Tinder’s been around long enough for most single people to be able to delete it repeatedly. Speaking from experience, the platform offers more than enough reasons to get grossed out and want to give up swiping permanently.
But then, life happens — you either get bored, haven’t had sex for a while, or just don’t want to spend too much time and money on physically going out. I mean, it is, without doubt, convenient and cost-effective. And so you find yourself on Google Play or Apple App Store again…
But, I’ve never had particularly high hopes for Tinder. I saw it as a facilitator of reconnecting with the dating scene after breakups, or as an easy way to find casual sex. That’s it. And even on those rare occasions, I got quickly disgusted by the shallowness that chatting simultaneously with 15 matches implied to.
And then, there were of course the actual experiences of interacting with other users — they didn’t make me want to think too highly of it either. This, by the way, wouldn’t depend on which continent I opened the app.
I encountered obvious gold diggers; girls so cheap you wouldn’t even want them for casual encounters — or so dumb you’d get an allergic reaction the minute you started chatting. Not only that, but some of the girls I matched with were also obnoxious as hell — a few even scary, or possibly dangerous.
. . .
The manipulative make-up artist with a dirty mouth
For instance, I once matched with this make-up artist who initially seemed like a promising date. My enthusiasm, however, was soon brought down by obvious signs of entitlement and manipulation. And I thus decided to politely end the interaction.
What followed, confirmed the suspicion that I was dealing with someone better to steer clear of. Because, unlike a mature adult who would have just respectfully accepted that I didn’t want for our acquaintance to continue, she had a breakdown and unleashed a shit storm of threats, accusations, and vulgarities.
She also started harassing me on social media which soon escalated into the need to actually block her — which is something I normally don’t do very often.
You’re the kind of shit my mother told me not to touch.
Unfortunately, I’d also given her my phone number. Consequently, I then received a plethora of angry texts, each of them saying pretty much the same thing — that I was the kind of shit that her mother told her not to touch.
Luckily, you can also block certain incoming calls and messages on android devices. And I soon returned to my solitary state of peace and serenity, wondering what pleasantries an actual relationship with this girl would have offered.
. . .
The crazy biker chick
Another story involved a young digital marketer who decided to take a 100-kilometer (that’s 62 miles) bus ride to spend the night at my place.
I like motorcycles and she happened to ride a 600cc Suzuki. A true biker chick — I mean, how cool is that?
In this day and age of app-based instant hookups, I saw it as enough grounds to agree upon having sex with a total stranger. Plus, it was going to take place in the safety of my own home — so, what could go wrong?
Well, you can, for instance, reveal your home address to someone who belongs in a psychiatric ward. Secondly, you might be stuck with them for the whole night.
Heeey… I’m bipolar.
You see, having a mutual hobby and being attracted to each other’s looks doesn’t necessarily provide information on the probable diagnosis of your hookup. And people normally don’t write, I’m bipolar or, Suffering from dissociative identity disorder and capable of scaring the shit out of you in their Tinder bio.
Instead, you’re likely to find out when the situation has progressed to a stage from where you have less or no evac routes. Such as, when you’re getting busy with them on your living room couch and it’s so late they’d be unable to catch a ride home.
In my case, it was when I reached to undo her bra — while she was breathing heavily on top of me — that she seized like Windows XP with too many open tabs.
I knew something was wrong. And — I swear I could see one of her eyes twitch bizarrely.
Although nothing in her previous actions left room for ambiguity, I considered the chance of possible hesitation — that perhaps she remembered something unpleasant from her past, or had some other very normal reason for stopping.
Something that would require me to be understanding and gentle.
Thus, I softly told her what I thought every other gentleman would — that we didn’t have to do anything if she’s not ready — and could enjoy talking over wine, instead.
She paused for a few seconds as if she didn’t hear me, and then snapped out of her haze by suddenly jumping up. She stared at me frantically, like Cerberus at the gates of hell, and roared,
“WHAT DID YOU SAY!?”
As if I’d unforgivably insulted her mother or done something else terribly offensive. What followed was an eruption of emotions — most of which didn’t make any sense — that made me just silently stare in awe.
But I was even more confused when she unexpectedly switched polarities again and decided to resume to her former calm.
And when she subsequently made her way to my crotch with the intention of giving me a blowjob, I felt as if I was watching the newest thriller unfold at the cinema. I knew, however, that I was living a thriller when she soon collapsed on top of me, having lost all signs of consciousness.
There I was — with a naked unconscious nutjob on top of me. In my own living room. With my pants halfway unzipped.
Poking didn’t wake her. And the two glasses of wine she’d had couldn’t have done that to her.
I was running all sorts scenarios in my head — from soon being accused of rape or murder, to possibly being murdered myself.
I rolled her limp body off of me and sneaked into the kitchen. Hiding the keys of my Merc seemed like a good idea. And I checked the kitchen counter for sharp objects. You know — just in case.
After a few hours, I found myself staring at the ceiling, trying to sleep. It probably goes without saying that I’ve had better nights.
Good morning, honey!
In the morning I was up early, trying to work on an approaching project, eagerly waiting for her to wake up and leave. When she finally did wake up, however, I was greeted by a third persona — someone I hadn’t seen yet, and whose existence and manners were strange by the least.
That someone acted as if we’d been dating for a long time, and couldn’t remember anything peculiar from last night.
Well, that’s interesting, I thought to myself.
I kept my cool, made her breakfast, and politely sent her home — hoping I’d never see her again. And somehow I didn’t feel like I had taken a pass on great wifey material.
. . .
The social experiment
I’ve also involuntarily used the app for a social experiment. The kind of an experiment that involves two drunken buddies hijacking your phone, setting your search preferences to Show me: Men, and then frantically swiping right.
I noticed their hoax rather quickly, but by the time I got my phone back, I had already collected some 40 plus matches that mostly consisted of half-naked playboys and frisky bears in their underwear, many of them resembling Tom of Finland’s homoerotic art; accompanied by the occasional blurry face or headless torso under a strange angle.
What surprised me wasn’t only how fast it all happened (perhaps in the course of 15 minutes), or what kind of content those men had posted, but I was soon bedazzled by the messages they started sending me. Much of the exchange went like this:
It’s fair to say that this “experiment” didn’t shine a positive light on the app either.
Instead, I grew increasingly skeptical towards Tinder and the quality of people it potentially helps to meet. I had my reasons.
I mean — even if I was gay, I would have been shocked by the behavior of those men. And now I knew that it wasn’t just the girls on Tinder who were of questionable value — it was the men, too.
. . .
After a while, I found myself swiping again. Perhaps it was because of the mechanism of the brain that erases really bad memories to maintain sanity. Or maybe I was just naive.
But I developed this idea that, theoretically, it should be possible to apply a filter that would allow to keep nutjobs, catfishes, gold diggers, shallow people and walking STD collections away — and selectively attract only normal and healthy people, instead.
To do that, I decided to paint a precise as possible picture of myself. I would also state my expectations in a way that would only be understandable to recipients with sufficient intellectual capacity, and that, at the same time, would deter idiots by making them feel inferior.
Basically, I was just polite, honest, and wrote that I used to work in healthcare. I then listed my interests and declared in an erudite manner that I was looking for a woman who’d have qualities like femininity, confidence and intellectual refinement. I didn’t state whether my aim was casual or more serious, but I hinted that the basis for anything to develop further would be a mutually satisfying conversation.
That didn’t specify the likely outcome of making my acquaintance, but it indicated there’s a threshold to cross. This would exclude people who were shallow or lacked genuine interest, and were simultaneously chatting with tens of other matches.
As for the pictures, I’ve always used photos on which I’m sufficiently and decently clothed. This time was no different.
Yes, I’m athletic — but I consider myself a gentleman and I have no desire of posing half-naked to show off my body.
Firstly, because this only attracts certain kinds of women — none of which are those who I’m interested in. Secondly, because my broad shoulders are visible through my clothes, too. And one can allow their imagination to do the rest — at least until they get to know me.
For instance, I used a photo on which I was standing in front of a temple in Bali; one on which I was riding a motorcycle in Europe; one on which I was surfing in Australia (wearing a wet suit, by the way), and one on which I was wearing a white button shirt at a friend’s wedding.
. . .
Wanna know what happened?
My Tinder account went almost silent, instead, with only a few new matches popping up each day.
I figured that perhaps, in an app mainly used for casual purposes, the gentleman way of presenting oneself might come through as snobbish or too demanding.
That is — until a girl with a kind face and big blueish eyes messaged me a deeply philosophical question about the true driving forces of my life.
No Hi, Hey, ‘Sup, How ya doin’ or Wanna meet. Instead, a cogent, well written, and nicely phrased question that required a small essay as a response.
It took a whole fifteen minutes for me to answer that question. My answer led to a conversation that lasted for two weeks, daily — which, in turn, escalated into a two-day motorcycle date.
And now, more than a year later, she rides on the back of my motorcycle wherever I go — as someone who I share a home with, and as my fiancée.
Much to my surprise, it turned out that even in a place as tainted as Tinder, it’s possible to find untouched gemstones — if only you figure out the right way to reach them.
I guess my filter still worked after all. And better than I ever expected.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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