Tinder: the end of social interaction as we know it?

I signed up to Tinder less than 12 hours ago and someone has already tried to have phone sex with me.

I should probably make it clear that this new endeavour is not the result of one particularly lonely Saturday night in front of the television; I am actually in a very happy long-term relationship, so this is all purely for research purposes.  After a lengthy discussion, during which I managed to persuade my long-suffering other half that I am definitely not going to run off with a 6ft4 ski instructor called Eduardo, he (reluctantly) gave his consent and I set off with my notebook and iPhone in hand.

Before I downloaded the little orange app I knew almost nothing about it, so it was what you might call a foray into unknown territory.  Tinder has only been around since October, but already it seems to have earned itself quite a reputation.  Type the world ‘Tinder’ into Goggle, and one of the first results to appear is an article by the Daily Mirror entitled: ‘A third of men on Tinder will swipe right to anything’.  Whoa, that really doesn’t bode well for romantic longevity. Good thing I’ve already found my Mr Right. Head on over onto Tinder’s own website though, and it’s a whole different story. Their slogan: ‘Tinder is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better’ makes a bold claim indeed, and I’m interested to see if there’s any truth in it.

Despite their somewhat sensationalist headline, The Mirror does go on to say that ‘Most people [on Tinder] aren’t just looking for casual sex’ as only 1 in 200 members mention ‘sex’ in their profile, and 56% of people filled out their profile section, rather than leaving it blank.

It’s a couple of hours in, and so far, my most meaningful conversations have been with a guy called David* who messaged me precisely 2 minutes after I joined the Tinder community. According to his profile, he’s 24 and works in PR, and his ‘about me’ section betrays a rather appealing dry sense of humour: “I paid my taxes 18 months late. Sorry HMRC. I used my tax rebate to buy more pillows. I’m still not sure about them.”

We’ve only exchanged a few messages, but we’ve been getting along pretty well, probably because unlike most of the other guys who’ve ‘swiped right,’ his opening line wasn’t: ‘Whoa, you’re fit.’

Messaging David is nice. We’ve talked about university, work, our plans for the long weekend, and even some future long term goals. He seems intelligent, kind, thoughtful, and genuinely interested in what I’ve got to say. It’s all going well until he does the unthinkable and asks me out for coffee.

Overwhelmed by a mixture of guilt, shock and another emotion which I can’t quite place (probably more guilt), I close down the app immediately and don’t respond for hours.  Okay, so it’s not like David and I were setting a date for the wedding, but still, I can’t help feeling disingenuous and a little bit mean. I’d even go as far as to say I feel dirty.

Once the initial guilt begins to subside, my first thought is ‘Christ. We only started messaging a few hours ago.’ But is he really being too forward? I’m not sure. Whatever your intentions, Tinder is where you go when you want to meet new people, and that’s all he was trying to do.

As well as basic information such as name, age and location, my profile does state that I’m a trainee journalist, so I suppose it would be possible to say that I haven’t exactly lied. But I haven’t been honest either.

What I’ve learned so far:

1.‘Do you have Whatsapp?’ is Tinder speak for ‘What’s your number?’

2.‘What are you here for?’ means ‘Will you just have sex with me?’

3.Probably about 90% of members only use it for sex. Either that, or I have astronomically bad taste in men.

4.It’s very addictive. Even if you’re only using it for the purposes of journalistic research.

5.It will make you realise that you are shallower than you ever thought possible.

6.There are a lot of vile men out there. Don’t get me wrong, the same probably goes for women, but I can’t say for sure because Tinder doesn’t allow you to search for both sexes.

7. Whoever said men don’t spend a disproportionate time thinking about sex was sadly, sadly mistaken.

*David is a pseudonym.

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