Columns, Opinion

GANS: Fish down under asks Australian Tinder about Donald Trump

The first time I tried Tinder, it was spring of my freshman year of college. Within an hour, I had one guy ask me how many push-ups I could do (the answer was none), one ask me if I work at Build-A-Bear (absolutely not) and one compared me to Dr. Phil (he called me “Phil-icia”).

It was then and there that I decided Tinder was not for me. I deleted the app the next day.

But two years, 10,000 miles and many time zones later, I found myself sitting in a Boston University apartment in Sydney, surrounded by girls who, for better or worse, were addicted to Australian Tinder.

Australian Tinder [noun]: A smartphone app that looks and feels exactly like American Tinder but does not usually come with guys who use excessively crude language, ask for naked pictures or demand you sleep with them within 30 seconds of matching with them.

Australian Tinder is pretty wonderful, especially for an American who is just trying to get a grasp of Australian culture and life. In the past few weeks, I’ve matched with people who talk about college majors, popular TV shows and even their hobbies outside of Tinder world. It’s almost like — GASP — a real dating site!

This week, I decided to put those good conversational skills to the test and ask some hard-hitting questions about the one and only Donald Trump.

Disclaimer before we get started: For all you fellow journalists out there, this is not an authentic person-on-the-street story, nor is it an accurate depiction of what the “average Australian man” thinks of Donald Trump. These interviews were, of course, limited to Tinder users who happened to swipe right on me. On my end, I chose the following discovery settings: men, ages 18 to 25, within five miles of the BU Academic Center in Chippendale.

My rules:

  1. Interviewees must have lived in Australia for at least two years.
  2. Interviewees could not be American.
  3. During the interview timeframe, I would swipe right on every single person for the sake of fair and balanced Tinder reporting. See below for exception.

Exception: While I was quickly swiping right, I reached Justin Hawk, a BU student and FreePer who is part of the same BU Sydney Internship Program as me. It was my only left swipe, I promise. Sorry, Justin.

My interviewing process had a slow start. Several people asked me, “Is this real?” or made a joke about Trump memes. Two men asked me to buy them dinner first, both of whom I ignored. One man asked me for a shirtless picture before the interview — don’t worry, Mom, I ignored him too. I discovered from his Tinder biography that he’s actually Canadian, so our Australian Tinder definition still stands strong.

Ultimately, finding men to talk to me about politics was relatively easy — much easier, I’d assume, than trying the same tactics in the United States. And once I got these men talking, they had quite a vocabulary.

“The people that vote for such a troglodyte are what’s wrong with America,” said Arjun, 22. I giggled at the word “troglodyte” and at the thought of Trump dressing as a caveman.

Stanley, 23, had his own metaphor for the presidential candidate.

“I think he’s like a girl with a good figure,” he wrote. “Great from a distance. But like a girl with a not so attractive face. Definitely don’t want to be too close to it.”

Stanley said Trump’s willingness to discriminate against entire races of people based purely on race makes him an illegitimate candidate.

“A democracy entails the involvement of everyone,” he wrote. “An exclusion is possible in extreme circumstances, but this is far from it. Like very far. So far the Hubble telescope can’t see it.”

Over the three-to-four-hour period of time I spent chatting with men on Tinder, not a single person said he would vote for Donald Trump if he were able to run for office in Australia. However, 22-year-old Mark said he could see other Australians supporting Trump’s policies.

“I can imagine some people would vote for him because of his policies on immigration and Muslims,” he wrote. “But I don’t think many would like his stance on healthcare and guns. Australians like free healthcare and their kids not getting shot at school.”

Even so, many Australian men said their country already has politicians like him.

“In a way, Turnbull and Trump have similar backgrounds in business,” said Ellis, 24, referring to Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s current prime minister.

Mark, 22, said Australia has its radical “buffoons” too, but most don’t have a substantial effect on Australian politics the way Trump does in the United States.

Will, 24, said Trump is like “Tony Abbott [Australia’s former prime minister] in many ways politically.” But ultimately, he continued, “There really isn’t anyone quite like him.”

As for giving advice to The Donald, many Australian men on Tinder said he needs to stop playing games and start being relatable. Some even recommended he change his hair.

“He needs to cut the act and take off his wig for starters, or at least dye it maybe black or get some blonde streaks through it that way he can relate to his younger audiences,” wrote Gavin, 24.

Mark agreed that Trump’s hair has defined much of his character.

“He’s a successful businessman with a toupée, and he’s running for president,” Mark wrote. “And I hope for the sake of the world he doesn’t win.”

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