How Tinder is ruining the true human relationship and you don’t even realize it.
The first time I’d ever heard of Tinder I was visiting one of my friends at home for the weekend from school. She had just graduated from college and was living back at home where the choices in men were… limited. She explained to me the basic premise of Tinder, which almost immediatly struck me as some sort of hook up site. It was like online dating, but much more immediately gratifying. Tinder had taken the sheer pain in the ass-ness out of trying to find a hook up by incorperating ideas like only getting matched with someone who has also “liked” you. No rejection, no man who didn’t suit your style, no man who didn’t want to be speaking to you, and most importantly LOTS OF MEN. (or women) For the most part, Tinder gives you all the control by taking away all the risk.
Hm, it all sounds pretty appealing and absolutely easy; but is it all that human? I created a tinder profile once, but, it just didn’t cut it for me. So, for the past year — I’ve been part of the small minority of the Tinderless. Not to be confused with Tinderellas, or Tindresses, or any of the other Tinder-things one can be. I wish I could say Tinder was one of those things I could just co-exist alongside; but I’ve slowly been finding; it’s not all that easy to avoid. Tinder has become like this annoying neighbor I can’t seem to ignore, no matter how hard I may try. Tinder’s presense in modern society leaves me feeling like Steven Hawkings stuck in a room with the Westboro Baptist Church. Allow me to set a familiar scene for you:
A couple of my girlfriends and I are sat in the living room, drinking some beer and making conversation. Things are cozy, we’re laughing, talking about boys, having fun; until someone, motivated by the appeal of “boy talk” pulls out their phone.
“Omg, check out this dude I’m talking to on Tinder. He’s hot right?” — No shit he’s hot, you hand picked him.
“Well the guy that took me out last week paid for all my drinks.” — Really? Did he get super wasted with you and then allow you sleepover too? What a man!
“We’re going to on a second date though, so it wasn’t like that.” — That’s awesome! I wonder which Tinder girl he’s on his 3rd with?!
I think the most discomforting thing to hear though is, “Help me out, I don’t know what to say this guy?!” As if the sheer fact that you’re entire “self” presented via Tinder is manipulated, crafted, and performed with the intention of a mass audience; I would assume one would AT LEAST try their hardest to genuinely be themselves through the chatting portion of Tinder courtship.
The thing that erks me the most about tinder, is the same thing that scares me about the TV, the internet, or cell phones; it’s the fact that it gives us false justifications to convince our minds into thinking we’re actually getting exactly what we want and need from these things. David Foster Wallace, a philosophical genius of our generation (in my opinion) wrote and intriguing quote I think sums up my point perfectly,
“We’re all—especially those of us who are educated and have read a lot and have watched TV critically—in a very self-conscious and sort of worldly and sophisticated time, but also a time when we seem terribly afraid of other people’s reactions to us and very desperate to control how people interpret us. Everyone is extremely conscious of manipulating how they come off in the media; they want to structure what they say so that the reader or audience will interpret it in the way that is most favorable to them. What’s interesting to me is that this isn’t all that new. This was the project of the Sophists in Athens, and this is what Socrates and Plato thought was so completely evil. The Sophists had this idea: Forget this idea of what’s true or not—what you want to do is rhetoric; you want to be able to persuade the audience and have the audience think you’re smart and cool. And Socrates and Plato, basically their whole idea is, “Bullshit. There is such a thing as truth, and it’s not all just how to say what you say so that you get a good job or get laid, or whatever it is people think they want.”
Yes David, YES! There are some damn truths in this world and the one that relates most directly to topic of Tinder is the fact that we’re simply human beings. I know we are not all the same and I know everyone has a right to speak and act as they please just so long as no one is getting hurt; but I think tinder is slowly tainting the beauty of the human connection and calling it fun. It’s slowly cripling our society’s ability to separate true connection from luck of the draw. Tinder reduces the human being down to a small profile of pictures and sentences; with the average friend of mine getting 3-5 responses a day. It’s possible you truly could meet someone you connect with on Tinder, probably in the same way it’s possible you’d meet that hot guy on the street if your eyes weren’t fixed down at your phone swiping left, left, right as he walked passed you.
The average response from my friends on Tinder when asked why they are so appealed to it is normally something like, “It makes things easier” or “I don’t know, it’s just fun!” But I beg to differ, Tinder doesn’t make things easier nor does it make things more fun, it makes things more comfortable. A risk-less endevour. To look someone in the eyes the first time you meet me and say, “Hey babe, you’re hot. Sex?” Is kind of forward and awkward for both parties. This is because you’re literally interacting. You’re feeding off the “feels” or “vibes” of one-another, reading one another’s faces, bodies, and emotions. Things are REAL in that moment, not premeditated, crafted, nor edited. At that moment, the two of you are engaging in an act more human than sex.
However, to stare a hot girls picture and witty bio behind the glow of your cellphone and type out, “Hey babe, you’re hot. Sex?” Makes you a freaking riot in the frat house, but a social coward in real, palpable, life. And that, my friends is the truth Socrates was spreading. Any animal can have sex— it’s what we’re designed to do, but to have a relationship is something completely human. I don’t have a problem with sex or the fact that sex is basically the ventricles to the heart of tinder; but I do have a problem with the glossiness Tinder places over our hearts, minds, and eyes. Tinder is the embodiment of that “rhetoric” the Sophist talk about. Tinder takes away the real and replaces it with easy to swallow illusions. It promotes itself as an easier option, but it’s really just a more comfortable one. It markets itself as a “social networking” site, but takes away all TRUE sociality. It makes you feel important, but it labels you you just another picture and bio. Tinder is an illusion, it’s fake, and most people are just chose to ignore it because it’s “easy” and it’s “fun.”
When one takes into account the intoxication of Tinder’s pheromones, it’s easy to see the appeal. I get it. But if your only arguments for using it are, “it’s easy” or “it’s fun” I urge you to broaden you horizons and chose to live in the experieces not behind the orange flame of an app on your cell phone. No one wants to be just another face in a pile and no relationship, platonic or romantic is meant to start that way. There’s a whole world of people out there waiting to be connected with. Any monkey can swipe left, right, left right on their cell phone; but no monkey can consciously choose to seek true authenticity.