These days, everyone has a friend who is happily partnered off with some romantic beau after both parties touched their respective iPhone screens in a certain manner. Online dating is here to stay, and thinking it’s weird or taboo has become an irrelevant, archaic way of thinking about relationships. However, apps like Tinder come with several new social issues that make many of us feel uglier and less dateable than ever.
With all of this extra opportunity to snag a cutie, it’s no wonder us still-singles are beginning to worry what is holding us back from coupledom.
Silly worries like, “Is my Tinder profile not appealing? Am I not getting as many matches as other people?” quickly become real-life, self-esteem-killing worries like, “I’m not as appealing as other people” and “fewer people are interested in me than in others” — which is, of course, totally unrelated to your six-photo Tinder profile. To ease the pain of your impending Tinder heartbreaks, I’ve decided to open up and share a few of my more grizzly cyber-flirting stories.
Take the time I matched with beautiful, charming Jacob. Jacob was everything a cute, smart, homosexual could ask for in a partner: tall, white-toothed, and the subject of several rather lengthy America’s Next Top Model auditions I found on YouTube. Our banter was unprecedented: fun and playful while still letting us get to know more about each other — he really wanted to be on America’s Next Top Model. To be clear: All we actually talked about was ANTM. Things were going great, until one day I woke up to find sweet Jacob no longer in my Tinder matches. Begging to keep the chatting going, I found him on Instagram asked if the app had broken.
Tinder hadn’t broken. Jacob opened my photo but was too busy auditioning for ANTM to reply, I guess. Just going to let that one roll off.
Another time, I talked to a guy named Philip — beautiful, blonde, worked at Apple. He and I got to texting for a while – him often saying very annoying things like “I cry when I think about Hemingway” or “Crime and Punishment changed my life,” both of which I pretended to have read. We had planned to go see a war epic at the movies one night (his choice! I repeat, his choice!) and since I was still new to the online dating world and wanted to make sure he was a real person, we agreed to Skype for a minute the night before. After we did, I never heard from him again. Was it something I did? Something I said? The way my voice sounded more like a 14-year-old female soccer star than a 21-year-old gay man with a weird rash on his stomach?
It took me a while to learn that all those Tinder boys who suddenly vanish from your life are absolutely meaningless. The chances that they unmatched you because of a sudden change of heart are slim, although yes, admittedly that’s what probably happened with Philip.
In real life, people are attracted to a personality — yes, looks are a very significant and important part of choosing a partner, but someone’s appearance is defined greatly by that person’s behavior, style, and general aura. So to think that your own face-level attractiveness can be assessed by the quality of your Tinder pictures and subsequent matches is actually absurd. A black-and-white photo of a man leaning carelessly against a wall does not a real-life hottie make.
Still, it can be hard to separate one’s own understanding of his or her sexiness from the delicate mind games of Tinder. People will inevitably get hurt when an app’s whole premise is based upon deeming others worthy or unworthy of attention with a single flick of the index finger.
I don’t mean to steer you budding hopefuls away from something that for many is a fruitful means of finding makeout partners. Why, just the other day I learned that a simple, sporty girl whom I have absolutely nothing in common with has been dating her Tinder boyfriend for four months. I’m just so happy for her. Can’t you tell?
Cards on the table, even I have found a few small moments of happiness from the app. The day after Philip practically left me at the altar, I let a handsome German musical theater kid comfort me in his European embrace. We watched Pocahontas — which, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, is the movie to watch if your real intentions are to receive a German fondling — and he told me I was funny and cute. If you want the direct quote, I actually think he called me a bombshell. Which may have meant he thinks I look like a piece of shrapnel, but was more likely a reference to the sharp, interesting angles on my skeletal frame.
My advice on keeping a safe distance from Tinder is this: Don’t go on it more than once or twice a day, if that. And don’t pursue something unless your gut is behind it — I once invited a boy from Tinder over, only to find out his job was as a night watchman at the State House. I mean, I let him stay, but it was weird. He was cute in a scary, rodentlike sort of way. If you don’t want to end up a withered old crow who has resorted to listing the times he’s been hurt by boys he’s never even met for a newspaper article, I suggest you heed my advice.