I have mixed feelings about Tinder. Whilst the concept is reasonably simple I have my doubts as to whether us South Africans have the guts to use the app to its full potential. Granted, the whole Tinder vibe is only just starting to take off here in SA so perhaps these feelings are slightly premature but I can’t help but feel that when push-comes-to-shove, most lack the conviction to pursue anything. Although I had my doubts initially with regards to joining the Tindershere, I did in early January and have had some interesting experiences since. These experiences have justified my feeling, somewhat.
For those of you who aren’t in the know just yet, Tinder is essential an online dating app which let’s you perv and judge other users before either liking – by swiping right – or disliking – by swiping left. The sign-up process is as simple as it comes with the app making use of the info on your Facebook account – name, age, photos and friends etc. – as a form of verification that you are indeed who you say you are and not some creepy old man posing as an 18-year-old girl. Upon signing up you choose your sex of interest – woman in my case – set an age bracket and search distance – 18-45 and 40km for instance – and before you know it, you’re ready to roll.
The best thing about Tinder is its brutality. It’s an honest brutality and yet no one gets their feeling hurt during the process. If someone swipes left you don’t get a notification telling you that ‘Lexi’ dislikes you. The only time you do get a notification is when someone who you have liked, likes you back. At this point the option to chat to each other becomes available. At no stage before this is anyone able to converse. The result is that you can only chat to someone who in turn, likes you back. In a nutshell, think of Tinder as a massive nightclub of sorts. All those who have a Tinder account are at this club having a good time. You spot a girl across the bar who you think is cute and want to chat to. In the real world you probably wouldn’t have the guts to approach her, right? You start to doubt yourself and questions begin to stream through your head. What will she think? How will she react? Does she think I am handsome? Inevitably the opportunity passes you by and you feel like a douche bag. Well in the Tinder-club, all that bullshit is swept aside because she tells you that she thinks you’re a handsome bugger before you’ve even said ‘hi’.
Sounds perfect right? Foolproof. If only it were.
The concept is still way too new for our conservative little minds here in South Africa. In the States and the UK this app is used to hook up with people. It’s essentially a mobile pimp application that puts you in contact with people who want to bump-uglies with you. It’s not used to go out on lame little coffee dates. It’s not used to meet a boyfriend or girlfriend. No my friends, in those countries, this app is used to find a fuck-buddy, whilst here in South Africa the fact that you like someone on an online application is a big enough step. Possibly a step too far.
Telling someone that you dig them in such a casual way seems to be a bit too much for some to handle. I have connected with a couple of girls on Tinder only to have complete and utter radio silence from them. Not even a ‘hello’ back. I mean the concept of Tinder is to break down the awkward social confines we create in our own mind when it comes to interacting with someone who we find really, really gwood looking. Yet it freaks them out. It’s as if they feel that they have let on too much too early and suddenly feel vulnerable. It’s like approaching the girl in the Tinder-club, knowing that she likes you, and then she gets shy and forgets how to talk. Where is your conviction?
I suppose that is what it boils down to. Where is the conviction? At no stage am I condoning some sort of free-for-all Tinder-romp. You need to do what you’ve got to do. If we are all honest with ourselves we have joined Tinder for one of two reasons. Either a coffee or an away-game. Regardless, both involve conversing with and meeting people. If you have the guts to join an app which is so blatantly open about its intentions, surely you should have the bravery to, firstly start the conversation and secondly – if all goes well – take it beyond the mobile? Outside of the Tinder-club? Anything less is a waste of time.
You stay classy,