Is Tinder Hot?

IMG_0521My daughter recently talked me into signing up for “Tinder.” If you’re not familiar, it’s an iPhone app that’s designed to help you meet people. Apparently, it’s evolved from being something created for “hookups” (read: “meaningless sexual encounters”) into an app that facilitates meeting people for actually dating.

What makes this interesting is that it’s all based on Facebook, and the pictures you post here.

There’s a lot of different dating sites out there, each one slightly different in their approach. eHarmony makes you go through a long and laborious process before you even get to chat directly with someone in whom you might be interested.

Match.com lets you create a fairly extensive story on you and what you’re looking for. Since it sits behind a paywall, you generally get people who are more serious about finding someone, as opposed to the tire-kickers and those interested in a one-night-stand.

OK Cupid encourages you to answer a bunch of multiple-choice questions, that their computer uses to match you with the right person.

POF (Plenty of Fish) is the equivalent of a First Monday Trade Days – it’s a wide open site with almost no sophistication, and seemingly no screening of members, run by a guy who imposes his own, quirky sense of morals.

Then there’s Tinder.

There’s a number of things that guys hear from women on dating sites or about dating sites:

  1. Why do guys only want to look at the pictures? I’m more than just what I look like!
  2. No hookups, booty calls, or one-night-stands.
  3. I won’t respond if you don’t have pictures, and they better be current/accurate.
  4. If you don’t fit my criteria, I won’t respond.
  5. If I write you, you’d better respond.

Now what’s funny about this is that guys and gals ARE EXACTLY THE SAME WAY ABOUT THIS. Guys may read the profile before they look at the pictures, but I guarantee, if they don’t like the photos, the best profile in the world won’t get them to write. Same for women. It is the kiss of death for EITHER to hear “they’ve got a GREAT personality” (translation: they’re not physically attractive).

Some of the biggest lies told online come with labels like “average body size,” “full-figured” and “athletic build.” I’ve got an “average body size,” if you look at the stats on obesity in the USA. Which means I’m about 30 lbs over what I want to be. (Or 40. Depends.) But for most people looking, they’d likely define “average” as “not buffed or toned, but no muffin-top, either.” “Full-figured” to me SHOULD mean “has curves.” Far too often it means “I’m 30 lbs overweight, but I can’t bring myself to admit it in print.” You can tell when someone’s sensitive about their weight – all their pics are closeups of their faces. Dead giveaway.

But back to Tinder…This app dispenses with all pretense that you’re at all anything but “visual” in how you pick a date/mate. You see five photos. If the user took a little extra effort, you may get a Twitter-esque self-description. Maybe. And that’s it. You swipe left or right to decide if they are “hot or not.” and if both you and the other person swipe right, it’s a “Like Connection,” at which point one of you can message the other.

This is both good and bad, depending on your perspective. It completely eliminates both time-wasting on people that don’t interest you, and the ego problems of dealing with rejection, at least early-on. Thats good. The bad part is that it’s almost completely dependent on your photos. (The ones that kill me are people who sign up and don’t allow Tinder to throw up at least one pic. I mean…do you really think I’m gonna click “LIKE” for a generic silhouette?)

So far, Tinder is…a mixed bag. I’ve been connected with a couple of interesting women. Too soon to tell how that will go. And I’ve seen my share of women who either didn’t respond or haven’t seen my profile yet. Hard to tell. But it’s certainly cutting through all the BS with traditional dating rituals.

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