swipe left
1. If she’s wearing too much makeup
If she’s orange with fake nails and stringy hair extensions, move on.
2. If she’s holding a yappy dog
That pooch will demand you love her bitch.
3. She’s included lingerie shots
Daddy issues, possibly abused as a child, certain trainwreck.
4. Her description has spelling mistakes, glaring grammatical errors or racist remarks
5. She has alcohol in her first picture
If you’re looking for a drinking buddy, go for it.
But if you’re looking for romance you need to know she can have a good time sober too.
When to swipe right
1. Her description has some humour or wit
If you find a “My idea of fun is watching old horror movies inside a pillow fort” or “If the thought of protracted, post-fight shagging doesn’t appeal, I’m not the woman for you” swipe right HARD and pray for a match.
2. She’s has a picture with her friends and they look “normal”
Romantic relationship are solidified by the friendships you make as a couple. Make sure she looks like she’s got mates you want to hang with.
3. She’s smiling in her profile picture
Say no to a sultry look or terrible duck face from a ridiculous angle that makes people look like their IQ is that of the average room temperature.
4. She gives her height and her local neighbourhood
Giving important information like this is a signal that she wants to avoid the awkward chat where you try to work out where it’s best to meet and whether you’ll be staring at her navel all evening. Skip to making each other chuckle.
5. You’ve got friends in common
This can go either way. Either their friends are cool and they, by extension, share this quality. Or, when things don’t pan out in the chat, she facebook stalks you and messages you unexpectedly. Psycho alert.