Last week I downloaded Tinder. Last week I also deleted Tinder.
To be fair, the only reason I downloaded it in the first place was because I was fairly bored (aka being lazy) and all of my friends were merrily swiping away all around me. It was a moment of weakness in which I was like “wellllllll ok, I’ll play”.
Just to be clear, I am not looking for men to sleep with; notches on a bedpost do NOT appeal to me. I want to find a quality man that I am attracted to and who obviously shares those feelings in return and eventually build an amazing life with that person. (But Hannah, why are you on Tinder then? Yeah, Yeah, I know). While I do not want to meet my future husband off Tinder, I also was curious to see what was out there because frankly, the dating pool in California majorly sucks.
With this goal in mind, the only thing I put in my profile was my height and the tagline “if you’re not ready to take me out on a legit date, don’t even bother.” This, I thought to myself, should weed out any potential booty solicitations.
What I didn’t take into consideration, however, was the fact that I was supremely busy and didn’t actually have time to go on many dates. And every message I got asked me when we were going to meet up for drinks, or coffee, or dinner. It was overwhelming! Yet also exciting-so many men who wanted to meet me? Really?? Oh the possibilities!
The same sword that slays the dragon can also cut the hero, however. The fact that there are so many options at your literal fingertips seems glorious at first, until you find yourself discarding this one or that one due to minor issues that you wouldn’t even have known about yet had you met them in real life.
The seemingly endless options that we have available at any moment has made us picky to the point of ridiculousness. Why would I settle for THIS guy/girl who has 9/10 of my wants in a mate when I could just swipe a couple hours more and possible get a guy/girl with 10/10?
Choices are not the enemy, but they definitely make commitment harder and loyalty a treasure more precious than diamonds. The endless option atmosphere that permeates almost every aspect of our lives, while amazing, is making us fickle and SO much more shallow.
This was made incredibly real to me when I went to fair by myself. I had spent the day intermittently working and swiping, and had had several different conversations with eligible Tinderinians who fit my initial attractiveness criteria for swiping right (which means they were HOT…I have high standards. #sorrynotsorry.). At the fair, I ran into one of the guys running a booth and we struck up a conversation.
This guy was not my usual type. Scrawny, blonde, a smoker, not unattractive but definitely not movie star status, and just over my height. Yet for some reason, I found myself attracted to him more and more as we talked. Our vibes just clicked.
We kept in contact, and each time I get a text, I am always excited. Which completely weirds me out. He is NOT someone I would have EVER pictured myself with, and I’m pretty sure that this won’t actually go anywhere, but just the fact that I wouldn’t be opposed to being taken on a date by someone I would have never, ever swiped right on is indicator enough that it’s time to take dating back offline.
Online dating has made us hyper critical of everyone else while simultaneously complaining that we can’t find a man or woman who loves us for who we really are. We are quick to dismiss people we may actually be quite compatible with simply because they don’t fit what we have envisioned for ourselves or because we fear what other people might think or say.
Online dating has also made us scared to actually start something in real life. I have been in so many situations where I had a great conversation with a dude only to have it end with a “see ya around!” rather than a “hey, let me get your number.” Granted, some of those men might have just been friendly and/or already taken, but I get the feeling that the vast majority find it a lot easier to miss a match than to get shot down in person.
Additionally, online dating has made open sexuality permissible. If the initial messages aren’t sexual from the start, its becoming more and more acceptable to introduce sex as a topic on the first date. I went out for drink with one guy, my age, from Tinder last week, and by the end of the first cocktail he mentioned that (R rating alert) he wished I was sitting on his face. I had known him for less than 12 hours and he felt that this was an acceptable addition to the conversation.
This is contrasted to a date that I had on Saturday night with a guy who was older than me by 7+ years. He checked about my dietary restrictions, made reservations at a vegan friendly restaurant, and bought tickets to a show that I’ve wanted to see for forever. There may have only been 7 or 8 years between those two men (and I met them both on Tinder), but there was a world of difference in how I felt about how I was treated.
So what’s the solution? How can we balance all the amazing things this new generation has to offer with all of the pitfalls that come along with it?
Honestly, it comes down to you, the individual. You decide how you will view the world, and you decide what you’re going to accept and what you’re going to reject. It may take more work and more time, but you WILL find someone who has decided on the same values.
When you find someone who gets you, truly gets you, it doesn’t matter how many matches you made or how many right swipes you may be losing out on. All that matters, truly, is how THEY make you feel and how much you elevate each other to become your best selves. And that, friends, is the best match you could ever make.