On the “Witty Banter” Within Tinder


So I was Tinder-texting with this babe the other week. Let’s call her Allie. Just standard shit: how was your weekend/what part of town do you live in/how healthy is your credit score. What? That’s a fair question! It’s a great indicator of how together one’s shit is. Okay, fine — I’m kidding. Credit scores are not standard Tinder fare. Although I kind of wish they were. My credit score is impeccable.

Anyway, we’ve established a commonality that we were both born in San Francisco, but she wanted to know where I was born. As in, which hospital. Now I’ve never found that information to be vital to a conversation, but who am I to judge? Maybe it’s important to her. Maybe she’s got a great joke lined up for any possible response. Maybe she’s testing me to see if I really was born in SF. Because for San Francisco residents, we who are from here are a rare breed. [Full disclosure: I moved to the suburbs when I was 8, so I’m not a fully developed unicorn. This fact is exposed whenever the usual standard question — “what high school did you go to?” — is asked of someone claiming to be from SF].

However, I couldn’t help but judge her on her response to what I think was a pretty great joke on my part. Here’s a snippet of the convo:

This joke also works for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd birthdays. Use it for your 4th, though, and someone might think some irresponsible uncle slipped you a few shooters.

I mean, what am I supposed to say to that?

Congratulations! You got the joke I just made!

I could not think of anything to say that wasn’t dripping with condescension. I could have changed the subject entirely, but if this was a preview of things to come, I’m just not interested. Sense of humor is too important. So I moved on. That was our last interaction.

This illustrates a problem with the Tinderfication of the dating scene. Ask anyone on Tinder — they’ve been on both ends of conversations that have gone dead for seemingly no good reason. Look how quick I was to judge this person! Total dick move. It’s not like I’ve never written a message that has illicited a WTF on the other end. I’m sure it’s happened a dozen times. And the conversation ends. Because when everyone has more matches than Pete Sampras (see what I did there?), it’s just too easy to move on to the next one. [I’ve made similar points here.]

Everybody (including me) craves that witty banter displayed in the movies, but that requires some back-and-forth. Get a conversational lather going. Build upon what each other says. Don’t just rephrase or explain the joke that someone just made.

Am I way off here?

For the record, had I been presented with the joke shown above, I like to think I would have responded with something along the lines of:

I hear ya. The entire first few years of my life are pretty fuzzy. It was a dark time, but I’m much better now.

I probably would have thrown in a winky face, as well (covered here). Had Allie responded with something sarcastic like that, who knows? We might be in a relationship right now. But because she was off her game, and because I’m a judgemental prick, we never even met.

I should emphasize: all of this is coming from my point of view. For all I know, that joke I made sucks. She may have rolled her eyes at it, wrote the first thing that came to her head, and been thankful I cut things off so she didn’t have to keep dealing with my corny ass. Maybe she’s got “The Doodies Report” blog out there analyzing things from her perspective. Because when you’re just dealing in text messages, perspective is far from universal. Either way, it would be shocking if she lost any sleep over it, because she’s got a million dudes lined up, trying to get a date.


Remember “a/s/l?” from back in the day in AOL chat rooms? Tinder removes the need for that question, and I think we’re all thankful for that. It has also shown us that some girls just want to get laid, and we’re all thankful for that as well. [Related: please go read The Dickonomics of Tinder by Alana Massey. It’s hilarious, and spot on, and kind of depressing. But hilarious! Spoiler: turns out there’s a lot of men who are entitled deuche-bags. Shocker.]

And lastly, Tinder has shown us that there a lot of women out there who “love sarcasm.” My single male friends and I have identified this as a very common theme in female profiles. (Is the same true for male profiles?). I’ve come to treat any mention of sarcasm as somewhat of a red flag, because of the inherent irony involved: if you are, in fact, “fluent in sarcasm,” should you really need to specifically state it? I’m looking at you, Allie.


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