Sunday, April 20, 2014
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HOFBERG: Tinder

Tinder is the hottest app to happen to our iPhones since Instagram.

For those of you who don’t know about this app because you’re already happily coupled in a romantic relationship or because you still don’t have a smartphone, let me take a moment to explain.

Tinder is the online dating app that links to your Facebook and allows users scroll through other profiles in search for potential love matches nearby. Totally uninterested in someone’s profile? Swipe left, and move on to a seemingly endless stream of potentially more appealing matches. Like someone’s look? Swipe right and pray that they will like you back. If they do, the app declares a match and introduces you in a private chat room where you can start making moves.

Just a year-and-a-half after launching, Tinder currently facilitates 400 million daily swipes and has matched 500 million people. During peak hours, which for Tinder are between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., the app processes 50,000 swipers per second! Tinder, whose founders insist is an app that is less about dating and romance and more about making friendly connections, is also responsible for introducing at least 100 couples that have gotten married.

But let’s be honest. How many people are actually using the app to find their one true love? For most people, the app is about initiating a sexual relationship and establishing a regular booty call with someone that meets your physical standards. If you’re looking for marriage, you’re probably better off registering for eHarmony or Match.com.

The numbers of horror stories I’ve heard about nightmare Tinder dates outnumber its success stories without question. How about the Tinder date that a friend of mine recently went on that ended in her swearing that she would never go on another date with another guy as long as she lived? After showing up 20 minutes late for dinner, talking about himself the entire time and insisting that they split the $20 bill, he got in his car without offering her a ride home, even though it was snowing and she lived just a few blocks away.

Or how about a friend of mine from France who set up a date with a guy she met on Tinder for Valentine’s Day? He showed up to her door with a box of cookies that were iced with the words “Boner” and “Faster”. Being that her English is less than fluent because she is an international student with a limited understanding of the English Urban Dictionary, she understood “boner” to mean “bonheur,” which in French means “happiness.” I can only imagine the rest of the sexual innuendos that went over her head that night. What she thought was going to be a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two, was to him nothing more than a way to charm his way into her pants. When she finally realized this, she was horrified, and unfortunately for him and his efforts, he went home alone.

Despite the recent dinner date disasters that my friends have experienced, I am not saying that the app is a total failure. The statistics say that people are using it too frequently for it to be a flop. What I am saying is that they are using it all wrong — looking for romance when they should just be looking to bang.

Actually, almost every single person I know has Tinder installed on his or her phones. The other night I was invited over to a friend’s house for a quiet night of casual chips, dip and beer drinking, and when I arrived, every single person there was sitting on their phones silently “Tindering.”

Alright, fine. I have to admit it. I have Tinder downloaded on my phone too. In fact, I have over 120 matches. Unfortunately I don’t have any bad date night horror stories of my own to share with you, because unlike the girls I know who are using the app to unsuccessfully locate their prince charming, I use it strictly to locate no-strings-attached hookups. As far as those go, I’ve got nothing but success stories.

You want the secret of my success on Tinder? It lies in keeping my standards in check with the unspoken underlying premise of the app, which is a catalyst for initiating strictly sexual relationships — no matter how much the founders deny it. And this is why I haven’t had to sit through a miserable dinner date or been the recipient of ridiculously frosted baked goods.

Actually, I have little sympathy for my friends that have made the mistake of agreeing to meet a Tinder match for anything more than a one-night stand. It’s the exception to the rule when matches made in heaven are initiated on Tinder. Take a lesson from me. The sooner everyone comes to the same conclusion, the less disappointed and more sexually satisfied they’ll be.

 

Kate Hofberg is a graduate student in the College of Communication. She can be reached at kwhofberg@gmail.com.

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