I mean, I know online dating has always been pretty narcissistic, judgmental and self-serving – but that’s essentially the internet. And because so many of us have tried it, online dating is no longer stigmatised by misconceptions that it’s solely for the deigning desperate and socially inept lonely fuckers out there.
It’s fucking cutthroat.
If real dating is a brutal pillowfight, then online dating is a grizzly homicidal autopsy – drowning in a rank funk of ego, sanctimony and self-adoration – everyone knowing best, being the best, having the most scars, or feeling the hardest done by. Online dating is too full of people like Donna and Gloria:
‘Donna, tell me what happened?’
‘It was such a waste of time Gloria. We had exchanged emails for a couple of weeks. He seemed like a NICE guy – funny, smart, adventurous. So we organized to meet of a coffee – because that’s my rule for first dates – coffee… And-’
‘He’s a ginger.’
By the way, for the uninitiated: Coffee Dates = High school slow train to nowhere.
Avoid coffee dates unless you like to relive the excruciating inertia of dating when you were 15. Don’t get me wrong, there are many reasons to take things super slow and tread cautiously. But what makes caffeine so safe? Is it because it’s generally served in well-lit establishments? There is also a reason low lighting and liquor work well together.
Regardless of any tenderfoot confusion, don’t make the big mistake of confusing online dating for Tinder and other social apps.
Online dating is incorporated, often with a subscription-based system that creates a sense of standards (sort of) – a contractual agreement that comes with monthly fees, civilised vis-à-vis via archaic email systems and complex matchmaking algorithms. Attached to the process is a tacit expectation (vague it may be) that everyone is looking for the same thing – the emotional panacea provided by companionship.
Tinder is a rudderless round-edged, bicolour classified for everyone to broadcast their most glorified, deprecating, sane, silly, moderate, alternative, kind, truthful and untrue self – complemented by a postcard slideshow.
It is an overdrawn scene of complacency feeding off cycles of gratification, rejection and revenge that devour the quiet moments when you’re on the crapper or daily commute to and from work.
Tinder has everyone’s hooked on instant – because that’s what mobile technology and social apps do. You get addicted to that alert chime of a new match or new message because it comes with a handy hit of dopamine.
Further problems arise when people carry Tinder out into the real world, on a real date, which is understandably a decreasing trend. This is because too many users carry the same principles that make them happy on their phone and phone apps into the real world, which is an instant recipe for disappointment and disaster.
Our date needs to instantly arrive on time, be instantly charming or sexy, instantly embody the narrative we decided for them based on 3-5 profile photos, instantly say the right thing, first time, all the time.
If anything, we’re putting a lot of pressure on time – the synchronicity of our emotional and biological clocks, when it’s not time’s fault. So we blame Tinder – because we cannot blame our dissonant selves for all the happiness we think we deserve but fear does not derive from within.
Let’s face it, the better part of most of us know true, meaningful relationships require time – the slow stoking of time during all those incidental moments that incidentally expose our real selves: a jammed printer, morning tea break, commuters’ interaction, post-yoga exchange, movie queue conversation, champagne bender, trippy roadtrip, vinyl static, medical scare, ugly breakup, hangover hurt, career comedown, tropical seaside vacation, new burgeoning opportunities.
That’s why none of us develop deep unbreakable friendships beyond our early twenties – because it’s so exhausting and we have short life spans. But whether you recognise it or not, we’re all looking for that mellow Oxytocin buzz of a long, steady, mutually supportive relationship to supplant the Dopamine addiction of new interactions.
I’m not saying Tinder is blameless but like communism it’s just a platform, an ideal. I’m also not saying I support communism, but I love communist countries. There’s an honesty and transparency to open bribery that people on Tinder could learn from.
I guess the reason I’m writing this blog is I feel Tinder is getting a bad rap for the online dating scene, a bit like how McDonalds took all the blows for fast-food being unhealthy – like we didn’t know (like breathing fire into our lungs would somehow be bad.)
How do I know this? Well, I have to admit, I don’t – I feel it. Like Faccebook, Instagram and other apps now corrupted by commercialism and polluted by cynicism, Tinder is now bloated by distrust and negativity. In other words, if Tinder was a club, and all the profiles you read were people talking out loud in the line while waiting to get in, would you really line up with them?
- So it’s come to this…
- I don’t even really know what I’m doing here…
- Looking for love in all the wrong places (again). Hopefully I make some friends along the way…
- I gave Tinder a break for a while after a couple of bad experiences – but now I’m back.
- Tinder is a little against my values because I don’t like to judge a book by its cover…
- Heard everyone else is on here, so thought I would give it go…
- Just looking…
- Back again!…
Firstly, everyone, judges a book by its cover – those that say they don’t are delusional – like people who claim they never put stuff up their butt. Also, the “just looking” and “just trying it out” crowd are not worth it. They’re little infant dopamine druggie babies: stay-at-home parents, daily commuters or suffers of recent heartbreak. They’ll suck you under with their prompt responses and vulnerabilities – extracting as much attention before moving on to the next fresh match, or deciding Tinder’s not for them, which is absurd.
The fact that they’re so civil is a clear indication of how crazy they are. I’ve even had these Tinder matches display a super-alarming level of courtesy by contacting me to let me know when Tinder is no longer for them – they prefer to meet people the “old fashioned way” and so they’re going to delete their profile forthwith.
There is a provincial charm to these technophobes who become increasing suspicious and cynical of Tinder and online dating – like people who believe they’re cool enough not to be on Facebook. It’s as if they believe the nineties still exist somewhere (like Portland or Seattle).
I unmatched them immediately. It’s not just because their mania scares me into thinking it could be an electronic virus that might infect my phone then me; I like Tinder.
I like how the social dating app incubates our deepest insecurities; how it exposes our rich fragility and vagaries by availing us to be the most equivocal, apathetic, and desultory figures we can possibly be. And mining all that rejection, pain, and wasted time and money can make us appreciate life more, and the few friends and family we have – like the spiritual transcendence that comes from getting a vicious beatdown from nature on a survival quest.
But seeing Tinder in jeopardy in 2017 – of being dumped and dismissed because of scepticism and misguidance makes me want to help.
So in the blog that follows I aim to give hints and tips on how to navigate the treacherous waters of Tinder so you don’t end up more self-conscious, maligned, alone, dislocated, dejected and suicidal than you did before.
Stay tuned for Tinder Will Fall (2017): Part II where I expand on how high resolution, natural lighting, 90’s decadence, 80’s exuberance and positivity in humankind can help Tinder survive.